Responding to a child coming out as Trans

This is a question we hear repeatedly, and it’s not a question that’s reserved solely for Christian parents.  Despite what the media portrays, this is not an easy conversation for most parents to have.  It is almost certainly going to come as a huge shock with a whole host of side questions, many of which come from our own place of fear of the unknown.

‘How did I not know?’, ‘When did this happen?’, ‘Is this my fault?’, ‘Have I been a bad parent?’, ‘What does this mean?’, ‘What’s going to happen next?’, ‘How will I cope?’

As a Christian there are other questions which oscillate between the selfish and the concerned.  ‘What about their salvation?’, ‘What will the Pastor say?’, ‘How am I going to tell my home group?’, ‘Will they still be welcome in church?’

There is no prescribed way to respond, and many parents need to stop to take a breath, particularly as they probably feel like the breath has been sucked from their lungs.  This was not in the baby books you read, this was not what you planned for your child; the urge may be to speak out in anger or fear, but I urge you to stop, breathe and pray.

Think about the enormity of what you child has just done.  The courage it took to speak those words out loud, to the parent they love.  They have wrestled with this for months, perhaps years; they have walked in fear of your rejection, they may well have been pleading with God to take this away.  This moment in time is pivotal for the future of your relationship.  Respond well, the door remains open for you to be part of their story, respond badly and you may be written out.

Your child has many gifts and attributes.  Are they funny, intelligent, creative, thoughtful, caring, generous or loving?  Yes?  Great, because nothing has changed.  Your child has not become void of these gifts overnight, they still are all of the above!  At this moment in time your child is actually saying, ‘this is how I am responding to heart wounds’.  What they need is your love, a love that will be essential in their journey to healing.

Grab your child and hug them.  Thank them for their honesty, thank them for sharing and allowing you into this part of their life and tell them how much you love them.  Now is not the time to interrogate them, to plague them with a plethora of questions; now is a precious moment of unconditional love.

It's perfectly acceptable to ask for time to process your thoughts and to come back to them later to chat.  In that conversation, remember the turmoil they have been in and that this is a mental battle.  Ensure that they know that you are for them as a person.  That doesn’t mean you have to compromise your faith or tell them that you are happy about this choice, it simply means that they hear directly from you that they are safe and loved.

Psalm 18:19 says – He brought me out into a spacious place, he rescued me because he delighted in me.

I believe that Christians need to be confident in God as our rescuer.  God delights in us all and he has a rescue plan.  I believe that our role is to provide the ‘spacious place’.  This is a place where people can wrestle with their beliefs and where they can hear from God. Sometimes we need to rein ourselves in, and trust that God is perfectly capable of speaking to our children.
I know you have many more questions and a lot more to process that can’t be covered in a brief post.  Our insecurities and fears are real, I encourage you to join a parent’s group where you can talk these through with others who are walking the same path.  Transformed Ministries run a number of groups where you will find a community who will encourage you and pray for your child.  To get involved contact us via email





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