PRACTICAL HELPS and INSIGHTS
Thoughts from a Male to Female Transgender/Cross-dresser
The following articles are written from the perspective of a cross-dresser (male to female). The experiences, feelings and insights expressed here are common to most cross-dressers. They may help in communicating your own feelings to your wife, children or other family members.
Articles posted below:
1. A Typical Story of a Male to Female Cross-dresser: Discusses in a frank and open manner the feelings of a male to female cross-dresser as they grow up and discover that life has not turned out as they thought. Discusses personal feelings, some causes and suggests helps.
2. Who Am I? A Search in the Mirror: Comments on the feelings of gender dysphoria as it relates to personal image.
3. The Struggle of a Married Male to Female Cross-dresser (An Open Letter.): Looks at the thought process of a Christian cross-dresser. Written as three sequential journal entries.
4. Should You Tell?: If your cross dressing is more than just a passing phase or secret sexual expression, and rooted instead in gender identity, then you may want to consider finding a way to give those around you a heads up. This article discusses the when, where, how and why of telling. (13 questions to ask yourself.)
5. How to Begin a Conversation With Your Wife: Offers suggestions on possible approaches to consider when talking to a spouse or significant other.
6. How to Begin a Conversation With Your Children: Offers suggestions on talking with your children about gender identity and your cross dressing.
A Typical Story of a Male to Female Cross-dresser
For as far back as I can remember, I have wanted to be a girl. Early on I learned that this was not acceptable and so for most of my life I’ve struggled with this in secret. I grew up dreaming that if I wished hard enough when I went to sleep, I would awake a girl.
I once was discovered by my parents, and their disapproval only helped to reinforce the need for secrecy. For the most part I think I was happy. I grew up doing typical male things but never really fit in. As I grew, I played sports and did the things most boys did, but it always felt like a struggle. Every chance I got, I would sneak into my sister’s or mom’s bedroom and try on some of their clothing.
In met my wife in high school, and thought that getting married would solve most of my issues. After a short stint in the army, I dove into a career had children and am now looking forward to grandchildren. I’ve been able to keep my desires for the most part hidden and separate from my “normal” life.
I really thought that as I got older my feelings would get easier to manage. Now that I am into mid-life, I have found just the opposite to be true. My desire to be and act feminine is greater than ever.
A couple of times I have dressed up to the nines for Halloween and other party events, and I often think about these times. I really wish I could do more, but I am afraid of the repercussions.
I love my wife and my children, but sometimes I feel like I will go crazy. I have not spoken to my wife or really anybody in an open and honest way regarding my true feelings about myself, because I know that they would disapprove.
So, I continue to do those things expected of me, but I am not sure how much longer I can keep this secret to myself.
If this sounds like you, then you have come to the right place!
There are many factors that go into the feelings we get when we cross dress. A freedom through this self expression is a big one. Giving ourselves permission to express the mannerisms and emotions we normally attach to the “other” gender role is another. Escape from the daily commitments our male selves deal with is also huge.
When we are frustrated over something as basic as our gender, everything in our life will suffer. This dissatisfaction will almost certainly have you looking for comfort elsewhere. This usually means an increased desire to cross dress and participate in those activities that follow.
Most transgender experience a dramatic increase in their desire to cross dress between the ages of 45-65. For most if not all, the idea of sexual reassignment surgery (SRS) seems an unavoidable eventuality, but not a workable reality. The fact is, this is the time when andropause (the male version of menopause begins). During andropause your hormones are changing radically. It is not unlike puberty.
It is important to find a therapist you can trust. Talking with a medical doctor is also a good idea. Remember, you are not alone in this.
Be warned though, many doctors and therapists will want to prescribe drugs or hormones right away. Doctors love drugs. If they think a pill has a chance of doing it for you, then they are more than willing to oblige. This, however, may not be the best course of action. Take the time to weigh all our alternatives before making a radical life changing choice.
Your feelings, although very intense, may change after awhile and you should give them time to run their course.
Your body chemistry may be changing and so will your attitudes as well.
Those who identify as transgender are almost always a combination of both genders. Most in our society don’t allow for deviation outside of strictly male and female gender roles and your attempts to do so will be noticed. Finding a way to express your personhood over your gender is difficult, but worthwhile. Discovering what your niche is along the gender spectrum is what will foster true self-acceptance and peace. What that eventually leads to needs to be unwrapped thoughtfully and carefully.
Try to accept yourself as you are now, and you will be able to make a better choice for the future. “Accepting yourself” can mean a lot of things. What does that mean to you?
Who Am I? A Search in the Mirror.
For a long time, I would look in the mirror and not recognize that the person I saw was me. I’m referring to that man with the beard. At times, I would actually be startled at the reflection in the miror in much the same way as if a stranger had unexpectedly walked into the room.
It bothered me that I could not make friends with my reflection. Something was missing.
One day I purchased a wig, shaved and tried on some makeup. It was amazing to me how different I looked. Suddenly, I saw someone I could relate to staring back at me. The hair and the make-up were not real “glam” but more honest and natural. The reflection in the mirror looked like how I felt inside.
This was amazing to me. How could this image elude such a strong emotional response?
I have since taken steps to incorporate that vision of my inner self into my everyday outward self. Slowly my male persona is looking more like the female I am inside. The beard is gone of course. Now I am working on skin care, wearing some makeup (well blended), gender-neutral looking clothes, coloring my hair, and plucking my eyebrows. The comments I get are mostly positive and that I look younger.
I am attempting to "own" my outward image. My “look” has changed, and my “outlook” has also. This has been great therapy.
Open Letters from a Cross-dresser
The Struggle of a Married Male to Female Cross-dresser (3 Journal Entries)
Entry 1: Struggling Alone
At first glance, I am very passable as a man (laugh). Am I a transsexual? I don’t think so. However I often wished I were a woman. No, I am not gay. In fact, I am fairly happy with my marriage.
I have been involved in Christian service most my life and a crossdresser (cder) all my life. Although I’ve kept cding a secret, I didn’t really see it as “sin” until I was in my teens. Unfortunately, I have spent decades fighting the impulse. I would plead before God to take away my feelings, and sometimes would earn some temporary relief from my desires. However, eventually I come back to the same point I start from. This is very confusing and very depressing. My pillow is often wet from my tears. My attitude of self-condemnation is equally matched by my self-loathing.
I’ve attempted to seek counseling for it but do not know where to go.
I always give time, money and talents to the Church and have witnessed boldly for our Lord. For the most part, it is just this one thing (cding) that I deal with. Aside from that, I appear to be the model Christian man.
I’ve successfully stuffed my feelings and desires a couple of times. I hoped this would please God. Unfortunately, I can only control my urges and desires at a great personal and spiritual cost. It involves shutting down not just those undesirable feelings, but most of my other emotions as well.
As a result, I’ve became rather despondent. I had to shut down so much of my God-given nature in order to control my feelings and urges, that not much is left now. Not only am I miserable, but I am making everyone around me miserable as well.
I still function during the week. I still try and do all the right things, but more and more I am feeling sick. The weekends are spent mostly in bed sleeping or watching TV. I’m very depressed, and my wife keeps pleading with me to get help.
I wish I could tell her what is really going on.
Entry 2: When I finally told her:
I’d been in a major funk for awhile. My wife kept hounding and hounding me trying to get me to open up. So one day through tears, I finally told her what was going on. She looked surprised, but stayed very calm. We talked late into the night.
The next day she called a counselor (for herself) who told her it wasn’t her fault and that I may just be wired that way. I thought this would upset her, but it actually made it easier for her to talk to someone who was aware of transgender issues.
She has been extremely supportive, and has even let me explore my feminine side at home. I know how much of an effort this has been for her. I had tried to tell her a couple of times before by bringing up the subject, but she usually seemed to be turned off by it. I just felt like she would not understand or be receptive. I thought that perhaps she would even leave me. But I suppose it is different now that this is “my issue” and not some faceless stranger’s struggle.
Her willingness to talk to me about it is such a relief. I know it still troubles her, but she loves me and is willing to work this out. I am very blessed to have someone who is so patient.
Entry 3: Looking back, looking forward:
I had fought so hard and so long to deny myself. Now that I have given up, it really doesn’t matter if it is sin anymore. I am too tired to care. Isn’t 40 years of pleading for deliverance enough? If God was not answering my prayers, then perhaps I was praying for the wrong thing.
I know that God is still in my life and will not let go. His answer to my plea has come and it is a very loud “NO! I will not change you!”
He has made me this way for His purposes, not for mine, nor for someone else’s. Now that I can deal openly (at least somewhat) with my gender identity issue, I feel like a large weight has been lifted. Almost like being born again. God has freed me in much the same way as He freed the Apostle Paul from the worry about his thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12).
Is it sin? Some would say “no.” Some would say “yes.” I’m not sure. I just know that I am a sinner regardless, a sinner saved by grace. So I plead with an expectant and thankful heart everyday for my God’s tender mercy.
If I could have changed it I would have. But I see my transgendered orientation now as a gift of grace for which I am thankful. I am aware now more than ever how much the work of the cross means.
Should You Tell?
When a person cross dresses due to gender identity, there is a fundamental shift in their persona. Not only do they look radically different, but they are also perceived as a different person. This is very unsettling for those close to them and often difficult to accept.
We get our "sense-of-self" largely from those around us. We rely on the input of others for our identity: How they treat us, how they define us, and if we are accepted or not. We compare and contrast ourselves to others as well; how do they act compared to us, what level of education do they have compared to us, how does their career compare to ours, and especially what they look like compared to us. They, in turn, get their "sense of self" through input, comparisons and contrasts with us.
Someone who changes (even for a time) something as basic as their gender, changes not only how they are perceived, but also how others perceive themselves. A strong negative reaction to your cross dressing by family, friends and co-workers has a lot to do with how the cross dressing directly affects their identity.
If your cross dressing is more than just a passing phase or secret sexual expression, and rooted instead in gender identity, then you may want to consider finding a way to give those around you a heads up.
Unfortunately, most disclosure happens through accidental discovery, and since there is usually no frame of reference to understand this unexpected information, the resulting reaction is usually negative. Most people think sexual affair, Jerry Springer, or worse. Although negative first impressions can be repaired, it is best to have a positive first impression. A thoughtful approach to disclosure, framed within a context that is understandable, has the potential of working out well. Please see the articles below about telling a spouse and children. The question you should ask yourself is, "Why do I want to tell?"
The when, where and why of telling someone about your gender identity issue.
Telling is by far one of the most scary ideas a closeted cross-dresser ever entertains. It goes against their very fiber and conditioning. For older cross-dressers (cders) they have trained themselves NOT to tell, so the idea of divulging anything is even more frightening.
There is a certain amount of control in having a secret. When you cross dress in secret, you feel as though you have ultimate control over something very personal. No one else has input into what you are doing and therefore no control over you in this area. This has a very real appeal for those who feel as though they have no control over their life. If someone feels they are a "victim of their life", then cross dressing can be an escape from those feelings. You could be saying to yourself, "I may have no control over my situation, but I can always cross dress." If you tell someone, then that control is lost.
However, cross dressing can be addictive, and so therefore how much self-control do you really have? Are you controlling the when, where and the degree of your cross dressing, or is this compulsion controlling you? Although no one has control over you in this regard, do you really have control? If your thoughts constantly turn to cross dressing to the detriment of your other relationships, then you have a serious issue with either your gender identity, or out-of-control sexual impulses. Either way, this situation will only get more extreme. Please consider telling someone you feel you can trust and begin the process of getting your life back. Too much of a good thing is too much.
Before you tell, ask yourself why you want to. If you are planning on living full-time in your new gender-divergent role, then telling them will more than likely be unavoidable. If this is a part-time expression (i.e.: cross dressing) you will have more options on who and when to tell.
What are your motives? (Ask yourself the following)
1. Do I want to "shock" them to illicit a reaction?
2. Am I telling them only so my life will be more convenient?
3. Am I hoping to distance myself from them? (i.e.: If you wish to
leave your wife, but want to shift blame onto her by saying,
"Hey I was honest, but she was not accepting."
4. Am I more excited about my new found freedom or path
than how they will feel about it?
5. Do they really need to know about my gender identity issues?
6. Will it improve or degrade my relationship?
7. How old are they, and will the information hurt them needlessly,
or do they absolutely have to know?
8. Am I trying to make it easier on them or on me?
9. How much should I tell?
10. Do they have a context in which to understand my
words and feelings?
11. Do I wish to be honest and open?
12. Am I planning on blaming them for my "condition?"
13. Am I in a rush? If so, why?
If you answered "yes" to questions 1-4 then you seriously need to rethink your motives. Chances are you have other issues that need to be addressed first, before you "tell all." If you want to shock, damage, or pay back someone by upsetting them with this news, then you should consider repairing the relationship first. If the relationship is over and you need to move on, then state your reasons clearly to them first why you wish to end your relationship. Do not make your cross dressing a lightning rod for the relationship-frustration, and so the big reason to leave.
You need to sort out where your impulses are coming from. If this is just a sexual impulse, then you may want to address that reason first. Do you have a lack of intimacy with your spouse or significant other? Would you like to increase your intimacy? Perhaps you should address that first by seeking out a sex therapist, or just have a heartfelt conversation and clear declaration of your needs with your spouse or significant other.
Make sure your motives are sound, and the information you plan to share is within a context that is understandable. Try to put yourself in the shoes of that person and give only the information they are able to understand and absorb. Speak slowly and let them process what you are telling. Most people can relate to personal feelings. Most family members will listen to you if you talk about cross-dressing and gender identity in terms of your struggle. You can connect on feelings more easily than you can on clinical, medical or scriptural information.
You do not have to tell everything all at once; you can take your time. If they have questions for you, take your time and think about your answers.
Have realistic expectations. Don't assume you will be vilified, nor should you assume that they will fully accept what you are saying. Your guess at how they will respond could be right on or way off. Prepare yourself for the worst case scenario if possible, but hope for the best.
If you plan on telling your spouse and your relationship is solid, chances are they will be more accepting or empathetic than not. If your marriage is rocky already, the news you are transgendered or a cross-dresser usually will not go over well. It could be the "last straw" and become the focal point of an already poor relationship. If your relationships are sound now, chances are this new information will be within the context of a good relationship. If not, the information will just be added to their "list" of why your relationship isn't working. So try and shorten the "list" before you tell them.
The best time to tell is when nothing else is happening. Don't tell on anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas, graduations, funerals, weddings or some other special event. Those you are telling will be the least receptive during these times. When you tell, make sure there is lots of time available to talk about it.
Above all give yourself time. If they are upset, let them vent uninterrupted. Remember the response they give first is mostly emotional. Validate their response and let them be emotional. You have had a long time to think about this, and they may be hearing it for the first time.
Consider talking to a therapist first.
A therapist can give you information about what you are going through in a clinical, yet emotionally supportive fashion. Some advocate having a therapist or knowledgeable friend present when you first tell. This may help to make your case, but could have the result of putting your family member or friend in an adversarial role. They may feel teamed up on and will want to defend themselves.
If you tell them on a one-on-one basis (alone), chances are they will have lots of questions for you anyway. After this initial "telling" they may want to seek out a professional or knowledgeable person's opinion. At this point, you can bring in a therapist or recommend a resource to help them understand.
It is best not to start with, "I have a problem." This will send up red flags and couch the information as completely negative. Instead, try saying, "There is something I want to share with you. I know I can talk to you about anything, and you will be supportive." Starting off in this way should help to affirm your relationship and provide a positive context of trust. If the person begins to freak out at this point, chances are they will not be ready to hear the rest of your speech.
Take them through a brief background about your feelings. Discuss your struggles in terms of feelings. If they can see this is important to you and is something you need to share with them, they should be more responsive and ready to listen. They may even feel good that you trust them so much. Focus in on that.
You will not be able to control the reaction of others, but there are things you can do to help create the best scenario possible. Don't be afraid to share your emotions and let them in.
Although we hopefully have given you some good advice, the response to "telling" is extremely varied. Some will be understanding or even supportive, while others will totally reject the information and perhaps even you. A relationship can become deeper and more fulfilling as a result, or end. There are no guarantees. If you are considering telling and decide you really want or need to, then count the cost first and decide if you are willing to pay the price. For many, the freedom and relief in letting someone in is worth the potential back-lash.
If the thought of telling is still too scary, start off with a person first who does not impact your life directly. A Stephen Minister at your church perhaps, or a therapist could be a good start. I would not go to your head pastor or deacon first. They have their own agenda and will not usually be concerned with you, but with how this will affect the church congregation. Choose someone you think will be open. Perhaps a clergy from a church in your area that is accepting of those in the LGBT community is someone you could talk with or will know of someone. Going it alone is never the optimal choice. You should be able to find someone safe to share this with who will be supportive. There is support for you out there. You are not alone.
Many congregations are becoming aware of transgender issues. As a starting point, here is the web site "Institute for Welcoming Resources," a list of churches that are welcoming to those in the LGBT community. If one is in your area, they could be a good resource for counseling and affirmation: http://www.welcomingresources.org/links.htm
How to Begin a Conversation With Your Wife
I am married with children. My wife and I are both very active in church. Although we are close, we have never truly discussed my struggle with gender identity. She is aware that I have tried on women’s clothing, but does not know it is more than just that. Once we saw a Jerry Springer show on cross-dressing, and she thought those people were ridiculous. She has never been very open to the idea. On the other hand, she is not fond of the macho-man type, and has always appreciated my softer side. She likes that I am not the typical husband. How do I start a conversation about gender with her?
There is no single “right way” to approach your spouse. There are a few Biblical scriptures that talk about transgender and gender issues. Some of the teachings of Christ deal directly with the transgender issue. These are helpful in the long-term, however, perhaps not the best approach in an initial discussion.
One way that does not work well, is to “surprise” her with a presentation of your female alter-ego. Don't sit her and the children down in the living room and then disappear for two hours, only to return as “Betty.” This is rarely received well.
Coming up with a list of justifications and reasons may not be the best approach either. Finger pointing and ultimatums do not work well.
Whatever objections you may encounter will be fueled by emotions. It is usually best to talk about your personal feelings first. Your wife’s first reaction will be more emotional than cerebral. If the two of you are close, a frank discussion of your feelings (frustrations) and struggles would be in order. You have dealt with this for a long while now, and she is more than likely just finding out. Your first talk should be a time of sharing your feelings.
However, rather than launching into your feelings, you could open up the topic by asking her if she has ever dealt with her gender issues. These could be frustrations with roles at home or on the job, or wanting experiences that are normally outside of her gender for our culture. Talk with her about her feelings about overtly “macho” men. Share in her ideas and feelings and build on them by relating how you feel.
Although you may have a lot to share, this "telling" is not about you, but rather about them. Start somewhere on common ground and build slowly on that. You will have to pray and feel your way through this. Give the process some time.
How to Begin a Conversation With Your Children
I think my children should know about my cross-dressing. How do I go about telling them? What should I tell them?
The first rule of thumb is, "share - don't scare!
When you tell someone about your gender identity issues and cross-dressing, (for those who are married with children) the first question they will ask is, "How does your wife feel about it?" Next will be, "How are your children handling it?"
You will very seldom be asked, "How are you handling it?" People are keenly interested in your family, not so much about you. If your wife and children are "OK" with your cross-dressing then most others will be as well. Even if your family is just barely "OK" with it, most of those who would try and counsel you away from your activities will back off a bit.
It is important to create a context in which your wife and children feel comfortable with your gender identity exploration. Children are mostly interested in themselves. They want to know that Dad will be there for them no matter what. Chances are your children have never heard the term, "transgender" or if they have, do not know what it means. They have heard the term, "cross-dresser" but that usually brings up images of a funny-looking hairy man dressed in a poodle skirt (more clown-like), or those we see on the Jerry Springer show. Either way, their response to a blunt declaration will most likely be taken in a negative context.
What you need to do first is provide a positive clear context. The information given should be age appropriate and should relate to how they feel. Use words that they can relate to and understand. Talk about your feelings. Ask how they feel now and share how you felt at their age. Above all, do not dress in front of them until the context is set. Halloween can be a fun event to take advantage of. The idea of a costume is readily understandable.
A child is able to absorb information within an environment in which they feel safe and secure. Any conversation about cross-dressing or gender identity must begin with them and end with them. This is not about you.
Gender polarity . . . negative female images . . . laughable transgendered "role models" . . . unfocused fear of the unknown, are all ingrained in our culture. To remove all these obstacles may seem like a daunting task. But it is not impossible to remove at least some of these barriers, or at least redefine them.
Educating your children will take some time. It could take a few months to prepare them to hear your information. Please be patient. Here are some tips:
1. If you currently use phrases like, "Don't throw like a girl," or "Stop acting like a sissy," stop using them immediately. This creates a negative image of women, and your professed desire to be more like a woman will be viewed as negative as well.
2. Don't use sexist language in your speech. Avoid terms like fireman, or policeman. Use instead the term "person" to help expand the way in which they view gender and gender roles.
3. Discuss the gender spectrum with them. (When you talk to them, get at their eye level. Look them in the eye and talk with confidence. Body language is very important. Try to be comfortable. Don't rush. You may even want to begin after dinner, and while you are eating desert.)
Explain that on one end of the spectrum is the male. On the other end is the female. Use this basic sort of spectrum:
Male 100% . . . . . 50% (balanced) 50% . . . . 100% Female.
Tell them that all of us have both genders in us. Very few people are 100% anything. Ask them if they know anybody who is either 100% male, of 100% female. This will open up a discussion as to what defines a woman and a man. Let them tell you what the differences are. Children are usually very aware of gender roles. Use their information to help define these gender roles. If you get stuck on this, ask them if they know anybody at school who is "all boy" or "all girl." Then ask them where they would fit on the gender spectrum. Your son may feel compelled to say that he is 100% boy, or your daughter 100% girl. If you think this will happen, tell him first that you are somewhere in the middle. They will want to follow your lead somewhat. (Even if you at this time in your life feel that you are 100% female, you should not say this.) Go back in time and try to relate to them at their current age level. Tell them how you felt when you were their age. Let them know that you often preferred to play with the girls rather than the boys. If you are honest with yourself, I'm sure you will be somewhere between 40% and 60% one or the other. If your child insists on saying they are 100%, try and redefine the terms for them.
The point of this exercise is to "relate" to your children, not to show them how different you are. After you redefine your terms, let them reevaluate themselves. Do not "tell" them what you think, but let them tell you. After they have settled on their place on the spectrum, then tell them where you think you fit. Do not go into a lengthy explanation as to why. Just let the information sit out there. If they have questions, keep the answers about yourself brief. Feel free, however, to discuss the information about them in length and end the sessions with positive affirmations about what they have told you. For them to admit this to you, is not unlike your coming out to them. This is risky for them and you need to affirm your acceptance of them. Make this about them first, and about you last.
As time goes on, try to bring up this idea of the gender spectrum as it relates to others. Talk about those you see on TV or around town. Say something like, "Now he is 100% boy." -or- "I would guess that they are 50-50." Make a game of it.
4. Continue the dialog. Children are mostly interested in how things will affect them. Ask them how they feel about themselves. Are they doing well in school? How are their friends treating them? Do they feel like they fit in? Share how you felt in school and some of the problems you had. Tell them a story about your past. Tell it from the perspective of someone who is their age. Talk mostly about your feelings. Ask them if they ever feel this way. Children know that feelings are neither wrong or right.
5. Look for opportunities to affirm those in untypical gender roles. Women in typically men's roles. Men in typically women's roles. Dignify the typical role of women as much as you can. Tell them about women you respect and why.
6. Be their friend. Let them in on your life. Tell them what you are doing and why you are interested in it.
7. Do this for several months. The objective is to try to "uncondition" them to what our society has been training them.
8. Dress up for Halloween, or a costume party of some sort. Have FUN with it. Let them help you. Talk about how fun this is, and that you enjoy being someone different. Ask who they would like to be, if they could be someone else. Take advantage of this holiday, it is a real gift.
9. Talk about how much you enjoyed your time during Halloween. Tell them that you sometimes have other opportunities to dress up and go out, and that it is a lot of fun. Keep it positive and light-hearted. No details should be given.
10. Ask them if they have any "other identities" that they use. What is the name that they use when they are online? They may hesitate, but let them answer. Most children have some sort of name that they use when playing online games, or that they use as a password, or as an email name. Ask them why they use that name. Share your fem-name with them and tell them that you use it while you are online, just like they use their name. Don't be afraid of this. Make it age specific in terms of how you relate this to them. It can be as simple as, "I use a fem name so that no one will know my real name. I like the fem name because it gives me a chance to relate to people.
11. Let them get used to these ideas. Let them become commonplace. Hint at the fact that you have been working on your female persona, and you are getting much better at it. You will have to show them someday. Wear some gender neutral clothing around the house if you can. DO NOT WEAR YOUR WIFE'S CLOTHING! Children will think that is weird.
12. Involve them in your gender exploration, in a non-threatening manner. If you are honest with them, there is a greater chance that they will be more honest with you when they have issues of their own to share.
1. Don't give too much information all at once. Remember, they are only interested in how it affects them. Keep it light-hearted and short. Children may give you support, but do not come to them looking for it, nor should you solicit it.
2. Avoid unwanted discovery. It is best to inform rather than be discovered. Having a child "find" pictures or emails is rarely ever good. It is best to show them information and explain it in a non-threatening way.
3. Don't be selfish. Children need to feel safe. Make sure that they know they are loved.
4. Remind them about confidences. It is important, within a family, to feel safe and so some of the things we tell each other are just for the family to know. Do not use the word "secret", it carries with it the idea of shame. However, if they do tell their friends, usually this will be a positive thing, because your children will present it in a positive light.
5. Never panic. When someone learns of your T-nature, just smile and share with enthusiasm your freedom and interest.
6. Don't shock. Gathering the family together for a general announcement is fatal 99% of the time. Having "Bernie" disappear for two hours only to come back as "Bernice" is a terrible way to confront your loved ones with this important news. It is lazy and selfish. If you wish to do this, Jerry Springer will be glad to book you.
7. Don't wait to begin. Even if you do not plan on telling your children directly, making them aware of gender issues is a positive step. Begin giving them information now and reinforce that information when you can. If they end up "finding out" information on your CDing by accident, they will have a good framework established in which to understand and process it.
8. Above all, don't forget to pray!
Light in the Closet, Attn: Randi Klein, 1465 Civic Ct., Suite 610, Concord, CA 94520
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