It can be stressful and discouraging when your family members don’t accept the love of your life for being transgender. Whether you have decided to open up about your status or you want to stand up for the transgender community, dealing with family members, especially parents, can be hard.
While it may be difficult to talk to your parents, you should understand that this is big news for them and it may come as a shock. You need to give your parents some space to take it all in. Also, you can seek external help by joining a support group, making friends with people who share the same sentiments. Above all, be patient.
Talking to Your Parents
Make your parents understand your views and convictions. It doesn’t matter if you are a transgender or not; it is essential to stand up for your rights, not only for yourself but also transgender society in general. Explain why you love your partner, and steer the conversation away from discussions of their gender identity. Emphasize to your family that above all, your partner is a person. Sharing your views will help your parents understand you more. Also, it will give you an opportunity to express your true feelings.
Create Boundaries for Behavior and Comments
Your parents may disagree with some of your views. Therefore, you must set limits on how you communicate with them. You ought to treat your parents with utmost respect; they should also reciprocate. Even if they don’t, you should be the bigger person and avoid derogatory remarks and name calling. Make it clear to your parents that you don’t want to hear any negative statements on trans people. They’re allowed to disagree with you and your partner, but never allow them to disrespect your relationship. If they do, stop the conversation and tell them you’re willing to continue once they can be civil.
If you cannot compose yourself when talking about this topic, it is better to drop the topic. Your goal is to communicate your message and allow your parents their say as well. You should aim to understand each other, not attack each other. There is no shame in walking away from a nasty or unproductive discussion.
Address Negative Statements
At first, you may choose to ignore some transphobic remarks that your parents make, but they will continue if you don’t express how they hurt you and your partner. You should be as polite as possible when addressing your parents; a positive approach can change your parents’ attitude toward transgender people.
You can say for instance, “That comment was not kind, please don’t say that.”
Alternatively, you can say, “Please avoid such remarks, especially when he’s with me. You should treat everyone with respect.”
This is especially important when you’re with your partner. You need to show your partner that you respect them, even if that means disagreeing with your family. Don’t let transphobic comments slide when you’re together.
Accept Everyone’s Opinion
No matter how much you express your concerns to your parents, they may not understand or accept your views. While this may upset you, you should be patient with them. As aforementioned, it could take them some time before they come into terms with reality. Understand where they are coming from and welcome their feelings.
If your partner is transgender, do not lose hope even if your parents don’t accept the idea. Maybe they never will. It may be disheartening. Let them know that you still love them, but they need them to respect your partner’s identity, and if they don’t, you’ll be forced to reduce contact with them.
Seek support from other avenues in the meantime. There is a transgender support group that you can join and friends and allies who can help you out.