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Ask Allison: My daughter says she is trans and I'm worried about how to best support her

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Q My daughter is 15 and says she is trans. I suspected that she was gay, but I was shocked when she came to me telling me that she is a boy. I want to support her - but I am so worried that it is a fad or that she is being unduly influenced by friends she spends time with online. I am terrified that she will ruin her life and equally terrified that I will ruin her life and our relationship if I handle things wrong. Please, what should I do? Where do I turn?

A Your daughter will always be your child and you her mother, however she identifies. The first transition is sitting with the enormity of what this all means to you as a mother. What are you thinking or feeling about what this may mean for you and your relationship with your child? There can be an unspoken grief as a mother as you imagine the possibility of losing your daughter as you know her, and what that means for both of your futures.

It is really important to check in with and discover whose grief it is, and it is yours. You may have dreamed and had hopes of the type of life she would have had in the traditional sense of seeing your daughter married and having a family. This may still happen, but possibly not as you envisaged. It is this loss and all it entails that you could sit gently with deep compassion and listen to your feelings. Being a parent is so intricate and intense. Separating your own feelings from theirs is a pivotal first step.