Ask A Sex Therapist: How to Speak to Your Parents About Gender Transitioning.

by Cay Crow, M.A., LPC, AASECT-Certified Sex Therapist

male and female silhouettes super imposed over each other

My Daughter is Transitioning to Male (FTM)

Dear Cay,

We have an adult daughter in the early stages of transitioning to a male. After months of agonizing, I have come to a point of acceptance. We have looked, to no avail, for a support group for parents of trans folks. We don't want a religious group. We tried PFLAG but it seems more politically-minded. We just want to find others who share our experience.

With the holidays approaching, we are facing a visit from out of state grandparents who might not accept this well. Any ideas on the best way to handle this? Your bio states that your roots are from a conservative Bible background, as are ours; this has been a challenge to all that we believe.

TG Mom

Dear TG Mom,

Start with a visit to the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) where you can find lots of resources including books and conferences.

Also, you will be able to locate a therapist with experience working with trans clients and their families through WPATH or at the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) at AASECT. On the home page, click on the map of the U.S. to search for a provider in your area. You can also go to the Therapist Directory on Psychology Today and filter the search for therapists who work with trans individuals and their families. It is vital that you and your son has support during this transition.

The Best Source For Transgender Support

The best printed resource for the transgendered and their families is Mildred Brown's True Selves.

It is time to start educating the out of state family. True Selves is a good place to start. The distant family needs to catch up quickly or else the holidays may contain some unexpected fireworks. I think it is easier when family members witness each stage of transition. Ask your son to Skype with the grandparents every month or so. The sudden gender change without the interim experience can be rather jolting. The distant family will also need to understand the importance of addressing your son by his chosen gender name as well as appropriate pronouns.


Dear Cay,

I took your advice regarding the family. I sent a long letter to the family, explaining our child's journey from childhood to the present. The reception was supportive and positive.

Our holiday gathering could not have gone better. The grandparents were here, as was their "new grandson." Hopefully, they realized that their grandchild is the same person as always on the inside.

My husband and I read True Selves. I gained so much insight and compassion from information and experiences shared in the book

We gave our son a Christmas card which said "Merry Christmas Son.” My heart is at peace seeing how much more serenity our son has than our daughter ever had. After a year of anguish, I see hope and light. One day I may write a book or a personal account of this journey. As ones who started as conservative Christians, God has brought us a very long way. He has used many circumstances and people to mold and shape us, and I am so thankful for your part in our journey.

TG Mom


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