Ask Amy: How do I support my trans son and stick to my church?

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Dear Amy: I have a 17-year-old daughter who identifies as a man.

I’m okay with this. I am a Christian and attend a traditional Methodist church.

I am involved in many church events, but my child is not.

I’m not sure how the church will react to my child’s transition. I also do not know how my side of the family will react. I already had a guy from church to comment that my teenager was wearing a tuxedo to the prom.

I told people she does not make dresses, which is true.

My question is – how do I support my daughter / son and stick to my church?

Confused mother: If your child identifies as a man, then he is not a “daughter / son” – but a son.

This gender transition is also a transition for you, and you should continue down this path using your child’s favorite pronouns.

As for your church, this may seem like a complex doctrinal or cultural issue, but it is not!

You have a child. There are other churches.

I suggest you take the time to become very familiar with your child’s gender reassignment and then share this knowledge with friends, family, and other congregations over time. You do not have to make a big announcement, but acknowledge the truth as you would make other aspects of your child’s life to people who are interested. (The “Tux” comment was an opportunity for you to say, “The reason my teenager did not wear a ball gown is because they identify as a man.”)

People can fail you – but be sweet – do not let your faith fail you!

If people in the church react unkindly, you can assure them that you will ask them to open their hearts. Then you should look for another place to worship.

Pflag.org offers great resources and advice for parents of transgender people.

Dear Amy: You gave advice to a woman (” What if”), Who was traumatized when a suicidal man deliberately ran into the path of her car.

You pointed out similarities between her experience and the train staff’s experiences involved in these tragic events.

I’m a locomotive engineer. I got a 20-year-old boy to jump in front of my train. The rational side of my brain knows it was not my fault, but the emotional shock is not to be bypassed.

It just kept playing over and over in my head for a while.

It gets better with time. She can be sure after a long time, the emotional damage will disappear.

Engineer: I hope that you – and anyone who has been traumatized by an event like this – will seek therapeutic help to get you over the symptoms of your trauma.

An abundance of recent research into the persistent effects of trauma has led to some new treatments that survivors like you could find useful and curative.

Time helps heal wounds. But treatment plus time is even better.

Your professional organization or union should refer you to useful resources.

Dear Amy: I understand the anxiety of people who seek to contact (or are contacted by) previously unknown DNA relatives. I received an email about three years ago from my biological father.

I was not sure what to do as my mother always told me he did not want anything to do with me.

At the time, I was 59 and he was 79. I decided to say yes.

During our first conversation, my biological father apologized for not being a part of my life and took responsibility for his actions.

My parents were 18 when I was conceived. They were young and scared and made decisions they regretted.

However, it has been a blessing to text and talk on the phone and to meet in person.

He has sent a few small handmade gifts to me and his first great-grandchild.

Overall, it has been great to get to know him.

My suggestion to people struggling with this is: Do not miss the opportunity, it could turn out well. If not here’s a new product just for you!

Surprised: I have mentioned this many times (especially lately), but the ubiquity of DNA testing comes basically for everyone.

Each of us should try to anticipate the possibility of being contacted by DNA relatives. I agree with you that this provides opportunities, but many people are naturally on guard because there are risks to these connections as well. It’s not always easy to just walk away.

© 2022 by Amy Dickinson Distributed by Tribune Content Agency

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