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Trans, not “attention-seeking”

I’m bi and trans but my dad won’t accept it. What can I do?

I’m sorry you are experiencing this, says our elder. Please know there is support available. 

 

Dear EWC

I came out as bi and trans about four years ago, but my father pretends that we never had that conversation. He tells me that I am “too young to understand what that means.” And that he “would have known earlier” if I was actually apart of the LGBTQ and not just “attention seeking.” I recently turned 18, and want to transition, but I still rely on him for almost everything. I don’t want to anger him because I need him if I plan on getting through college, but pretending to be his little girl is something I simply can’t handle anymore. What should I do?

 

Irene replies

It must be difficult for you to have your father be so reluctant to believe you and try to understand what you are going through. Please know that I think how he is reacting may be because it’s possible he is focused on himself and how he may affected if you do transition. A lot of parents worry about what others will say and do, and if they’ll be judged. It’s wrong I know, however, many parents do that as it relates to anything their children may or may not do – it isn’t necessarily only if their children identify as trans and or bi. 

Parents can often be quite slow in catching up to where their children are with regard to gender identity. You’ve likely “known” for years that you don’t identify as a girl/woman, and it’s possible you were confused when those thoughts first started to settle in – or it could be that you knew, you just always knew that you didn’t identify as a girl/woman and you’ve been coping for years to have your father become your ally. 

Whatever your journey has been it may take your father some time to catch up. To that, I will keep positive thoughts for you that he will come around soon. 

Based on your letter, I take it you are still dressing as a woman to avoid an issue with your father. If so, that must be quite challenging for you. It has got to be hard on you have to present yourself in a way with which you don’t identify. Adolescence to adulthood is a challenge already and to be frustrated you can’t express your gender identity, on top of everything else, can at times be overwhelming. My heart goes out to you. 

Please know there are support groups for trans folks, to support what you’re going through and people are available to listen and offer advice specific to your needs. 

Not having had a similar experience I don’t think I should offer you advice on how to speak to your father now that you are an adult and can legally make your own decisions. Still, I can understand how the decisions you make can affect you financially, as you have a concern he will pull his monetary support for your education, if you continue with your transition. I wonder if he told you that, or if that is something you are assuming. And if that were true, or if something happened to him financially, and he couldn’t continue to support your higher education, I wonder if you’ve developed a Plan B. For example, our son chose community college for his first two years, in large part because it was much more affordable, and then he transferred to a university. His BS in psychology is from the university. 

There are likely grants you might be eligible for and also scholarships you may qualify for. Do seek out all your options in addition to your father funding your education. That way you will be more at ease and at peace – because you know what you will do if he can’t or won’t fund your education. 

It boggles my mind that in this day in age, especially with what’s gone on during the last five or so years, that any adult would believe that their child would identify as trans simply for attention. I’m sorry you are having that experience. I wonder if you asked him what he would do if he found out you weren’t just saying it for attention. And if he does believe you are seeking attention but aren’t really bi and trans, then I wonder why he isn’t communicating more with you to determine what “real need” you have that causes you to say you identify as bi and trans just for attention. I mean that is why there is a Q in the LBGTQ acronym. As I understand it, it is for folks that identify as Queer and for folks that are Questioning – everyone’s experience is unique, which could be why some people are “questioning.”

Your needs are too important to ignore and suppress. I urge you to reach out to support groups that can put you in touch with resources in your local community that have folks who will assist you and support you. I do know that GLAAD has a resources list. Click on the link for their transgender support page from their website. You can also access helpful information at: genderspectrum.org – I noted where they specifically have information for parents of trans youth. Here is a link for one more website that has good information for you. 

I’m honored you gave us the opportunity to guide you on your journey. It is important that you continue forward. I wish you well. Please let me know if you’d like me to clarify anything I’ve stated to you. 

Thank you for using EWC as your online advice site. We are here for you any time. I’ll be thinking good thoughts for you. 

Article #: 475296

Category: Family

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