One of the things that comes up frequently in our groups is the speeds at which people experience acceptance of transition.
Where we support both the person transitioning and those close to them, we hear from both sides that acceptance can be an issue. It seems to often be related to time.
Trans+ people: “why can’t they just accept that I’m trans?!”
Parent/partner/sibling/etc: “why can’t they just accept that I haven’t got my head around it yet?!”
Neither side is ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’ – this is about needing to communicate and build empathy.
The trans+ person has gone through a lot of internal process (and often struggle) to reach the point where they can start to accept that they are trans+ and start to tell others.
Meanwhile, for many people close to them, it’s a bolt from the blue when they’re told!
I often point this out to people, and sometimes that’s the moment when they can reassess the relationship strain. They can gain understanding of the situation, feel a little more empathy, and be more relaxed about it.
Acceptance is a part of a process for everyone involved. Seeing other people processing something so key to who you are can be hard.
Trans+ people want others around them to accept them.
Parents need time to accept that what they thought their child’s life would be is not the same now.
Partners need time to accept that their partner is going through some changes (and then both need to work out if their relationship can continue).
Siblings need time to accept that their sibling is not quite the brother/sister they thought they were.
Children need time to accept that their parent is not what they expected.
This isn’t exclusive to trans+ people and coming out, but it is a common feature in these relationships.
Maybe you have a relationship you find difficult because you’re on different pages. Does thinking about it this way help you? Would it help them?