Full disclosure, we’ve never parented ANYONE. Our experiences come from being transgender and gender non-conforming (GNC) children, youth, and adults. We understand what it’s like to be confused about gender from a young age, and we know, based on research and lived-experiences, that allowing your child to explore their gender in a non-judgmental way is the best course of action for parents. Humans are aware of gender identity as early as three or four-years-old, and most of the current research says that transgender children who are allowed to transition at an early age develop in accordance with milestones assigned to their gender identity. For example, if a transgender girl (AMAB, or assigned-male-at-birth) is allowed to transition early on, she will go through the same psychological development stages as a cisgender girl.
We acknowledge that transitioning can be a scary for parents or guardians of a child at any age, but particularly if their child is younger. We also recognize that most of the resources on our website specifically target older trans and GNC individuals, so we wanted to provide additional support for younger kids and their families. Your experience is normal, and everything is going to be okay.
Before we get into content, we want to assuage some of your fears about puberty, hormones, and surgery. Unless your child is eleven or twelve, it’s not something you need to worry about yet. If you really want to learn more about these considerations, check out our TransMasculine and TransFeminine tabs for specific information. However, if those topics are going to stress you out, you can wait until later.
The most important part of this whole process is that your child knows you love them and that they feel like they are in control of their transition. It’s scary to imagine a five-year-old controlling anything, but in this instance, they have to lead the way. For example, if they want to use different pronouns or go by a different name, you need to do everything in your power to support them (even if they pick a silly name at first, showing you support them is crucial to their mental health and well-being).
Many of the parents, partners, and other loved-ones we’ve spoken to or read about have said that other people were the hardest part of having a transgender or gender non-conforming child. People have their own warped sense of “what’s right” and how-to parent, and it doesn’t really matter what the issue is, folx are going to judge you—it’s part of human nature. This is not about them, it’s about your family and your child.
While many of the resources and supports on this website are applicable to trans and GNC children, we wanted to provide some additional supports specific to our littles. Below are a list of parent and guardian support groups, stories about other families, and tips for navigating through the complicated world we live in. We wish you the best, and please feel free to contact us for any reason.
There are a lot of AMAZING books in the world about parenting transgender or gender non-conforming children that we have not had the time to read (totally unfortunate). There are also a plethora of picture books about trans and GNC kids that you could get for your child to normalize their experiences. Remember, being queer is part of your child’s identity, but they are still a kid, and generally speaking, young kids like it when they get to read with their parents or guardians. Please feel free to contact us to share any book recommendations and be sure to check out the Parents & Families tab for more information.