When I first came out to my parents as transgender, at around fourteen, I had a lot of unspoken questions: What did wanting to be a girl mean, when the whole world thought I was a boy? Could I ever be happy? How would this change our relationships? And, perhaps most important of all, how would transitioning from being a boy to being a girl work? What would that process be like?
I was lucky in some ways. I didn’t wonder whether my parents would kick me out of the house, or stop supporting me, or beat me, or any of the horrible things that happen all-too-often when trans youth come out to the adults in their lives. And when I said those terrifying words, “I think I want to be a girl,” my parents responded with love and compassion. My mom said, “We will love you, no matter what.” My dad said, “We’ll love you, whatever you are. As long as you’re not a Republican.” (The source of my own sense of humor was never a big mystery.) However, they didn’t know how to address my unspoken questions — or even know that those questions existed.