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Found out relative is a transsexual(16 Posts)
I'm not utterly shocked and I have nothing against transsexuals, but I feel really ignorant and confused and I don't really know how to react or act. I'm socially awkward at the best of time, and there don't seem to be a lot of social conventions for this occasions to follow...
He's - damn it SHE's - just told us she's changed her name and wants to be referred as a "her" and by the new name from now on. I think she's really brave and I wish her all the happiness in the world, but I'm already struggling with this simple task of calling her "her". Please tell me I'll get used to this; hopefully before offending her horribly!
I really haven't known what to say to her about the whole subject, so all I've said is that I like her new name... I feel so clueless!
A person's gender is a fundamental part of how we see them. It's not easy to change a name or a pronoun in how we refer to a person we've known well.
But having said that, you've got no option but to do your very best to try. This isn't about you, it's about her.
She's made an enormously brave decision which puts a bit of social awkwardness into the shade.
Just try to think of her feelings and put yours to the side. Not easy, but it's the only way.
You'll be fine - in no time at all, using 'her' and 'she' will become second nature to you. When you see her, you don't have to ask her about the gory details - just give her a hug, and ask her how she's doing generally, and take your cue from how much she wants to talk about it.
I would ask her directly about these things. Be supportive but admit it's challenging for you. She's been getting her head around it for a lot longer than you so she may have advice and would probably appreciate your honesty.
I know someone who's 19 year old dd became his 19 year old DS recently. It's taken them all time but they're getting there and things are no longer awkward.
Thanks all. runningonwillpower is right of course, it's about her, not my own little awkwardness. We're not really a "let's hug and talk about it" kind of family unfortunately; I can see this must be huge for her - and maybe explains why she's become a bit estranged in the past years. But I've always liked her very much and we share some interests and have been close before.
I'm actually going to have a google and read about this a little, just to counteract the cluelessness. Not the physical stuff so much (I wouldn't ask gory details about anyone's anatomy etc unless they started talking to me about such things) but maybe the emotional and practical side, and hopefully I'll have my head around this soon.
You might find the Gendered Intelligence website useful, and the NHS site here
It does take a while to get used to. Six months later I still slip up regularly and yet this is someone I see almost every day.
I dont think you need to say anything at all about it, unless you find you do have something to ask her, in which case, do ask her. I think she would probably rather you asked directly, and honestly about it. If you make a slip up of any kind, e.g. name - apologise, correct if necessary and move on.
She will come up against big prejudices in every day life, so your kindness and acceptance will be a big relief. I doubt she will be so naive as to think that everyone around her will find it easy and hopefully will be as accepting of that as hopefully folk will be accepting of her new/correct gender.
You sound very supportive, which is a great start. Don't beat yourself up if it takes you a little while to get your head around this, sooner or later it'll just feel normal. If there's anything specific you're unsure about either talk to her or consult google.
I have a few transsexual friends, and as far as I can tell, untreated it's a horrible condition one wouldn't wish on one's worst enemy. Treated, they become much, much happier. So there's that much to be happy about: a member of your family is taking a step away from a miserable existence toward living a proper and fulfilling life.
Yeah, from time to time you'll slip and use the wrong pronoun. Don't beat yourself up over it. One poor lass I know has parents who flat out refuse to use any feminine parts of speech about her - to her face no less - and won't even use her new name. The occasional honest mistake isn't going to be a big deal.
Friendliness and lack of prejudice is all you need, here. If you can manage it, holding her coat while she deals with the prejudice she's going to face would be a great help.
Thanks for these very helpful comments, and thanks for the link postman.
It feels very sad indeed to think how she must have been struggling with this for a long time, maybe even from childhood? Hopefully she'll be happier from now on, and won't have to face too much prejudice.
I actually had a friend in uni who was a crossdresser, and that never fazed me. I guess because I always knew that about him, whereas this is new. Sadly he faced a lot of crap, and even got beaten up quite badly; it's still often such a nasty world for anyone daring to be different.
I just actually realised - I've got a female cousin now! I always always wished I had one of those when we were all growing up. Way too many boys in our family.
I have a family member who announced a couple of years ago that he intended to become she. To be honest, as soon as she told us it all made utter sense, the man we knew was clearly never comfortable in his own skin. The woman she has become (and she's now post op) is confident, happy and secure, despite some very negative reactions from other family members. She was very relaxed about the fact that in the early days we often called her by her previous male name, completely by accident of course, and still at times I have to correct myself if I say 'he' instead of 'she'. This is not because I have any problems whatsoever, like you I think she is very, very brave, but because I have known the male version all my life, and old habits die hard!
It'll become natural to refer to her properly, I promise you. And I'll bet she would be more than willing to sit and chat with you about your concerns. I know when it happened with my cousin she was just so relieved that the wider family weren't going to physically attack and abuse her (unlike her immediate family, but that's another, very upsetting, story) that she was delighted to answer any questions. I think she was so happy just to be able to talk about what she had been hiding for 40 years.
If it's any help, my best friend came out as transgender a few years back and has just completed his breast surgery. It takes a long time to get used to it but you will. My friend likes to be asked questions and understood when we got the name wrong, he said after that it only bugged him when we made a song and dance about referring to him as a her or she etc.
How lovely to hear funtime that she's now so confident and happy.
Thanks also ggw.
It seems there's nothing Wikihow doesn't know.
Just from reading even the little I've had time to read and all these comments, I'm feeling much more chilled, and silly making such a big deal about my own awkwardness. I'm sure we'll work it all out, and she's still gonna be the same person, with hopefully still the same quirky interests, which always lead to the most interesting convos.
I dated a transwoman for a while, who presented as male when we started going out and then transitioned during the relationship.
If she's got any sense, she'll be understanding about the fact it is a big change for you to get your head around, and that you might slip up sometimes on the pronouns
Honestly, if you told her the things you said her your OP, I'm sure she'd be really pleased you are being so supportive, and talking about it openly rather than avoiding the subject awkwardly as so many folk do. Just keep communicating and be honest and kind. Your relative is lucky to have you.
Transgender is the better term as opposed to transsexual - it's their gender presentation that's different, not biological sex. There are lots of good resources on supporting newly transitioned/transitioning trans people on the internet, GLAAD has really good ones. As long as you don't make a big deal of slip-ups and just apologise and move on, you'll be fine
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