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Parent of a non-binary child

Anthony1
Community Member

Hi,

My daughter has come out as non-binary and it would be good to get some feedback and support from other parents who can relate. While I support this change in my child's life going forward, it has also been a bit sad for me, while at the same time totally fine. I don't care about my child's decision, but there is a sense of leaving their old identity behind (age is 14) and a sense of dislocation on my part in terms of understanding the mechanics. My child's mother rejects our child's decision and refuses to even entertain the possibility. The hardest thing has been remembering the they/their and change of name, which can play havoc on my fifty year old brain and also because I'm obviously used to calling them by another name.

Anyway, if there are any support groups or someone that is in the same boat, it would be good to share some experiences. Thanks!

5 Replies 5

Croix
Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Anthony1~

Welcome back, I think I first read your posts 5-6 years ago. I think it is a tribute to the relationship you have with your offspring that they(singular) felt able to tell you of their being non-binary. Typically at 14 any young person is finding out more about themselves -and more about other people too.

I do not think I'd be over worried about the mechanics (or wardrobe) involved, it will sort out. As for reverting to the childhood name, I'm sure your can explain it still represents a time when they were loved, and you, unlike her mother, simply slip.

Frankly I think the big worry is her mother's non acceptance of the situation. Children are not extensions of their parents but persons in their own right, and may be very different, not always much the same as the parents. Strong parental disapproval of a natural process can be most harmful.

While at 14 parents are still legally responsible for their children this is more in practical terms, food, shelter, education, medical availability and love. Sexual matters need to be treated with a very light hand.

Do you think her mother might be open to counseling. Being separate it might require ingenuity for you get the suggestion to her.

As for support groups, local knowledge though your school, council, library and doctor may help, as might the following brief national general list which may be regarded as a starting point for inquiries

www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/resources-support/support-groups/

It is a hard time for you and your offspring, does your other child accept this like you and acts as a freind?

You will always be welcome here to discuss matters

Croix

geoff
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Anthony, a good comment.

I can't relate to this situation but if either of my children decided to change how they felt, then I would have no objection, that's the path they want to take and no matter how hard I tried to reverse their decision, the more determined they would become.

There are names that suit both females and males, and even if she was heterosexual, there's a chance you might not agree with who she has decided to be her partner and worry about her situation, so has the circumstances changed at all, unfortunately, your wife has a different opinion, but that won't change your daughter, she will slowly become accustomed to her situation, and will most likely seek your advice when needed.

These are some sites that might help you:

-monashhealth.org › Services › Gender Clinic › Resources

-gendercentre.org.au › support-groups › non-binary

-gendercentre.org.au › support-groups › partners

-www.pgdc.org.au

There is the opportunity that a different side may appear, perhaps one you may not have ever seen before.

Best wishes.

Geoff.

Anthony1
Community Member

Hi Geoff, thanks for the reply and your links.

Your last comment is very true, I guess I've been focusing on what I feel like I'm losing (which is nothing, "losing is the wrong term), rather than the side of my child who now may show themselves. Thanks.

Anthony1
Community Member

Hi Croix, thanks for your reply.

Yes the big problem is my ex-wife refuses the idea. She gets angry at both of us over so little, and is impossible to talk to about anything that she doesn't like the idea of. I understand that she is upset about the change, but it is at the point where even the therapist we have all been talking to has given up on her changing her views. We are at the point where it feels like walking into a minefield at how she will react to so many things. Anyway, thanks again.

Croix
Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Anthony1

You will watch your children grow and as needed be their protector.

Your ex is placing your offspring in a bad position, saying her/his feelings are wrong. I guess it is up to you, her/his friends and counselor to convince her/him it is perfectly OK. Sadly she/he will find there are bigoted and close minded people in the world, it is unfortunate her mother is one of them.

Maybe you can help per see her/his mother as the small person she is, help her/him lose the feeling parents are authorities, always right. Some are both wrong, thoughtless and cruel. I would expect the fact you separated would help explain this.

Croix