Gender: A Wider Lens
Gender: A Wider Lens
48 - When an Adult You Love Transitions

48 - When an Adult You Love Transitions


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When an adult comes out as trans, it might be a liberating moment in their lives that has felt long overdue. Sometimes, however, the sudden nature of the identity change can feel destabilizing to their loved ones. In this episode, Sasha and Stella discuss the many complex factors in adult transition. Are there elements of liberation, freedom, and independence, or might indoctrination or identity crisis be playing a role? And how can families try to stay connected if the adult begins throwing up rigid barriers which create distance and estrangement?


Love Lives Here: A Story of Thriving in a Transgender Family, by Amanda Jette Knox

Somebody to Love: A Family Story, by Alexandra Heminsley

Sex Changes: A Memoir of Marriage, Gender, and Moving, by Christine Benvenuto

Extended Notes:

  • It’s tricky for everybody involved when you know somebody who is leaving their “old self” to become a radically and visually different person.

  • Let’s talk about the demographics of those who transition. What’s happening if someone transitions in their late 20s?

  • What’s going on in a man’s mind when he transitions at middle age?

  • For many parents, it’s a complete shock that their child wants to change genders. And since they’re no longer living at home, the child doesn’t want to have an “open discussion” about it.

  • When children tell their parents they’re switching majors after three years, that’s a huge shock to parents too! Parents want to talk to their children about what’s going on.

  • When we’re terrified we can act very intensely.

  • Some children don’t want to talk to their parents about it because they don’t want their fragile or uncertain opinion to be swayed.

  • When someone decides to transition later in their life, they are typically men.

  • Stella shares a story of how a man transitioned shortly after his wife had a baby. It appeared he was envious that he couldn’t care for the child in that feminine way.

  • There is a community out there for women who were married to men that have now transitioned.

  • Sometimes people do strange things just to keep the family together.

  • Parents can sometimes feel “abused” by their transitioning teen. What does this typically look like? How do you spot it?

  • For some households, it might make sense to let go with love, or else you and everyone in your family unit will crumble.

  • Watching someone transition is a really disorientating process. It can also really affect younger siblings.

  • There are two sides to the coin. Some children transition okay and continue to lead happy productive lives. Other children get sicker and sicker in their medical journey and the parents (who didn’t want this in the first place) are the only ones who are there to pick up the pieces.

  • What are some low-pressure ways to reach out to your child and communicate with them?

  • It’s really sad when politics get in the way of a family dynamic and those ties end up being completely broken.

  • Can estranged parents/trans children reconnect again?

  • Remember, the relationship is the most important thing you have.

  • When does it make sense to completely cut off ties?

This podcast is partially sponsored by ReIME, Rethink Identity Medicine Ethics:

Learn more about our show:

Gender: A Wider Lens
Gender: A Wider Lens
Therapists Stella O’Malley and Sasha Ayad explore diverse perspectives through a psychological lens, fostering open dialogue on gender identity, transition, and the transgender umbrella. Their work with gender dysphoric clients and unique experiences yield an informed outlook delving into gender's psychological nuances. Interviews with clinicians, academics, transgender individuals, parents, detransitioners, and others touched by gender provide varied insights and intimate inquiry into the taboo yet relevant topic.