DEAR ABBY: Mother not supporting transitioning teen | Community


DEAR ABBY: I am a 19 year old trans male. I told my mom years ago, and while she didn’t stop me from transitioning, she’s definitely not supportive. Although she told him my new name and my new pronouns, she refuses to refer to me that way, even when we are alone. (I can’t tell the rest of my family, they would disown me.)

Every time I talk about it, she shuts up or changes the subject. I love her and she loves me, but it breaks my heart to see her ignore who I am, and I know she won’t support me if the rest of my family finds out. I feel hopeless. What should I do for her to understand? — TRUE SELF IN GEORGIA

DEAR TRUE SELF: Parents generally want to protect their children. They may also be misinformed or confused about being a trans person. The announcement may be difficult to accept as many people have known they have been trans for a long time but are reluctant to tell others, including their parents. Revelation can be awkward and difficult to respond with patience, love, and care.

Take your mom to a PFLAG meeting, if she’s ready to go. It can make a huge difference for parents, and that’s what I recommend. To find a local chapter, visit pflag.org/find. PFLAG booklets like “Our Trans Loved Ones” or “Guide to Being a Trans Ally” might be instructive for her (and for you).

For your own emotional support, find an accepting and affirming community — PFLAG, a faith-based community, or a trans-male support group — to gain confidence and safety. And don’t underestimate the power of the “chosen family.” Create a plan to get your life in order if your family can’t accept it. There are people who will love and care for anyone whose family cannot love them. Look for them.

Although it may be difficult, seek out community gathering spaces and hangout groups. The people are there; it may take a bit more work to find them. Consider starting the search in a nearby major city to find out who else is going there for help, or to find a safe space to explore away from home to get a broader perspective.

Be careful. Learn about online resources (confirmation of communities, crisis and emergency hotlines, state laws and rules). AHEAD planning is something people most often forget about the transition process. I only wish you the best.

DEAR ABBY: Maybe I’ll stop going to an auto mechanic I’ve been using for several years because of the mistakes he made in diagnosing problems on my daughter’s friend’s car. He advised her to get another car, but another mechanic replaced the spark plugs and catalytic converter, and the car is fine. Should I tell her why I’m not coming back or just leave at sunset and let it go? – FIXATION TO CHANGE IN OHIO

DEAR FIXATION: Forget it. If the mechanic contacts you and asks why he hasn’t seen you, tell him the truth – that you no longer trust his judgment after the bad shot he gave your daughter’s friend.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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