Transgender/Transsexuals from The Family's Perspective

Society's problem

We can hardly bring ourselves to discuss the topic of sex with our kids yet sex is literally everywhere from TV shows, commercials, Internet, and holds an exceptionally strong influence when selling products. As most adults have found out through years of experience, these media sources are hardly reflective of real life sex.

Why do I mention this? Well, when my father got a sex change I Googled it (looked it up on the Internet). Almost all the information was in x-rated form. There wasn't one quality piece of literature, story, or real account of transsexualism or transgender. It was all dirty. If it wasn't x-rated, it was hard to swallow scientific gobbly-goo. It lead me to believe my situation was unique...when in fact it isn't. Plenty of families are enduring the transition of a parent, a loved one, a sibling, etc. Likewise...many transsexuals and transgender are enduring the process of transitioning and dealing with family.

Now or Later?

A couple of years ago I first wrote on this topic and gave my uninhibited, real life testimony about my father's transition. It was gruesome to relive- it's been about 10+ years now so a lot has changed. I say gruesome because part of me is ashamed about how I handled his transition and part of me is disappointed about how my father handled it. Could things have gone better?

I believe things have worked out for the At first, I didn't talk to my dad for about a year. He was hostile, I was shocked and probably hostile back at him. We were both obviously hurt.

One of the reasons for bad reactions is bad deliveries. the single most important aspect of transitioning is slowly letting the most important family members in on the process. In all fairness, the family of a trans has not had the opportunity to do a lot of research about the process. We have not spent hours of obsessed time spent researching it like a typical trans has. We are literally in the dark. When people are in the dark, they get scared and even defensive.

Most family members I've heard from report the change being sprung onto them. It certainly was to me. i had not seen my dad for almost two years before he changed. He retired and moved a few states away. I was busy finishing college, but made sure we emailed each other almost every day. At no time did my dad mention taking hormones or gradually transitioning. He did not mention his full sex reassignment surgery until he was visiting my town and I met with him/her. Shocked was one word...pissed was another.

In the past I have received a lot of hateful comments from trans that get upset with how selfish I was about being mad. I've heard it all..."Grow up"..."You're so selfish"..."Your dad didn't have to share that with you"..."Your dad doesn't owe you an explanation or anything". Yes, I was upset my dad couldn't at least share this huge part of his life with me. After all I had shared so much of my life with him, even ridiculed by him for some of that which I did, but nevertheless, I shared. I thought the relationship was mutual.

***Please note: Do not fill up my comment section with how selfish I am. I am generously sharing my genuine experience with you. I also hope to help others as well.

As the daughter of a trans, I questioned my whole relationship (past, present, and future), with my dad. So from the family's perspective please share this with those most important to you...break it to them gradually and age appropriate (if small children are involved). Educate them and answer questions. The sooner, the better.

The #1 Question Family may not Ask

The number one question a family member may not ask, but really wants to know is "How do I fit into your life now"? Also related to this is..."What now?" I've got friends, I've got aunts, I've got a mother. So how does my transitioned, now female, dad fit into my life? A child really struggles with this because parents play such a vital role in our lives.

Let's take away the "sex" aspect of transsexualism and let's just say your dad suddenly came up to you and stated he wanted to be your friend or uncle instead. You immediately feel a sense of loss, bewilderment, rejection, and even anger. Keep in mind this scenario has nothing to do with gender. It would still be enormously difficult. Correct?

To trans...No matter how you run the scenario in your head, family will most likely have a variety of reactions. However, if you love them, you do owe them the information as you know it and your plans. What do you want from them? Communicate your needs. Ask what they want to know. Most of the time family only want you to be happy. We also want to know how this will affect our lives. A wife may want to know if this is the end of the marriage.

I know my mother had issues with my dad for feeling like she was lied to. He did not ever tell her nor show her his urge to dress as a woman. She felt their life together was a lie. This is all an example of how poorly trans end up handling things with their family. Not entirely their fault, but it is sort of a self-preservation mechanism. I am pleading with trans that saving yourself by leaving your family in the dark is not ideal. My mother never told me what my dad was and why he dressed up, I had to overhear it in a phone conversation with one of her friends. This is not ideal either.

For an older child, we can argue that in a way parents transition into a friendship type of role in our lives as we get older. This process is gradual and natural. It's not sprung onto us as with most transgender circumstances. Hopefully you wouldn't spring onto anyone any major decision substantially effecting them emotionally or otherwise.

The Parent-child Relationship

One of the reasons I contribute to my dad's lack of transparency with his transitioning is the fact that even though I was in my mid-twenties at the time, I know he still viewed me as a child. It is difficult for parents to view their children as adults. That's a transition that is hard for them. Either they want to protect or they figure they wouldn't understand such adult subject matter or it's a superior role in which they don't owe their child an explanation.

Remember in any family relationship, these hurt the most. Many families will reject and retaliate if they feel that's what has been done to them. My dad was hostile to me before I even reacted to his change. He was literally trying to push me away before I could give some so-called approval. Mostly this is due to lack of information or the family member receiving the news well into the transition process or the feelings of the trans reflected onto the family member.

For my dad and I, it was a unique situation in that he was entering womanhood at the same time I was (in my -mid-twenties). Yes, I was little upset that I felt like I had earned that woman hood and here comes my father who thinks that getting a sex change makes someone a woman. But I realize he had a tough journey as well and we all have the right to become who we really feel we are.


Here is society again, rearing it's ugly head into the transsexual/ transgender scenario. Another way in which trans and their family members are on opposite ends. If you think about it, there is a lot going against trans having normal relationships with their family because of such opposite directions they are taken as the process ensues.

Family has to live their life with their trans family member, trying not to care about society, the looks, the public attention, and even the danger it can cause. While trans on the other hand, are usually over-concerned with "passing" as the intended gender of choice, in the eyes of society. If a trans can pass as the opposite sex then it is held to highest esteem- it means a lot to them. They are seeking that approval while the family member is giving up on public approval.

I ignored and soon forgot about the way people saw my dad when we were in public. Although I see the hopes of approval in my dad's every move. I mentioned something about danger and it's true. I have my kids around my dad and never knowing when someone hates someone like my dad enough to hurt him or us. I was visiting my dad with my newborn baby girl when his house was vandalized. It was scary. There is such a range of reactions from people. My solution I hope to convey to all is to educate. First educate within families enough so that the trans have a support network. Then start a discussion as I am doing here.

The Perfection Plague

Family is the guilty of this phenomena. What is it with everything needing to appear perfect? If a child becomes transgender then the parent automatically thinks it will reflect upon them and their reputation. Frankly, it's disgusting. I've dealt with this perfection plague with other family issues, not just transgender, but I know it plagues the transgender situation.

Everybody wants the elusive appearance of perfection. This is another flaw our society has created. The fight with society's one-dimensional views is very entangled in the outcome of trans and family relationships. The reaction of family members has something to do with society's perception. The child of a trans worries about peer approval or disapproval for having a "different" parent. The parents worry if their parenting was imperfect. This is the fight for trans to have better relationships with their families, it is a fight within society to loosen up the perfection reigns.


During or after a transition, the trans is likely to feel elated, excited about their new identity. They want to celebrate and move forward. Although many feel a lingering sadness about their family, especially if they have younger children and/or leaving a marriage. I viewed my dad as extremely selfish during this period and it was difficult to be around him. I remember him criticizing me not dressing well and yet I was college poor while my dad was spending ooodles of money on women's designer clothes, wigs, and make-up.

I realized the transition for my dad was a celebration and for me it was grief. How could we be on the same page if we were both feeling such different emotions within this one event? I think counseling is always beneficial in any circumstance where there are too such divided sides. There are numerous things a family member just can't talk to the trans about. I was in college at the time of my dad's transition and so I went through free counseling at the college; great resource. Pastoral counseling is not as subjective as you may think and it's a lot less expensive than traditional psychologists. Forums and support groups are wonderful ways to get info and run things across people, obtaining various perspectives.

How did I finally deal with this, as a family member. Well, it's been two-sided. Finally a reciprocal relationship with my dad. I began seeing my dad through my little girl's eyes- she just saw someone she loved and loved to be around irrespective of sex or gender. I now have that viewpoint as well. My dad also started viewing me as an adult with respect and admiration. But it's a process. It takes time. People always want answers now...and truly this is one that takes time to adjust to a different role, a different person, a different relationship.

I honestly don't think understanding trans is the answer- it sounds great, but education is really the key. The trans should educate themselves about how the family may react, how to tell them, etc and the family needs to know what to expect in the transition and what exactly is a transgender. In my case, I will never understand my dad- I do not know what it's like to not want to be the sex I was born and I do not understand how the male-to-female trans ideas of what a woman is. And that's OK- I don't need to understand.

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Comments 56 comments

Sara-NtheMiddle profile image

Sara-NtheMiddle 4 years ago from United States

Very well written. From reading through all your past Hubs relating to transgender issues and your fathers transition, it is obvious that you have drastically grown and matured with the progression of time and knowledge, we would all benefit from that. You are so right about the way most transsexuals go about things the wrong way and spring it on everyone at the last minute and expect everything to be all right. In the beginning of transition , that seems , in the transition er's mind to be the easiest way to deal and cope mostly because of social stigmas , but in reality it does make everything more difficult in the end, especially when it relates to family. As time goes on and society becomes more tolerant of gender variations, less emphasis will be put on the act of change and more on the effect and outcome. Izettl- I can not thank you enough for all the relevant Hubs you have written on this subject and the suggestions and comments you have made to all my endless questions. I am indebted and honored that you have taken from your time to help me. Your friend and fan. Sincerely, Sara

graceomalley profile image

graceomalley 4 years ago

You are right that the web is lacking in solid information for the non-expert (and non porn seeker) about all sorts of serious issues.

My thoughts on the selfish thing. People who are quick to label others with a particular shortcoming are usually guilty of that same shortcoming themselves. I've seen this over and over. Manipulative people accuse others of manipulation, habitual liars don't believe anyone without photographic proof (and then they think it might be photshopped), and the truly selfish are convinced those who don't go along with them automatically are selfish. This pattern is so common.

The intersection of gender identity and family relationships is fraught with trouble. I appluad your honesty. I can't imagine who in the world would not have a reaction of shock, confusion and yes anger to a parent who without warning appears as the opposite gender. Gender is obviously very important to your dad - why is it supposed to be so simple for you? In our highly individual culture we are discouraged from thinking or even admitting how family members decisions affect the rest of the family. We're all supposed to be these completely autonomous individuals who forge our own path and care nothing for the opinions of others. Give me a break, that is not the real world. Human beings are social creatures. Fitting into society is critical to our emotional health, not to mention professional standing and ability to carry out parenting, being a good spouse, ect. Do you know people who 'really don't care what anyone thinks'? They are rude and miserable people, and that is the truth. An authentic person, grounded in they are, is pleasant and gets along well with most people. When Paul said 'As far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men' this is what he was talking about. You can be yourself without being agrssively in-your-face with others. If you need to be like that, you are not really grounded in your identity.

Anyway, rant over. I admire your honesty, and your reactions to this difficult situation was authentic, and talking about it is important. Hopefully some of those contemplating a gender change can learn from this.

Beachlife 4 years ago

thanks for sharing, i don't feel your were being selfish at the time. i also believe that the more people open up and take the time to learn about about situations like these, the more people can try to understand. no everything in this world is meant to be understood but it should be at least respected.

Dolphan5 profile image

Dolphan5 4 years ago from Warwick R.I


This is my first time hearing about your exp. (I have not read all your previous wrtings). This is a tough Issue and You navigated it well. Your honesty and forthrightness did not come across as anything other than what it was meant to be, Help!

I'm happy for you that you do have a relationship with your Father (post change).

I've never faced anything like this so I can't comment except to say that so many of the foibles we all possess wether we are men, women, children black,white,rich,poor,gay,straight etc etc etc. Influence how we adapt to change, gradual or otherwise.

You have shown us all through your journey the pitfalls that can avoided or fallen into ,and in this joyride known as life navigation can be oh so important.

None of us knows for a certainty what we can possibly face tommorrow.

I know there will be some who apprecite your insight and for that you should feel rewarded.

Voted thumbs up and interesting!

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

I do not doubt, izettle, that by virtue of your honest and candid explanations of your experience with your father's transition, you have assisted any number of readers who have been involved in similar situations with transgender transitions.

izettl profile image

izettl 4 years ago from The Great Northwest Author

Sara~ your words are always so kind and I appreciate that. I'm just being honest and many don't like that but I think it's the only way to have a good conversation about this. I can't tell you how much comments like yours, Jeanine's, and many other people have opened my eyes.

izettl profile image

izettl 4 years ago from The Great Northwest Author

Great comment Grace! I really had to come to terms that I did not understand my dad's decision. You mention some great lessons in your comment- some I have to check myself on. For a while I guess I got defensive about this topic because when I first wrote on it, I got several bad reactions from trans. I wasn't trying to be rude, I was trying to be honest.

You have some great words of wisdom and I'll be mulling them over for a while. Thanks Grace.

izettl profile image

izettl 4 years ago from The Great Northwest Author

beachlife~ thanks for your words. big lesson i had to learn is not everything can be understood but if it can't it shouldn't be hated or feared.

jeanine 4 years ago

Very nice read Izetti... hope you are many of us in this community don't know how to deal with it ourselves...we try to try to put it away but finally she stands in the doorway and there seems to be nothing that will move her. I am convince after much study that unless one has this affliction or gift, whichever you seem to see it as at the time, there is no way to understand this journey that some of our best men are on. The hurt and pain it carries with it is about as large as the titanic and is similar in many ways... men and women that have so much going for them and seem unsinkable, turn and strike the largest iceberg known to mankind... We broadside our families without even thinking they won't love us or can't love the new funny except if it's happening to you and your family...we spend our entire lives building integrity and then this companion that has always been there with us, according to us, short circuits the entire picture... or at least that's what it looks like from these TS eyes... there is a little known historical fact that all gays and gender variant behaviors fall under.. it's called "two spirited people" google it... there's more there than meets the eye... if one looks closely, it seems our binary system has forced sect of people that were a third gender for thousands of years to choose between being an man or a woman... I believe myself that we are more valuable to society living as two, instead of one, so I continue to tell this story... I do grow weary in that almost no trans I know, knows our history. The obcession that happens general starts by trying to find a reason or trying to stop it before it over takes us... as we continue to learn more we get caught in the beauty of it all... that we could be, or that we are, women, living in a man's body, is to appealing. Almost supernatural when one thinks about it... our own psychosis takes over after that... again I agree with Sarah... Izettle has helped many of us, me included to search for a real answer... the one the medical community is pawning off on us is a little immature to say the least... think about it... "well if you're not a man, you must be a woman"... what a crock that is... and don't get me wrong, I think that's a grand idea, just mostly BS, they don't have a clue why this happens or what causes it... so to me, giving me a body that fits my picture, is a cool idea but it's not gonna make me a woman...I've worn this male suit much to long to ever be a woman now... and I'm not like any other man, sooooooo.... we are two spirits... living as one... the fact is I wished I were a woman, the reality is I am both spirits, not one or the other... to all of us who are born with this amazing gift... embrace your life, embrace the greatness that is yours, we are not binary... we are something else entirely... read your history... as two, we were advisers to Kings and Queens all over the world... as women or men, we have been relegated to being the pride of the Jerry Springer Show... wake up... sleeping beauty, your prince and you are one... let there be no mistake... I love every single trans I have ever met... after all they are my tribe... the ones of us that are taking the operations... will be known in the future as pioneers, and test tube cases for a crazy bunch of Doctors.. Doctors who always think that surgery is the funny... unless it's happening to you and your family.... last statement... "what genetic female do you know that would hurt her children on purpose... think about it... not one... unless she is mentally sick" and that's what I feel inside, if I am a woman inside, and I do have all the same characteristics that most trans do, according to five different therapist, I do have a severe case of being a woman I would kill any man that tried to hurt my children.... even the one I live inside of... have a great day... if you are TG or TS, please conside what I have written and read your history yourself... if you are one of our families, please be forgiving, be kind, be understanding and most of all be educated... the answer my friend is not blowing in the it's in the history books... that's again Izettl for letting me express a different opinion...

izettl profile image

izettl 4 years ago from The Great Northwest Author

Dolphan5~ thanks for some wonderful words. I have received discouraging words in the past, but the story still unfolds so I continue to update it no matter what. When I first wrote something about it (one of the first hubs I wrote) i had mixed responses but that was good. I certainly didn't write it to have everyone agree with me, just wanted to get different and personal perspectives other than typical info on the internet.

The good and the negative feedback have both taught me things.

drbj~ I feel in a different position now than i did a couple years ago when i first wrote on it- I feel like I can help more and give a concrete perspective. I realize now, even though my first hub was filled with mixed emotion and perspective, that original hub helped myself and others so I feel honored. It's all about starting a discussion, right?

Not all of us get to interview the famous and infamous (smile). Lucky you!

Tori Helle profile image

Tori Helle 4 years ago from Seattle, Washington

I am a transwoman myself, and this is a great read, very well put together. Yes, a lot of transgendered persons do "spring it" on people. Look at it from this perspective. I just wrote a hub myself about being a transwoman and the fear that comes with it. Jeanine really hit the nail on the head. We try to ignore it, to brush it off, pretend it's just a phase. This is a sad thing in and of itself, as this is what we are taught by society. I appreciate your struggle with your father's transition. Anyone who is not a transgendered person can never really understand what we go through. I have been in transition for 8 months, still pretty new, but I have known since I was around 7 or 8 that something about me wasn't right, something just didn't fit. I spent the next 30 years of my life pushing the woman inside down. I knew how society viewed transgendered persons. I still struggle everyday with accepting myself, with what I see when I look in the mirror. How can we come to someone we love dearly and tell them something that we ourselves can barely accept, if at all? I agree with your take on educating, that is a huge part of ending the stigma surrounding transgendered persons. Remove the stigma and the shame majority of society places on us, I think what happened with your situation would happen a lot less often. How happy I would be if I could walk down the street being me without having to look over my shoulder, without having to endure the looks, and those nasty little comments so many have that they didn't know you heard. I do live as a woman full time, and I am proud of it. However, this does not remove the constant threat of discrimination and/or violence. So, what I say is this, if you have a transgendered person in your life and you love them, a friend, a relative, a co-worker, stand up for them. When you hear someone making mean or inappropriate comments, say something. The pain, shame, and turmoil so many transgendered persons and their loved ones go through is absolutely unnecessary. The sooner we take a stand, the sooner all of us can walk a little prouder, the ones living it, and the ones living with it.

izettl profile image

izettl 4 years ago from The Great Northwest Author

Jeanine~ well for me the issue between my dad and I was when he got his change I asked myself if I had ever really known him. It felt like he deceived me by not being himself around me. Contrary to what some trans believe about changing relatingto their family. It can be viewed as being deceptive if we (the kids) feel like you're not being true to yourself.

You've given me the best understanding I will ever have of this topic, but I realize it's not my part to understand least from trans point of view. There are certain things you have to walk in the shoes of that person. My dad is the most logcial and smart person I know so I know no matter how much logic we apply to this topic it's not going to get us closer to understanding. I do feel that the trans can be understanding of their famiy- that's my goal with this hub here.

I think a big problem as you mentioned is choosing to be one or the other- we look at trans as a possible third "sex" or "gender"- there is much grey in between. And yes society plays a big role in trans feeling like they only have two choices- man or woman.

As usual your input is invaluable- completely noteworthy and fantastic. THanks! ""well if you're not a man, you must be a woman"... what a crock that is" Best statement ever!

Jeanine 4 years ago

Izetti, you have done so much for all of us... simply by being honest about your feelings, we are all forever in your debt because it is painful for us to be truthful... Celeste is a very truthful person and I love how she addresses some of these issues... I think she says "if you can take a real look, it's so much more important to be with your family instead of being in a skirt" I think that sums it up... but this psychosis is so real and runs so deep, it drives us crazy, a little at a time.... I think if we can adopt a third gender, we will be able to fight the manic part of the psychosis... if we continue to only be offered the binary system, we will continue to hurt our families and ourselves... the angst is very similar to teens that cut themselves, in that we are compelled to dress just to feel anything, just as they have shut down and cut themselves just to feel anything... we have pushed the girl part of us down for so long, the male part of us finally runs out and there's nothing to do but revive her and let her breath... if we can educate parents of tS and two spirits to let them grow into themselves instead of one or the other, then there may be hope for us as a sect of people once again... we were once great as ourselves and I believe we will be once again...

izettl profile image

izettl 4 years ago from The Great Northwest Author

Tori~ Sorry I didn't get to your comment sooner but longer comments I like to read when I have a good chance to concentrate and think about it. My view is educating rather than understanding. SOme trans do not like that I even write about it, but I explain that I write about it to make it something as usual as we would talk about anything else- no stigma attached. I think my struggle for quite some time was trying to understand. Although "jeanine" who commented has done an excellent job of understanding the mentality aorund it and the life of a trans.

I dearly wish the shame would go away within our society. I don't think there should be shame around it. I guess since I had always talked with my dad about the good and bad and ugly things in my life, I thought the relationship was mutual in that way.

I have to admit I am really shocked at how progressive our society claims to be and yet walking down the street with my dad I have seen people with sheer looks of hate on their face. Awful.

I probably didn't understand my dad because he seemed so confident as a man and so awkward as a woman and so to me at first I thought that must not be right. But again I can't understand all of it, I just wish for people to view it as "normal" within society.

I think with medical technology we will see more transegendered people and hopefully that will make it more accepted.

graceomalley profile image

graceomalley 4 years ago

One comment about the progressiveness of society. This isn't limited to gender issues. I have an adult and uncle who always talked very progressively about race, until their daughter married a black man. The daughter was shocked because, "You raised me everyone is equal!" but when it came into their family, those deeper prejudices came out. I went to college with a girl who had the same situation in her family - progressive talking parents, up until the day their daughter introduced them to her man. I think it is a case of - like i said- deeper prejudices. people talk one way when it is all theoretical- of course most people want to say that it is the choice of the individual. But then when directly confronted - when it comes into their family, or walks by them on the street, those prejudices they may not even be aware of rise up. Maybe it is a primal instinct that percieves anything too different as a threat, maybe it is attitudes absorbed in childhood that don't respond to logic. Whatever it is, I think we have to recognize how common this duel respose is in our society.

Jeanine 4 years ago

I do believe most prejudice is based on primal fears... much much deeper than we think... we do hear people speak of how they want to act, but they or we don't ever seem to be able to deliver that shining non judgmental part of our selves when it comes to those who are different than us... and that would be every man is prejudice... and those who say they are not are lying to themselves... the key is communication... here in the south some of us admit we are prejudice and the way we have begun to grow, in race relations at least is, we just admit it and say, help me not be... the rest of the country talks about how progressive they are in race relations but because we were forced to deal with it before the rest of the country, we are actually further along than the rest... we are not there yet but we are at least talking about it instead of saying we are not prejudice... I think when it comes to the TS community, it goes back to when we were looked up to as a people, we were tribal leaders and shamans, also advisers to their Kings or Queens, Chiefs that ruled over the general population. We were held in high esteem by those who were not trans or two spirited as we were called then. We were held up as examples of how men and women were to respect one another for their differences, lifted higher than the rest because we were able to value both as equally important. We were your marriage therapist actually, not because we are both but because we have a fundamental knowledge of both... the medical community in the haste to understand this new type of behavior, jumped to the conclusion that if we were not men inside, we must be women...which is very immature to say the least... they are basing their entire studies on the physical when we are spiritual beings and have always excelled in those areas... it's like the medical community threw our entire history away and Harry Benjamin and his bunch decided we were really women in mens bodies... what kind of opium was he smoking at the which is funny unless you are trans... our parents were uneducated that we are who we are... so there those of us who choose not to transition, have begun the task of writing and recording our actual history and little by little we will debunk this entire notion... we are two living as one... or we are two spirits living as one to be more exact... please pray for us... we are mutilating ourselves in hopes of getting away from these feelings, when we were never meant to get away from them at all... we were made for this, born to understand both men and women, to help you understand each other, not to be one of you... the very fact they were were not like you and now we want to be just a man or a woman is the hate that comes from the binary system...

izettl profile image

izettl 4 years ago from The Great Northwest Author

Grace~ the example you gave is reflective of our "politically correct" society. People talk the talk but don't walk the to speak. I can relate to what you've said. I've never really thought of whether I was OK with trans before I was confronted on it with my dad. One interesting example is my dad who is a trans and I grew up with him giving me a hard time for dating two different guys of other races. So we need to also be aware that those who want equality and social acceptance don't always give it to others different to themselves. Hypocrisy.

Jeanine~ undereducated for sure is to blame. And yes fear...fear comes from the unknown. For example, and this sounds silly, but I had an ex boyfriend who really believed gay was catchy or he could catch it if he was around one. That's just stupidity but there are lots of people like that. And fear comes from being associated with a "dangerous" group of people in society. I consider my dad in that dangerous group because I do have fear someone will retaliate while myself and my kids are around- his place was vandalized while I stayed there pne time when my daughter was 3 mo old- scared me.

Randipilot 4 years ago

As a transwoman, dealing with transition with a wife and children (college age), balancing my needs, some may say desires, is challenging. I came out to my wife 6 years ago (now married 28 yrs), and to my children and immediate family a year ago. My wife had some idea from early on in our marriage, but no one else in my family had a clue. It was a huge revolution to them, but having a wonderful parents and sibling, we are still close.

Even though we are still close, how do we all manage things. The nature of all the relationships changes, as the world, like it or not, operates with a heavy influence of the gender binary. At this point, My children are ok with it, but I am not out full time, my wife deals with it, and is understanding and as far as she is able supportive. In my case slow seems to be good, as it allows them all time to adjust. It's kind of like watching a child grow, if you are there every day, you don't see them get bigger and taller, but only see them every few months, and the changes are stark. So if I change slowly, it is not as shocking. In your case Izettl, it had to have been shocking, no time for your relationship to morph, or change slowly, no time for small changes to deal with only one big one.

Thanks for your thoughts and insight, you really bring such insight to this topic.

izettl profile image

izettl 4 years ago from The Great Northwest Author

Randipilot~ thnaks for stopping by. you have given the point of my hub sweet justice. In other words, you have just phrased it better than myself. Relationships are always changing and if no changes occur, it might be a red flag. Well, in my case it was. At the time it seemed like I was constantly disappointing my dad because of failures and mistakes, but that's life in teens and 20' for my dad he always remained the same...perfect. But little did I know somehting was brewing inside and yes it was a shock of course.

I believe your situation benefitted from telling your close family- wife and children then other family later. I wish my situation had resembled yours, but it didn't and yet my dad and I have finally come around to having a rewarding relationship but it took longer I think due to how he broke the news to me.

When a trans tells family close to or after the fact type of scenario and they get a bad reaction, they may misunderstood that as a reaction to being trans, but it is usually because the hiding, lies, and secrets that came before that. My dad would lie to me- he offered to give me some make-up he had but said it was from a lady at work- things like that. It took me 1+ years to talk with my dad after his change and i attribute that to the way and how long it took him to tell me...after the whole change!

I really appreciate you sharing your experience.

Georgiakevin profile image

Georgiakevin 4 years ago from Central Georgia

This is such a wonderfully written heart felt hub that i find myself deeply touched by it. There are those who wait until their children are grown or almost grown before they even begin their journey and try to be so concerned by what their family is going through. Sadly no matter how concerned you are your family still suffers.

Transition is or should be a last resort. What to me is so cruel about being transsexual is that there is soo much pain to the one who is transsexual and the pain that they feel is magnified by the ones they love.

In recent years more is known about being transsexual and it is easier to acknowledge being so. My advice to young trans men and women is that being trans will not go away by wanting it to, by trying to be the best at the gender you are assigned to so don't get married and have children, that only makes it worse. The feelings of emotional stress only gets worse as you get older if you don't do anything about them until you get to a point where you simply must transition. Take care of you as soon as you can, your life will be easier, richer.

There are too few psychologists like you, I wish there were more.

izettl profile image

izettl 4 years ago from The Great Northwest Author

Georgia~ I absolutely believe that young trans should deal with and make a plan to transition as early as possible. I think both my mom and I had issues because there was a whole other person in my dad we did not know or know about and it felt deceptive or some ways. i had thoughts like 'did I ever know who my dad was? Who was the person I grew up with and called dad?' Best approach is being honest. better to deal with it early then later.

thanks for your supportive comment.

Georgiakevin profile image

Georgiakevin 4 years ago from Central Georgia

I feel for all y'all very much.

Jeanine 4 years ago

thx... we can stand some

Darkproxy profile image

Darkproxy 3 years ago from Ohio

I think most families suffer because they are never brought in on the subject are almost always left without and couciling and are ussually forced to endure a sense of failing to raise their child correctly and are mostly ignored for an individuals want.

Georgiakevin profile image

Georgiakevin 3 years ago from Central Georgia

What you say has validity Darkproxy but it is never too late for counseling.

izettl profile image

izettl 3 years ago from The Great Northwest Author

Darkproxy~ complex issues such as transgender, but not limited to, sometimes require counseling, another viewpoint. it's so easy to get stuck in our lives and believe there is not way out, no solution, no way to "fix" it. Most of the time, people just need to have an understanding. It wasn't until I talked to other transgender that I began to understand my dad. That's why it's important for family to be open as possible and include others in changes or challenges.

Georgiakevin~ how very true. I like it for maintenance (smile). I treat my mind and my body and my car all about the same- they all need a tune-up, etc periodically.

Darkproxy profile image

Darkproxy 3 years ago from Ohio

your dad is transgender

K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 3 years ago from Northern, California

I appreciate that you point out firsthand that the information available to the average person about transgender/transsexual topics is shrouded unnecessarily behind x-rated or scientific barriers. The truth is, this is a far more emotional and personal encounter than anything else; which you make very apparent within your personal story. Hopefully (and sooner then later) a realistic understanding for those who transition, and their families, can be found more readily than what is available currently. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us.


izettl profile image

izettl 3 years ago from The Great Northwest Author

Keystrokes~so you're saying trans transitions for the family isn't emotional above all else? You say this is merely an emotional personal account. Have you never read anything that spoke to you and was good to have a reference to your own thoughts and feelings like you were not the only one out there feeling those?

Are you saying this is not "realistic"- "hopefully a more realistic understanding will be available"? yes, this is all fake! Who else would know more than about being in a fmaily with a trans than someone who is. If it's not scientific, emotional, personal, or x-rated then what info exactly are you looking for?

K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 3 years ago from Northern, California

No. I am simply saying I appreciate that you shared your story. I only wish you well. Best of luck.

izettl profile image

izettl 3 years ago from The Great Northwest Author

Keystrokes~ I guess I misunderstood- I thought you were stating personal accounts were useless. Either way thanks for stopping by.

DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

I heard of Transgender but learned more here on the subject you did a fantastic job explaining and to the point . The change in the individual's life can be a challenging process.

izettl profile image

izettl 3 years ago from The Great Northwest Author

Thank you so much DDE.

nurseleah profile image

nurseleah 3 years ago from West Virginia

izettl, thank you for sharing your story with us and the world. It is important in education to see as many sides as possible. I believe your words can be helpful to anyone dealing with this particular issue. I want to say support groups in particular can be extremely beneficial. I like Parents and Friends of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transgenders (PFLAG). It is a group that is largely focused on education and awareness. All are welcome. Our local chapter meets at a gay-friendly church once a month and participates in a variety of community activities. Occasionally, a friend or family member of a transgender person will attend for information and/or support. There often is anger involved, and that is okay. It is a normal part of the grieving process, and yes, grieving is normal when dealing with the loss of anything. In this case, there may be a loss of trust, a loss of relationships, a loss of understanding, so many potential losses and confusion. Clearing up the confusion and learning a new perspective is key. Loss doesn't have to be the focus. Compassion can be the focus. Empathy can be the focus. Just because a person has never wanted to be the opposite gender doesn't mean a person can't understand what it's like to want to be someone else. Often people find themselves wishing some aspect of their life was dramatically different. Imagining this can be helpful in trying to understand the transgender person's perspective. Thank you, again, for sharing this heartfelt and educational account of your experience.

izettl profile image

izettl 3 years ago from The Great Northwest Author


I wrote other pieces and got some mixed comments. Of course many trans were upset with me, but I think by titling this "from the family's perspective" it can open eyes up on all perspectives.

It's a loss of a parent. The person you grew up with, etc. That's what it feels like initially. My dad was my father...and now, he certainly can't be my mother so yes it is confusing what you do with those feelings. Keeping my distance is how I initially dealt with it as I'm sure many do.

Thanks for stopping by and mentioning the support groups- very important.

nurseleah profile image

nurseleah 3 years ago from West Virginia

Yes, it requires time to process feelings and time to grieve. I certainly can understand that. I think when you throw in the transgender part of the equation, people just get really impassioned in one direction or the other. They either want you to understand immediately and have no grieving period or expect complete rejection. Any time there are strong emotions involved, people will see a variety of reactions. Talk therapy can be great for a loved one going through what you and many others have experienced. A non-biased third party to just hear what the grieved person is saying and provide validation that it is okay to grieve and to have any of the emotional responses associated with grieving. There is so much to deal with. I am inspired by your journey, and I think if other people could approach this with compassion and empathy from both sides, there would be a lot less destruction of relationships and a lot less anger. When we change in a dramatic way or become open about something that we haven't been open about previously, it affects others on many levels. That must be considered in any circumstance, from divorce to gender identity, to sexual orientation, to even less emotion-filled topics like moving to another state. There is grief involved in all of these things. I hope through stories like yours and many others, people can become more sympathetic and empathetic.

izettl profile image

izettl 3 years ago from The Great Northwest Author

nurseleah~ Luckily I was attending college at the time of my dad's transition so I was able to seek counseling. The counselor was gay so I think she had a grasp of the subject matter in general. Interestingly enough, it wasn't as much of the trans thing that I had issues with than it was the lying and the loss of identity. Growing up I always tried to live up to, get approval from, and be like my dad so when that image is shattered, you've lost a lot and I had to backtrack and figure out who I really was independent of my dad because it was the first time ever, I didn't care about his approval nor want to be like him. When he transitioned, so did I (figuratively speaking). He was having issues with his gender identity and I was having identity issues of my own.

It seems like you have a lot of understanding of this topic and glad to read your comments and outlook on it all. You are a great third party viewpoint too.

My dad's transition is just part of life now. It's been 12 years, but of course I remember the whole ordeal like it was yesterday.

lovedoctor926 3 years ago

Nice to meet you Izettl. I have been reading your hubs and I must say that I really like your work. I absolutely love your profile. You're bold and witty and not to afraid to show your true self. I'm as real as I can get also and it doesn't get any better than this without even meeting me face to face either so I'm sure that we would get along just fine. Lol.

Thank you for sharing your personal story with the rest of us & for bringing this issue out in the open.

lovedoctor926 3 years ago

Congratulations on your 1,000,000 views. This is a big accomplishment.

izettl profile image

izettl 3 years ago from The Great Northwest Author

Thanks so much Lovedoctor!

lovedoctor926 3 years ago

your welcomed:)

samowhamo profile image

samowhamo 3 years ago

There was this feminists named Sheila Jeffreys who believe that transgenderism/transexualism is misogynist and there are other feminists who believe that. What is so misogynist about a man wanting to be a woman and vice versa and what is so misogynist about a man wanting to dress in womens clothing so what if they like the look. Women wear mens clothing all the time and no one says that's misandrist I swear some feminists are such idiots they call it misogynist I call it hypocritical B.S. as I said no one makes a big deal out of women wearing mens clothing and Sheila Jeffreys says everything masculine is bad HA. Transsexuals and treansgenders already have enough to deal with without these stupid intolerent bigots calling them misogynist there just gonna have to deal with it because you can't stop people from getting a sex change or wearing what they want or being masculine. I am sorry if I sound angry I am just sick of these feminists bullying these people.

Tori Helle profile image

Tori Helle 3 years ago from Seattle, Washington

Well, it has been a year since I posted a response to this, I have been keeping track of it though. One thing I would like to clarify, I promise I am not trying to argue semantics. Transgender people don't 'want' to be anything, we already are. As for the feminist thing, I see a need for feminism, however I cannot stand "femi-nazi's"!! What I choose to do in regard to my transition has nothing to do with wanting any kind of special privilege. The same goes for the transmen I know. They are not doing it to gain access to 'male privilege' as many are so often accused of. We decide to transition because we have hidden as long as we can and the person we truly are inside is sick of hiding. I hid my true self for 38 years. I would probably still be hiding had I not moved to Seattle and discovered the wonderful community of people like me. That is what gave me the strength to come out. Support is everything in a transition, without it, my transition would be an epic fail and I would probably be six feet under somewhere. This will never be an easy process. However, I see a need to go beyond just educating people about this. There is a very strong need for activists and people who are not afraid to show their support. Transgender people, and their families, would have so many more resources if transgendered people had the healthcare we need. We have no trans specific healthcare coverage anywhere in this country that I know of. I have friends in PFLAG, I have listened to their stories, some happy, others tragic. Loved ones lost because they could not hide anymore, yet since they could not afford any of the things needed to transition, such as hormones and surgeries, help with hair removal, they got sick of looking in the mirror and seeing the same person on the outside they always have been. It is the incongruity that drives some trans to self mutilation and sometimes, even once is too often, to suicide. The biggest need in my humble opinion for transgender folks right now is a loud voice that will not, cannot be ignored. As far as our rights go, we are still stuck in the days before Stonewall. I have been at this almost 2 years now. I still have a hard time leaving the house. Why? Because I have very pale skin and very dark hair. No amount of makeup hides my shadow. I don't need everything done, although have the full remodel would just make me ecstatic. I would give almost anything just to get my face lasered, yet I cannot even get help with that. We need healthcare so badly. We have a day of remembrance for those we have lost in this struggle. I hope I live to see the day we have a celebration day because we are finally free.

samowhamo profile image

samowhamo 3 years ago

@Tori Helle

Well I don't think all feminists are like that but unfortunately I have had more experience with bad ones then good ones. The ones like Sheila Jeffreys think they have the god-given right to tell people what's right and what's wrong why is everything masculine bad why can't men wear womens clothing and some say her work is being silenced HA hardly she is one of the most well known lesbian feminists there is. I don't care if a person wants to be homosexual some of my best friends in high school were homosexual and I don't care if a person wants to get a sex xhange or wear clothing of the opposite sex and I don't care if a person wants to be masculine or feminine what I will not tolerate is trying to force those things on other people or saying that no you can't do those things I think Sheils Jeffreys is a pig that has no consideration for transpeople or transvestites or bisexuals (she is biphobic) or how men and boys may feel if they hear her saying things like everything masculine is bad that can have a negative influence on boys and some men who may be sensitive because they will think that they are bad people just because they are masculine.

andrea 2 years ago

Hi, thanks Izetti for creating a thoughful Hub. It seems to me that problems seem to really occur when a parent transitions when children are beyond a certain age (10 plus) years. I am TS and I plan to transition when my kids are at a young age, and I also want to let them know about who I was, that they came from me but that I couldn't living as something that I hated. To be honest, I am not sure if they will actually remember me as "male" as such but if they still want to call me Dad or anything else, that will be fine by me. I wondered if anyone had any advice or experiences of how something like this can work out? I know quite a few lesbian families and their kids seem fine, although I accept that a tranparent situation is different.

izettl profile image

izettl 2 years ago from The Great Northwest Author


I think younger is better. The most hurtful aspect for me was feeling like my dad lied to me about who he was for most of my childhood. I was 10 when my parents divorced but 24 when he finally transitioned. I looked up to him immensely so I always wondered WHO I was actually looking up to if he was able to not be honest about who he really was. I don't know personally any who've transitioned when kids were young.

jeanine 2 years ago

Hi Andrea, I am gender variant as well, and have a very strong family life... I read extensively about our community and decided to stay with the body I was born with... my children a know me and know I am trans... but I chose to love them first... and here's how that worked out for me... I have never hated my body, but always knew it was just that... a body... a male body that I lived within... best not to hate what you have because if you do transition fully, you still will have a lot of the same characteristics that you have as a man... ouch... I know you didn't want to hear that... if they don't remember you were a man... don't tell them until they are much old... much much older... maybe never... why bring them into our world when theirs is a better one for them... here's the question you have to ask and then we can talk some more.....or this is the question I could not find a transitioning answer for... ofr me... and this is me... but... "I don't know one single genetic female, who would hurt their children on purpose... in fact I would kill anyone woman or man who tried to hurt my children... and that would also include the man's body I live within" ... I went to 6 different therapist and stayed in group for years... but going to group did it for me... I saw so much pain there and most of it was self inflicted on my friends and on their own families... I would never let a man including the one I live inside of to harm my children.... if you read izettl s hubs you will see what this pain does to a small child... these hubs are also I reason I didn't transition fully... I did and still do HRT and blockers so I did transition to a certain point... that you are not making the money yourself and expecting the gov't to help you pay for the transition is troubling to me... women are some of the hardest working people on the planet, so get out there and make a ton of money for your family first of all, because that's what women do and then make the second ton for you... understand... O hope you have a great day...

Andrea 2 years ago

Hi Izetti. Thanks for your kind response. I have decided to start my transition before any children I can have have formed a close relationship with me, so that they are not faced with "losing me" through a later transition. I can't help thinking that things may have turned out differently for you if you'd been involved with the process more. I am also not seeking a "traditional" relationship, which may help as there will be an existing non-conventional paradigm. I know - this is all pie-in-the-sky and also something I never wanted to consider - try as I might, I cannot get rid of gender dysphoria and I have to live with it. I only hope I can with the kid's Mum make things work out.

Hi Jeanine. I see where you are coming from with a lot of your comments...regarding a man/woman not wanting to hurt their children...this is the source of much angst for me and I suspect a lot of gender variant people - I am coming to the conclusion that I can be a much more stable and effective person if I do address my GD - I only hope it works out.

I am also on a low dose of HRT, which helps dampen down but does not in any way cure my GD - I only wish it did - regarding disliking my body - I wrote that when I was trying to come off HRT to "man it up" - Big Mistake - I am accepting that I need to accept I am transsexual and that HRT helps me but there's no way I can live as a man.

Regarding support groups - I too have seen the difficulties of some there - to me, the problems seem to come when people leave their transitions too late (after spending years suppressing their GD), when loved ones can accept what's going on or when psychiatrists force people to do things they aren't ready for.

Regarding me expecting the Government to pay for my transition?! No, I can assure you that I don't and haven't yet, nor will ever! I fully anticipate sharing the domestic/parenting duties and fully respecting the role and status of my kids' Mum. I do see where you are coming from in terms of earning income and I have always worked when I can, and I can't see this ever changing. Cheers, andrea

Melanie 2 years ago

Hi Izetti

It's amazing how fate works. I am ready to tell my family I am transexual today and I came across your blog. Your words have helped me understand how I should go about talking to my wife and 3 girls. They are 22 and 18 and I will remember to treat them as results and understand that they will have many questions and I should be willing to answer their questions. I am so glad I came across your blog today.

Thank you

izettl profile image

izettl 2 years ago from The Great Northwest Author

Great to hear Melanie. Sorry it took me so long getting back but I took a break from this site. I hope things have worked out and remember it's definitely an ongoing process.

SRIndy 2 years ago

Just wanted to thank you for everything I have just read. My father in law has recently had surgery. As an outsider, I always thought he appeared to be female while my husband was in denial or oblivious. Everything you wrote makes so much sense and has allowed me to grasp what (she) is going through. There is an unfortunate lack of good information and I'm very thankful to have stumbled upon this.

izettl profile image

izettl 2 years ago from The Great Northwest Author


I recently wrote another article about this and you will find it on my profile page if you want to read more on it. I'm glad to be able to give you some insight into what's going on in your family with your father in law. thanks for stopping by.

ave 2 years ago

Why do you call her dad if she is a transwomen? It's very rude to call someone by the wrong names/pronouns.

izettl profile image

izettl 2 years ago from The Great Northwest Author


My dad has asked me to call "her" dad and for my kids to call Grandpa. I don't think it's rude if that's my dad's wishes. And yes it makes the pronouns awkward, but not "wrong".

Jeanine 2 years ago

It is not uncommon for gender variants to be caught in between pronouns... for instance, although I have a wonderful husband.... she is also my wife in marriage... so you see... she has accepted her role in our lives as husband but he is still a she in most of the rest of her life... I refer to her as my husband or hubby out of respect for the role she has embraced in our relationship... and I might add.... she... is a very good husband and I love her very much... it's not something I have to do... it's something she asked me to do out of respect for her... I hope that makes some sense... because in the world of pronouns I know it makes no

Marilyn 2 years ago

I was married for 28 yrs to a very controlling, verbally, mentally abusive MAN. I had been married before and had 2 children, when we met I thought he was a great guy. He treated my kids great, he treated me right. We finally married, HE said he wanted kids of his own, so we had 2 boys. He adored them from birth til age 4-5. then they became the stupid, ignorant brats. No matter what our kids did, it was wrong, he never had anything good to say about anybody in that house. As my older kids got out of school and able to get on their own they were gone. OUR oldest son, was a challenge for me because he hated his Dad so much that he took it out on me. My husband is an Airline Captain, gone 3-4 days at a time. We could enjoy life up til the moment we knew it was time for him to come home. Then, hell began until he left again. He was perfect in everything and you were wrong at everything. His Birthday is Christmas Day , He is GOD. We were told this all the time.

Things never seemed really weird.. even though he enjoyed to dress like a "whore" for Halloween. But after a few years he got to spending more and more money to be the best looking "WOMAN" in the Halloween contests. The reason for all this chatting is I'm hoping maybe someone out there can explain to me WHY ? The last few yrs of our marriage was miserable . I was told everyday how much he hated me, couldn't stand to be around me. I had to leave Phx. to come back to KY in 2007 to take care of my Dad. He had alzheimers. 2009, I got breast cancer had to go back to Phx for surgery. During recovery He told me everyday I should leave and go back to KY to recupriate. He had started this Trans life but didn't want anyone to know. Finally in Aug., 2011 I begged fro the divorce. I wanted my own lawyer but was told by him we couldn't afford it. He would draw up the paperwork and we would go thru the Divorce Store. He had control of all the finances , I couldn't get to Phx. to find out anything. I knew we were already losing our home. He stop making payments pocketed the $2000 payment every month. When I would ask where my share of this was.... "HE didn't know where the money was going?" REALLY! Funny I found out real fast after the divorce..seems he needed Invisalign braces, beginning hormone treatments.

The divorce was final 10/13/2011. Want to know when he decides to tell me, his 27 yr. son and his 23 yr son that he is becoming a "WOMAN". Christmas Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 2011

Then, he wonders why we hate him. He has cut off help to everyone. He makes more money than I ever could but if I need financial help, he can't help. WHY ? because he has to have everything cut on and moved.

People wonder why we can't accept him for wht he has done. because he is a horrible human male or female.

Do all Transgenders treat their families this way?

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