As Member Support Coordinator, I regularly check in with facilitators and make sure things are going okay in their groups, and on occasion the news sounds good enough to blog about!
I had a sit down (over video call) this week with a facilitator to talk about the online parents group started this January. Where we have parents in a variety of areas but not very many of them at this time it has really helped having one online group, meaning that instead of two smaller groups in different locations they have one group.
Our parents group includes those with younger children as well as adult children, some of whom have known about their child being trans+ for longer than others, some come to the group more accepting than others and some struggling more than others. It’s a space for them to talk through their experiences as a parent openly and without judgement – even if they are talking about something they may feel guilty about or that might shock some.
None of the parents group members have knowingly met a trans+ person before, so having speakers in to talk about their transition has been an eye opener for many. The speakers talk about their transition and what they wished their parents had known or done differently at the time. It has been really interesting to see the parents engage with this and be better able to see their child’s side of things as well as their own – the exact same thing we get when we have parents talk about their side to trans+ members. The speakers have been so open to talking about their experiences, and the hope is that this means that the parents are less reliant on asking their children, taking some pressure off the relationship.
So three months in, the group members have gelled a bit, are talking more freely with each other, their acceptance has “clearly grown” and some are talking about their relationships with their children feeling a little less strained.
The facilitator talked about how they all seem to be appreciating having the space to talk to other people who ‘get it’ and are there because they want to support their child – no matter if that is because they don’t know all of the information that they think they should or if they are against the idea of their child being trans+ at all when they arrive. They’re all finding different things difficult, but being able to vent, share and receive support from others in similar positions is helpful for all of them. Many of them knew no other parents going through anything like this.
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