Transition Tips for Parents

Transition Tips for Parents   “See the transition as not being about the [parent] going through change, but the whole family going through change. Everyone needs support.” – Steve Vinay G., age 48 Since there are very few parenting resources available to transgender people, we have included these best practices for transitioning parents. Of course, there are other issues involved in transgender parenting. See our Transgender Family Resources List for publications, websites, and parenting organizations. If you haven’t already, please request a copy of our Kids of Trans Resource Guide, read it over, and give it to your children. Coming out to family is a major issue for transgender people and can be a difficult process. Please keep in mind that the entire family transitions, not just the transgender parent. Every member of the family needs time and support to adjust to the changes of a gender transition. The process of acceptance can take a while and is often ongoing. You can let your children know – through language and action – that, no matter what, you will still be their parent. As a parent, remember that your children come first and your transition comes second. Transition is an inherently self-focused process, as you align your body and appearance with your gender identity. The best way to be a responsible parent during transition is to make your children a major priority throughout the process. Sometimes this means that you have to compromise your ideal time frame for your transition in order to keep relationships with your family healthy. We suggest working with a transgender-competent therapist to deal with your own issues before coming out to your kids. The more comfortable you are with your decision, the easier it will be to answer their questions and support them through your transition. How you tell your children is critical. Try to avoid coming out around the holidays or major family events, when there is often extra pressure and expectations. You can have the conversation in a safe space with plenty of time, where the conversation can’t be overheard and where they will feel comfortable continuing the conversation. Knowing your kids and the way they process will help you decide just what to say. If you are nervous, you can write it down first or practice with a friend. Come out to them in an age-appropriate way that fits with their personality. It’s best to keep your sentences short and concise to avoid overwhelming them with too much information (such as details about surgeries or hormones). People’s responses will vary – some children will ask a million questions and others will have...

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Tips for “Coming Out” to Your Kids About Your Sexual Orientation

The first thing to note is that it is really terrific that you are taking time to consider how to sensitively approach “coming out” to your kids.* Here at COLAGE we have found that as children, we really want to know the truth about our parents’ sexual orientation, and usually we have some idea before you even tell us! But just because we want to know doesn’t mean that we always are thrilled about the situation, especially initially. It can signify a big change in the family, especially when accompanied with all the transitions that come with a divorce or break-up. These tips can also be helpful even if you were already “out” when your kid(s) were born. * Note: This guide primarily focuses on the issue of parents “coming out” to their children about their sexual orientation and discussing questions and challenges that come up in that “coming out” process. COLAGE also acknowledges that “coming out” is not a onetime thing (which is why it is in quotes) and that this resource may apply in different ways throughout a parent and their child’s life.  For information, resources, and support for parents coming out about their gender identity and for transgender family resources, visit http://www.colage.org/programs/trans/resources.htm or contact COLAGE at (855) 4-COLAGE. Here are some tips to keep in mind that might help: It’s never too early to come out to your child/ren. Kids understand love. What they don’t understand is deception or hiding. And it’s never too late to come out to your child. COLAGE has met folks in their forties whose parents are just now coming out to them. A lot of mysteries are being solved, and missing puzzle pieces falling into place for these families. Often knowing the truth will be a relief for kids of all ages Tell your child/ren in a private space where the conversation can’t be overheard and will be completely confidential. Telling them at your regular Saturday night dinner at your favorite restaurant will be overwhelming.  Make sure you tell them when there will be plenty of time for the conversation to continue if it needs to. If they are staying with you for the weekend, for example, talk with the kids on Saturday morning instead of waiting ’til the drive back to their other home on Sunday night.  If you are agonizing over exactly what to say, try writing it down first or practicing with a friend.  Kids’ responses are going to vary. Some may need some time and space to process the information on their own. Some might have a million questions. Others may barely react at all. No matter how your...

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To Participate or Not to Participate? Tips for youth deciding whether or not to volunteer for research studies

As the child of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ) parent(s), you may be invited to participate in a range of research studies aimed to understand the experiences, perspectives, and functioning of youth with LGBTQ parents. These studies may be conducted by high school students, college students, graduate students, or PhD (doctoral) level researchers and scholars, and may be helpful for advancing understanding and knowledge of our families. However, before deciding whether you wish to participate in such studies, it is worth asking the researcher the following questions: What is your personal motivation for conducting this study? Do you have any ties to the LGBTQ community yourself/Are you a COLAGEr? As a potential research participant, you have the right to inquire about the researcher’s reasons for conducting this study, what initially interested them in the topic, what their beliefs are regarding LGBTQ parenting, and so on. Depending on the researcher’s response, you may feel more or less comfortable with participating. For example, if the researcher is a COLAGEr themselves, this suggests that they have some insider knowledge about what they are studying, and are probably motivated by a desire to better understand and share the experiences of other COLAGErs. What are your major research questions? What are you hoping to find out with this study? You may wish to inquire about the topic(s) that the researcher is studying, and what questions the researcher will be asking you if you participate, in order to determine whether you feel comfortable with the types of questions that you would be asked. If any of their responses make you uncomfortable for any reason, you have the right to tell them. What is your affiliation? (Who do you work for, if anyone?) It is a good idea to find out what school, organization, or university the researcher is affiliated with. This way, you can “google” (or research) both the individual and their institution to ensure that neither have taken an explicitly negative or anti-affirming stance with regard to LGBTQ parenting. How will the information I provide be used? It is a good idea to find out how, if at all, the information that you provide will be used. That is, does the researcher plan to present the information or “data” that they gather to a wider audience? (e.g., students, researchers, etc.) Do they plan to publish the information in a journal article or book format? There are benefits to working with a researcher who intends to publish their material. For example, it means that the information you provide may be communicated to a larger audience with the goal of educating and informing that...

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LGBT-inclusive Jewish children’s book available now!

Hot Off the Press: The Purim Superhero The winner of Keshet’s national book-writing contest, the first LGBT-inclusive Jewish children’s book in English! ABOUT THE BOOK: Nate has a Purim dilemma. He loves aliens and really wants to wear an alien costume for Purim, but his friends are all dressing as superheroes and he wants to fit in. What will he do? With the help of his two dads he makes a surprising decision. (For ages 4-9) Published by Kar-Ben Publishing, an award-winning publisher of Jewish children’s books, the manuscript is the winner of Keshet’s national book-writing contest. We’re thrilled to share this book with you. CELEBRATE THE RELEASE! Be part of history and host a party to celebrate this milestone. We’ve created materials to help you throw a fabulous event. Or join us at one of these public parties! We’ll add new public events to our website as they are scheduled. (Many people are also holding private book parties in their homes.) February 2: Miami at Next@19th February 3: San Francisco Bay Area at the Afikomen Judaica bookstore February 17: Denver at the Mizel Museum February 24: Boston at the Leventhal-Sidman JCC LEARN MORE: Read an interview with author Elisabeth Kushner and find out what inspired this librarian to write The Purim Superhero. Read the first review of the book in Kirkus Reviews! This project was made possible by the generous support of: Jane Fantel and Laura Galinson John and Beth Gamel Harold Grinspoon and Diane Troderman Jeff Grinspoon and Jon...

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Donor Insemination Guide

Click here to order your guide today! This groundbreaking publication captures the perspectives of donor-conceived youth and young adults who were raised by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ) parent. The DI Guide offers testimonials in order to answer the questions and address the concerns of current and future generations of donor-conceived children. It is also an invaluable handbook for current and future LGBTQ parents, as well as teachers and medical professionals. The DI Guide is comprised of four sections. The first section deals with people’s personal relationships with their donor, the second discusses how donors interact with families, the third outlines the struggles DI COLAGErs face when talking about insemination or their families and the fourth is a collection of stand alone resources which includes guides for current parents, prospective parents, medical professionals, teachers as well as a legal resource page for DI COLAGErs. The DI guide has generated much excitement within the fertility industry and the LGBT community. Alice Ruby, the Executive Director of The Sperm Bank of California, one of the first sperm banks to offer their services to single and/or lesbian women, wrote the following about the guide: “The COLAGE DI Guide is remarkable in both breadth and specificity. However, what is most extraordinary about this comprehensive resource is that it is written both for and by donor-conceived individuals. While intended for our children, this document also serves as an important reminder to parents that DI babies grow up and have their own perspectives about their conception and about living in LGBT families.” Joanna Scheib, PhD, of the University of California, Davis and The Sperm Bank of California, adds, “Jeff DeGroot of COLAGE has created a timely and desperately needed “how to” guide for people whose parents used a donor to have them. . . . COLAGE’s DI Guide is a fantastic resource for anyone who has a sperm donor. . . . While written for adolescents and adults from queer families, anyone with donor origins will find this helpful. DeGroot covers many difficult topics, such as broaching the topic of your donor with your parents, approaching relationships with others who have the same sperm donor without excluding your own siblings, and more generally dealing with everyday challenges of answering the question “who’s your father?” The DI Guide is beautifully written, easy to read, and full of great quotes from youth and adults with donor origins. It takes complex issues associated with being from a DI family and puts them into simple frameworks that make things much more easy and manageable. I expect the DI Guide will become a household staple among families created...

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Books and Publications for LGBTQ Parents

Books and Publications for LGBTQ...

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