Monday, January 4, 2016

Teens Needs Community and Friends

Your trans teen needs minded friends.  They need to know they aren't alone and to have peers who understand their world.

You, as a parent, may have the most awesome friends and family who are there for you and support you, but you also need to be around other parents who are in a similar situation.  These parents become the group of people where you can share a very specific (happy or sad) story about your Trans teen and they'll say "I hear you!" and they will 100% understand because they've been there, done that. :-)

Look up your local PFLAG chapter. They have meetings, events and information for the LGBTQ community. It started as "Parents & Friends of Lesbians and Gays" but now touts itself as "Parents, Families, Friends, and Allies United with LGBTQ People"
We found our local group had a monthly meeting for teens -
and while the teens met (with an awesome adult facilitator), many of the parents would hang in a different room and chat.

One of the moms from the local PFLAG group decided to stem out and create a specific Trans-focused teen group that meets monthly on a different day. She organized her group via so check on there for potential local groups as well. 

TN joined his GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) club at school and met some really great new friends in his High School.  An added bonus is that each club requires teacher sponsors.  TN joined the GSA in 10th grade and the 2 teacher sponsors happened to be his English and his Social Studies teachers.  His English teacher reached out to me to praise TN for being such a confident kid and being so open about being transgender.  That English teacher was the first teacher to refer to TN by male pronouns and his chosen male name and was incredibly awesome by helping me talk with TN's 11th grade teachers about using male pronouns and his preferred name.   Here's the GSA's national website:

An unlikely way for teens to get support is in their school's Drama club.  A lot of drama kids are naturally unique, quirky, etc.  They tend to be more liberal and accepting in general.   TN doesn't want to act, but likes helping out behind the scenes so he joined the Drama club in 11th grade and made some new friends who are super accepting - and learned a thing or two about stage management at the same time!

There is an organization called The Trevor Project.   They provide crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth.  There's a staffed 24-hour hotline your teen can call, even if they just have questions (they don't have to be in crisis) and the website has a variety of resources including chat room called "Trevor Space" that is vetted and a safe place.

I hope these resources help you finding support for your teen and yourself as you navigate life together!

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