Beyond the Basics
Insider Insights for Cisgender Family Members: Understanding and Supporting Your Transgender Teens and Young Adults
Most family members identify as cisgender and as a result, are not always familiar with the experiences their trans youth will encounter. In addition, much of the material currently available focuses on the basics of gender dysphoria, gender identity and expression, coming out as trans, and initial decisions about social and medical transitions. This workshop moves beyond these concepts and tasks to explore the day-to-day challenges trans youth encounter as they navigate their lives “post-transition.” Areas addressed include: shifting friendships with peers of birth-assigned and affirmed genders, navigating adolescent developmental tasks such as dating, relationships, and sexual intimacy while trans, intersecting aspects of identity for trans youth of color, persistent dysphoria and body image, recovery from internalized shame, and the normative longing to simply be a “normal teenager.” Vignettes from Elijah’s personal experience and clinical practice are used to illustrate the emotional nuances of these experiences, facilitate parental comprehension of these unique challenges, and thus offer more effective affirmation and support.