Increasing people are aware of transgender people. More parents are aware that one day their son may turn around and say “Actually, I’m a girl”. And that’s great. Most people are familiar with this narrative:
Susan finally gets up the courage to tell ‘her’ parents that ‘she’ actually identifies as male. From now on, he wants male pronouns used, to be called Adam, and wants to begin transitioning. At first, it may be confusing and even painful. As Adam progresses through transition and his outside begins matching his inside and you get to know your child again, it becomes easier to accept him for himself.
I want to talk about a different narrative. One that isn’t really acknowledged. One that can be much harder to handle.
Susan finally gets up the courage to tell ‘her’ parents that ‘she’ actually identifies as male. But she doesn’t intend to transition. There could be any number of reasons for it, but at least right now he doesn’t feel it’s worth it. He doesn’t intend to come out to everyone, but he needs people who know him for who he truly is and spaces that he’s completely accepted as himself.
It’s so hard to get information about statistics when it comes to transgender people. I can’t tell you how often this actually happens. However, from my experience running a support site for non-op trans people, I think that we are far more common than most would think. And given how more people are aware of transgender people and more transgender people are coming out younger, I imagine that this scenario will begin to come up more often.
Right now, I doubt many parents will ever actually know this about their children. Most people hide it even from their parents- cultivating safe spaces with friends, partners, and chosen family. But parents being able to provide that safe space and being able to accept their child for who they are, despite their outer appearance, can be invaluable. It’s also very difficult. It’s still hard for many people to accept that a trans woman who begins to “look like” a woman actually is one, it’s much harder to accept someone who “looks like” a man is actually a woman. I hope this is something more people can work on being able to do, though.