The future and looking ahead - Introduction
By the end of this module, you should be able to:
Please take your time to read some of the stories on the following pages. Remember all of these stories are real and from transgender young adults and their family members living in a wide variety of communities in Ireland.
I thought it would take years for people to accept, for the changes to be made. It only took weeks, and that included engaging with schools, sports clubs, neighbours, pals and family. It was actually an incredibly rewarding and inspirational experience - we got to see the best in so many people.
As a trans-parent, I believe I more often follow and support, than lead. I’m learning from him. I love him, I’ll go wherever that takes me.
My whole life has changed since we daughter told me she was trans, it has been an emotional roller coaster for the whole family, but it will be worth it when my daughter can finally start to live the life that she was born to have and to see her finally coming out of herself and me happy with who she really is.
The most rewarding thing is that we came together as a family and everyone accepts and loves [names son] for who he is. We don’t think about the label transgender much. I am happy that all sibling relationships are strong and supportive. To see [names son] so happy as male is wonderful and our relationship is strengthened by the journey we have been on. I think [names son] being trans is just the norm for us now.
We have become closer and more open as a family. We can talk about anything. We have learned to respect one another and look out for one another. I am a better person for this experience and I have great respect for the LGBTQ [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer] community now that I have better knowledge and understanding. As a parent I just want my children to blossom in life and be true to themselves and respect others. I am in awe of their perseverance, resilience, strength and willingness to continue, help others and never give up.
Since coming out as trans and starting my medical transition I feel like I now have a purpose, and although it can be extremely difficult on a day to day basis, I wouldn’t change who I am for anyone.
I had always considered myself to be a very broadminded and liberal person and I was totally fine with the ‘gay’ disclosure. Having a trans child really made me take a long hard look at myself and I didn’t particularly like what I saw. I had biases and prejudices myself and it was now going to be my job to navigate those same biases and prejudices in my family and neighbours! It has most certainly been a life altering event in all of our lives but I can honestly say that for us as a family it has been very positive in bringing us even closer and more protective of ourselves. I really don’t think we lost any friends, family or acquaintances in the end as most people have eventually come back to us in the same way they always have, I think I have had to learn patience and that some people need more time.
As a young person, being able to label myself as non-binary helps me to understand myself and deal with confusion around who I am a person.
I am very proud of her bravery and courage. We get on as well as any parent/child do.
Everything was okay when I was growing up but as I was struggling with not knowing who I was put a strain on everything like family bonds, school, friends and hobbies. After coming to terms with myself I wouldn’t change or swap anything cause my life is pretty good when you finally come to terms with who you are and are comfortable.
I struggle with thinking of the future - what will life be like for him? Will he have someone to share his life? Will he mourn the loss of the children he will be unable to bear? Will he have other choices open to him if he wants children? But I suppose there is a possibility that I could ask the same questions of my other son who isn’t trans.
I dread the thought of the future and the medications she will need to take.
Because we are only new to all of this, we are still learning.
My child is very clever an intelligent and I think lost all focus on education during adolescence and I hope will eventually further her education (not for my sake). I think the workplace will be hard at times and I also worry about relationships and hope she can lead a normal and happy life.
My daughter has started college four times, doing different courses and dropping out, the one that she is on now seems to be the one that she is sticking with…we are just happy that she is going to college four days a week and is leaving her room.
School wasn’t the best. I never really liked school cause I found it hard, but for work I love to work in any type of job. I like to experience different things. Hobbies were football motor bike movies. Romantic [relationships] have come and gone as it does.
My son, [names son], is now in second year in [names college]. He is studying [names subjects] and is very happy there…The first few weeks in college were stressful as he had just changed his name so although we gave the relevant information to Academic Registry they didn’t pass it on and the wrong name was called out too many times…They [college society] were so supportive to him in every way and sought advice from BeLonG To in how to inform other members appropriately. [Names son] has a lovely group of friends and seems happy and fulfilled. All family members are accepting including both sets of grandparents.
I moved from [names city outside of Ireland] to Ireland…People ask me which place I prefer, but I couldn’t honestly give just one answer. I miss my friends and family, and so many things about [names city], but I’ve made a home for myself here. I have friends that mean the world to me, and Dublin is my home as much as [names other city] is.
I suppose now and again I wonder what it would have been like if my child was not trans and what kind of life we would have had. This can be triggered in many ways. I might see a young child that reminds me of her when she was that age or now when [we] meet people with their sons going to a match or fishing or drink, I get envious. But I would not want my daughter to be those things just to make me happy. I am very proud of her bravery and courage. We get on as well as any parent/child do. She is much closer to her mother. But that’s the way it is with my other daughter. I struggle when I overhear conversations or read/see things in the media that are negative. This reminds me of the constant struggle my daughter has.
I realised I was trans when I had my first girlfriend. She was cisgender and educating me on trans issues and I was all ‘Oh boy, that’s me!’ She supported me and without her support and with her support I was able to really be my genderqueer self. My second girlfriend was also transgender, dating a trans person while trans is much easier than dating a cis person while trans, due to them having similar experiences…
My 18 year old trans son has had a couple of relationships since transitioning and I was worried that he’d never find someone to share his life with, he has proved me wrong. I was worrying about the future of which I had no control…
Like all members of society, your trans family member will have many issues to consider over the course of their life. Being trans is just one facet of the various educational, work, relationship, community, and personal decisions and opportunities they will experience.
If you think it’s an appropriate time, ask your transgender family member if you can speak to them for a few minutes.
Ask if they mind chatting for a few minutes about their future. Do they have any goals they want to achieve in school or work or their hobbies? How do they envision their future life? Do they have any concerns?
If you feel it’s right, show them the stories in this module. Ask them what they think and discuss how you can help your family member accomplish their goals.
You may wish to review some of the additional readings listed on the further resources section of this website.