There is no right or wrong way to tell your family that you are transitioning. Whichever way you choose, remember that there is nothing wrong with you and you are allowed to live as your true self. Even if you are not considering transgender cosmetic surgery yet or have already had a consultation with a specialized surgeon, you should only talk to your family members when you are ready.
How do you talk to your family?
For many people, sending an email to the family member they trust most can open up dialogue. In the email, explain what you are going through, some details of your transgender cosmetic surgery (if you are planning that) and how you are still the same person you’ve always been. If your family member loves you for who you are, then they will be accepting of your transition. However, acceptance may not come overnight. Many people who do not have experience with the transgender community lack awareness. You may have to offer explanations about pronoun usage, etc. Once you’re able to get a response to your email, you can actually get together in person with your family member and have a heart-to-heart. Then, when you’re ready, you can gather more family members together for discussion about what you’re going through.
What happens when your family members make your transition about them?
No matter how accepting your family is, they may make your transition about themselves. It’s a defence mechanism that many parents have in which they think they’ve done something wrong and that’s why you don’t feel like the sex you were assigned at birth. Reassure your family that there is nothing they could’ve done differently and that by transitioning you can finally be true to who you really are. Keep an emphasis on the positive when talking to your family. Transitioning is a good thing, and hopefully they’ll be able to see that.
What happens when your family members won’t listen?
Unfortunately, our society still has a long way to go when it comes to the transgender community. If you come from a religious family, they may not be as accepting as you’d like them to be. Your family may also not be willing to understand the idea of transitioning. If this happens to you, then keep in mind that you are not in the wrong. Your family is. There is nothing “evil” or wrong with you. You are still the same person they’ve known and loved, you’re just going to finally be who you’ve always felt like you were inside. You can suggest family therapy or a support group to help your loved ones accept you. However, if they think transgender cosmetic surgery is a problem and that you can be “cured,” they may not change their minds, but that shouldn’t stop you from being yourself. It’s your family that will miss out on the real you, and they’ll have to live with that fact.