HELP & SUPPORT FROM FAMILY & FRIENDS

Often it is the support of family and friends that makes the difference between a successful transition or regrets, and it is vitally important that transgender individuals obtain support and acceptance from these very important people in their lives.

But no one assumes that it is easy for families!  Families, too, need support.  Families often feel equally isolated and as lacking in knowledge of the issues as the individual themselves

Focus: The Identity Trust recognises this and will be giving more structure to its Family & Friends Support Groups which will be based in Belfast and the North West.  (More details will follow on this).  At present, Focus will also participate in joint learning and shared experiences with the MERMAIDS  group in the UK (link to their page on our site) and TransparenCI in the Republic of Ireland.

Family members need support, and they can suffer extreme stress, particularly partners of the trans individual.  This can be especially so when the transition occurs later in life, as there is a greater probability of involving spouses, and/or children.

These reactions are understandable initially.  Often family members, who love you just need to be convinced that you are on the right path.  Some family members report feeling a relief, as if a mystery has been solved regarding their loved one.

Once disclosed, it can be very harmful to dissuade a trans person from transitioning, as they have made their decision.  This decision often follows a time of intense crisis.  Not only is it often unsuccessful to try to change their mind, but forcing someone to continue to live their life in the wrong gender role is extremely dangerous.  Please remember, that the person will not change, their love and feelings for you will not change, and they are often very aware of the pain they may be causing to loved ones and feel deeply guilty.

If they did not love you, and want you to understand, and want to keep you in their lives, they would not tell you.

It can be as equally stressful for them as it is for the individual to disclose the condition to them, and typical reactions can be:

  • Pain
  • Anger
  • Shock
  • Guilt
  • Fear
  • Betrayal
  • Embarrassment
  • Shame

These reactions are understandable initially.  Often family members, who love you just need to be convinced that you are on the right path.  Some family members report feeling a relief, as if a mystery has been solved regarding their loved one.

Once disclosed, it can be very harmful to dissuade a trans person from transitioning, as they have made their decision.  This decision often follows a time of intense crisis.  Not only is it often unsuccessful to try to change their mind, but forcing someone to continue to live their life in the wrong gender role is extremely dangerous.  Please remember, that the person will not change, their love and feelings for you will not change, and they are often very aware of the pain they may be causing to loved ones and feel deeply guilty.

If they did not love you, and want you to understand, and want to keep you in their lives, they would not tell you.