Parenting a trans teen
Pia is the mother of a transgender child (now twenty years old) who underwent a successful physical transition into his male self. Pia’s love for her kid and overall emotional resiliency shines through when she recounts the details of her child’s story.
An advocate of providing a strong support system for everyone undergoing surgery or hormone therapy to transition into the gender of their choice, she is a shining example of the warmth needed for everyone involved. Her story and perspective are extremely important.
A Tragic Beginning, But a Joyous Opportunity Nonetheless
For Pia, she had no idea that her son was suffering. The self-harm, the fear, the loneliness, all of it came from a place of emotional insecurity so common for those who are going through the process of transitioning from female to male or vice versa. The most tragic part of this story is just how common it is for transgender or gender dysphoric individuals to feel terrified of sharing such a crucial facet of their identity with loved ones and friends. Pia says that there was such joy after having that first conversation with her son. Really, any show notes or summary won’t do Pia’s story justice, listen along and take in everything Pia has to say.
“Vision is Different, But the Person is the Same.”
Pia recounts just how difficult it was to get used to seeing her child in such a different way. It was inevitable that she would become tripped up his new appearance and gender, but she quickly reminded herself that the person was absolutely the same, even if the name and sex had changed. The vision was different, yes, but the person was absolutely the same. For more on this idea, Pia explains it very well.
A Birth Instead of a Death
Pia wants to remind listeners that she found herself caught up with thoughts of losing a daughter. In a way, she is right, and her feelings are justified. But ultimately, she knows that where a loss happens, so too a birth results after the operation. Pia once again doesn’t recount the tough aspects of the process to say, “poor me!” But instead, to let parents and friends know that those types of thoughts will crop up, don’t push them away, you are justified in feeling them, but don’t let them override the focus on what’s really important: the individual undergoing their transformation and their feelings and emotions.
The Importance of Support Systems
Transition teams for transgender people, a supportive family and group of friends, programs that instill positivity and which educate those who are in the transitional stage–all of these things are extremely important aspects of the process. At one point, Pia shares an alarming statistic about transgender acceptance when she states that 1 out of 15 of the transgender individuals in her son’s support group had been accepted by their families lovingly. The rest were usually ostracized. To juxtapose this information, Pia stresses the importance of support systems. And to hear Pia delve deeper into the aspects of what a support system should comprise and the roles that parents should have, tune in.
What’s In a Name?
Pia tells us that her son didn’t know what he felt at a young age; he just knew he was different. And it wasn’t until he came across a resource online where the term “transgender” first became apparent. This became a process of validation through the acquisition of new knowledge, which in turn led to the epiphanic moment for Pia’s son. This speaks to the fact that although the words might not always be readily available for explanation purposes, feelings are usually present from a very early age. Some sources say as early as age three.
Pia wants to impart some very valuable advice for listeners. One of these being that the transgender experience is not a phase at all. Don’t treat it that way, as if a child, teenager, or adult who identifies as transgender is going through fleeting feelings. And another cogent reminder from Pia is that parents need support systems as well! Check out this very impactful episode out. You won’t regret it.