How to Come Out as Trans to Your Parents

Nov 06, 2021

How to Come Out as Trans to Your Parents

Coming Out Is Hard to Do

Wherever you sit on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, coming out is never easy–but coming out as trans, especially to parents who may not be understanding, has its own challenges.

There are lots of things to consider, such as your social and physical transitions, your name, changing pronouns, and whatever else applies to your unique situation.

For these reasons and more, coming out to your parents as trans can be daunting.

HER has your back! Here are some tips to help you prepare for the conversation.

Prioritize Your Safety

Your safety is always the most important thing. This includes not just your physical safety but your mental and emotional safety as well.

If you have reason to believe coming out to your parents might put you in physical, mental, or emotional danger, it’s perfectly okay to wait, to come out over the phone or in a letter, or to take other action.

On the other hand, if coming out as transgender to your parents will NOT put you in harm’s way, there are things you can do to prepare.

For example, it helps to ensure you have a support network you can lean on before and after the conversation.

Even when things go well, coming out can be mentally and emotionally draining.

It may help to talk things through with someone you trust, such as a close friend, a therapist, or a helpline.

Have a Conversation with Yourself First

Coming out to yourself is always the first step in any coming out journey.

You understand your own identity better than anyone else. Still, it can help to know how to communicate the various aspects of this to your parents.

Think about the questions they might ask in advance and what is important to you that they understand by the end of the conversation.

Consider questions like:

  • What pronouns do you want your parents to use?
  • Are you changing your name?
  • If you are changing your name, have you settled on a new one yet?
  • Have you started to socially transition?
  • Do you want to start pursuing hormones or surgery?
  • Do you think you may want to pursue hormones or surgery in the future?

These are all things your parents may ask, or you may want them to know.

How Do I Come Out as Trans to My Parents?

Everyone comes out in different ways.

Whether you choose to come out in a unique way or to simply sit down and have an honest conversation, you know your parents — and yourself — better than anyone.

Do what feels right!

That said, it’s important to mentally and emotionally prepare yourself for the conversation. 

Going in with a game plan can help make sure you get everything off your chest (pun intended for our FTM friends). It can also help ensure you give your parents whatever they might need to process the conversation afterward.

Here are some things to keep in mind.

Anticipate Their Questions

It’s okay not to know all the answers yet, especially if you’re early on in your journey.

That doesn’t change the fact that your parents may want to know what your identity means in a practical sense and how it will affect your future.

Generally, most parents just want to know their children are going to be okay.

As an instinctive reaction, this often manifests in asking more about what will happen than considering how you feel.

Your parents may ask questions like:

  • Have you come out as trans at work?
  • Does your employer have policies for transitioning at work?
  • Are there other trans staff you can talk to?
  • How does your identity affect your sexuality?
  • Who will you date moving forward?
  • If you have roommates, is your living situation stable?
  • Do your friends know you’re trans?

It is, of course, totally fine to tell them: “I’m not completely sure about that yet” or “that’s something I’m still figuring out.”

That said, it can be helpful to consider questions like these, so you’re prepared to reassure your parents when possible.

Find Resources

Whether you’re coming out as a trans woman, a trans man, non-binary, or another identity under the trans umbrella, both broad and specific resources can help you have a more educated conversation with your parents.

Here are a few you may find helpful:

Support Guides for Transgender People & Allies

HER’s support guide for parents of trans children

HER’s comprehensive guide to pronouns

HER’s guide to asking about pronouns

Is it okay to NOT come out?

Organizations for Transgender People & Allies

National Center for Transgender Equality

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC)

The Trevor Project

PFLAG

GLAAD

It’s likely that you won’t be able to cover everything your parents want to know in one conversation.

Giving them resources you’ve personally found accurate and helpful in describing your identity will give them the space to educate themselves on their own time. 

It can also help avoid uncomfortable questions.

Build a Support Network

If you can, plan when you’re going to broach the conversation in advance and tell a friend or loved one when you’re doing it.

They can be ready to comfort you or listen to you on the phone or even make sure they’re home in case you need somewhere to go to decompress afterward.

You can also meet other trans people and find support through a queer-friendly app like HER.

If you haven’t thought about building or utilizing a support network, put yourself out there.

Lots of your friends and loved ones will probably be happy to step in and support you, even if you haven’t leaned on them in that way before.

If you don’t have many LGBTQ+ friends, think about joining a club, downloading the HER app, or attending LGBTQ+ events to build that community around you.

Take Your Time

Coming out as trans is a journey. You don’t need to rush it.

If other pressures or stresses are going on in your life at the moment, it’s perfectly okay to wait.

Sometimes you just want to dive in and get it done, but you should intuitively know whether that’s the leap of faith you need or if you’re just rushing out of fear. 

Taking this time to make sure you’re prepared, supported, and ready to field any questions your parents might ask about your gender identity is vital.

The initial conversation is just the first step in what can be a long process of helping your parents understand and support your identity.

Check in with yourself and make sure you’re ready to take that step.

Find Support and Make Friends on HER

trans bipoc group of friends talking gossiping different genders lgbtq her lesbian dating app

Coming out as trans is hard, but friends make everything easier.

If you want to meet more people who understand what you’re going through, download the HER app.

HER is a safe space for transgender and non-binary people to date, make friends, and more.

Click the download button below and start chatting for FREE now!

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Forever an explorer, Komal still considers herself a California girl at heart and isn't sure she'll ever leave. She gains and loses hobbies every half-decade and has already amassed several different lives. From neuroscientist to creative consultant, she's had many titles - but the one that has stuck is Content Manager at HER. She hopes we get close to world peace and that society will continue to be a queerer, freer place. You can follow Komal on IG @callmekoms

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