Welcome to our Top 10 for Trans Youth, their parents, and Families!
The process of working out your gender, as well as telling your family, can be a tricky one. Sometimes our whanau struggle to understand or accept this too. Sometimes they really want to support us, but they don’t know the right words, or have a really good way to think about it yet.
This post is a collection of great reading material and videos for you and your whanau, which might help to make the process easier.
You are always welcome to get in touch with us via our social media group for trans folks and whanau and supportive others (link here), or by phone, email, or in person (see the ‘contact us’ page here). We support whaanau and families as well as adults, kids, children, teens, young people.
There is also a group just for parents of trans kids, which you can find here.
In no particular order:
What are Affirming Parenting Practices?
Parenting practices that are based on affirming a child’s own sense of gender strengthen a child’s self-esteem and sense of self worth. While some of the parenting practices discussed in this section may be challenging for some parents to implement, it is important to take whatever steps you can to demonstrate to your child that you are with them on this journey.
What steps will my child take next?
Most young people will transition socially before anything else. This may involve things like changing their name, their hair, and their clothing. It might even mean redecorating their bedroom. This is something they can easily do without making any commitment to future changes.
Being able to socially transition is a huge relief to a transgender person, who has typically been living under enormous amounts of stress, anxiety, depression and often even suicidal feelings. 40% of trans gender students experience significant depressive symptoms, and 40% of transgender people attempt suicide. You can have a big impact on your child – most young trans people report dramatically improved mental health, stability, sense of self worth, and relationships with family if their family are supportive.
Gender and sexual stereotypes impact negatively on all Māori but have a heightened risk for takatāpui. Ideas that takatāpui can be ‘turned straight’ or could ‘choose to be normal’ are direct insults to the wairua we inherit from our tūpuna.
All of our whānau are affected when disconnection and discrimination leads takatāpui to isolation, addictions, unwanted sex and pregnancies, depression, self-harm and suicide. It may be uncomfortable to talk about these things and acceptance of takatāpui might mean going against the teachings of your church. What is more uncomfortable is standing at the tangi of takatāpui in your whānau who have taken their own life because they could not be who they are.
Be an Ally:
Stand up for takatāpui especially if you know they are experiencing discrimination from the whānau or their school, workplace, marae or church. Whether they come to you or you become aware of issues, step in and say something. You may be saving their life.
GnRH blockers – or ‘puberty blockers’, stop puberty changes from happening. These are generally Leuprolide (leucrin, lucrin,or lupron) injection, every 1-12 months, or Goserelin (Zoladex) chip implant. These are generally prescribed to people under the age of 16, but not to adults as there are issues with subsidisation funding.
Anti-androgens – or ‘T blockers’ , stop your testosterone production, or stop your testosterone from affecting you. These daily pills, usually Cyproterone, or Spirolactone. Cyproterone and Spirolactone are quite different to each other, so talk with your provider about the different effects and side effects.
What physical changes can I expect over time?
T he next two pages show the main changes which you need to be aware of before discussing with your provider…
This documentary traces the life of intersex activist Mani Mitchell. ‘Intersexual’ is a term to describe a person with atypical combinations of the biological features that usually distinguish males from females.
Mitchell’s harrowing but ultimately inspiring story is told via candid and articulate interviews, as Mitchell talks about being made a “hospital freak show tour” by doctors, and growing up secretly ‘middlesex’. The Dominion Post’s Jane Bowron called Mani’s Story “one of the great survivor stories”. It won the 2004 Qantas Media Award for Best Documentary.
A documentary film about a small group of LGBT youths from Gisborne New Zealand who go back in time, 30 years ago, when the Homosexual Law Reform Bill was being pushed through parliament. What they uncover is nothing short of amazing, heart wrenching and inspirational. Hear their stories too as they share what it’s like to be LGBTI+ in Aotearoa New Zealand today.
Takataapui – No Simple Translation
Maori culture has traditionally included and celebrated people of all genders, and their relationships to people of any gender. Maori culture includes all Maori people.
Despite Aotearoa becoming a Brittish colony in 1840, and the resulting laws and value systems being hostile to takataapui both historically and today; tikanga Maori continues to awhi and embrace takataapui whanau.
At it’s core, takataapui is a Maori concept that sits within Maori culture, with it’s own history and wairua, one very different to terms such as LGBTQI+. So, there is no direct English translation, but these are some whakaaro or ideas for thought.
Takataapui – Maori Genders
Takataapui is used more specifically for Maori genders, such as:
- taahine – similar to mixed gender, sometimes non-binary, or transgender not-otherwise-specified
- whakawahine – similar to trans woman
- tangata ira tane – similar to trans man
Takataapui is often used as a gender of it’s self – Maori transgender not-otherwise-specified. Some also use takataapui to refer to non-Maori who are transgender and intersex.
What is a health pathway?
‘Health Pathway’ is a generic term referring to the pathway from first contact with a health care provider – usually your GP – through the health care system to meet your medical needs.
In some regions of Aotearoa, health pathways are being developed by cross sector working groups – these may include District Health Boards, Endocrinology, General Practitioners, Mental Health, Student Health, Youth Services, Specialist Services, Transgender Takataapui and Intersex Community Leaders, and other experts.
- Try not to assume. It is natural for parents to make assumptions about our children, we think we know them best. When it comes to gender and sexuality however, try to be open minded as your child begins to understand their place on this wide spectrum. Even though you may wish to address your assumptions, avoid jumping to conclusions and focus on respecting your child’s need to discover and disclose their own identity when they are ready.
- Recognize and address your concerns and fears. Many parents have concerns and fears about having an LGBTIQ+ child. It can make a difference to realize your child is not alone and there are many other parents before you who have navigated the best way to support their child. If it’s hard for you to accept the idea that your child might be gay or transgender, here are resources that may help.
- Show that you are open and accepting. There are still ways to show your child that you are open without addressing it directly. Using offensive language or negative discussion around LGBTIQ+ people will likely lead your child to assume that it is not safe to come out to you. Ways to show your support without putting your child on the spot include using respectful language when talking about them, and watching TV programs or reading books that have LGBTIQ+ characters.
- Be approachable and available. Make time and space for your child to be able to talk to you privately. Give them openings to talk about whatever is on their mind.
- Show unconditional love in your actions and words. Tell your child that you love them for who they are and that nothing can change that. Show your love by treating your child with care and respect. A strong relationship can help give your child the confidence to confide in you.
We also recommend our Glossary of Gender Terms and How to Use Them.
Please click on the category and related tags to see more posts on this topic.