My Teen Might Be Transgender. What Do I Do Next?

April 11, 2024

POV: You’re a parent or guardian and your kid is becoming curious about their gender or has already come out. Maybe you yourself haven’t had much exposure to queer and transgender communities, but you still want to be as supportive as possible as your kiddo navigates their gender identity.

This blog post is for you! I am a nonbinary/trans therapist who’s here to support you as you support your kiddo. 

Gender exploration is not a new trend. It is simply something that has existed throughout history and is coming to the forefront now because we now have the language to describe how we feel about ourselves and our place in society. Your child/pre-teen/teen is following a long tradition of getting curious about themselves, their feelings, and how they want to exist in this world.

You are already a compassionate parent! You don’t have to be deeply knowledgeable about the ins and outs of the queer community to be a safe haven for your child, pre-teen, or teen. 

Here is a short guide to help you get started on your parental journey of having a queer/trans/nonbinary kid. 

For beginners:

  • Keep being your supportive and authentic self! You don’t have to know everything or be perfect parents in order to respect your teen’s wishes and keep them safe. Let your kiddo know through words and actions that you continue to love them unconditionally, that they can always come to you with questions and concerns, and that you are ready to go on this journey of self-exploration with them. Let your pre-teens and teens know that you are always on their team and that you’re ready to learn about something so important to them.  
  • Ask them what their experience means to them personally! You may be surprised to hear how much your kiddo has thought about their gender, what knowledge about gender they’ve gained, and who they see as their heroes. 
  • Listen to her/him/them with an open mind and sense of curiosity, not judgment. Like all pre-teens and teens, they may not know much about how to be in the world as their authentic self yet and will be learning alongside you and with your guidance.
  • Use whatever pronouns your kid wants to try out, even if it changes day to day. You might need practice when your teen asks you to use certain pronouns. Practice using their pronouns on pets or household items. I’ve practiced using pronouns on my Roomba!
  • Educate yourself on some of the terminology this community uses (this resource is helpful []). Your kid may not know most of these words, or they may know all of them. Language is changing all the time, and keeping up with the lingo can help you encourage your kid to find the words and identities that fit for them.
  • Get help! Find a therapist for you, your teen, and/or your whole family to have a safe container for everyone to explore, get curious, and learn how to be supportive of one another as your kiddo or teen explores their gender identity (Contact our intake line to work with me, if you’re interested in therapy for yourself or your kiddo)

For parents looking for a little bit more:

  • Connect your child to transgender resources, events, and spaces or organizations. Healing and exploring themselves in a community is just as important as them exploring on their own. Does their school have any extracurricular programs or groups that support LGBTQ+ kids? Are there any therapy groups in Austin for trans teens? Do you or your kid know of any other families or kids that are in the LGBTQ+ community?
  • You’re not alone! Seek out local, state, and national communities that support parents of trans and queer children and teens (see some great ones below).
  • Find developmentally appropriate literature and videos that can help your kid learn more about trans/queer people and their communities.
  • Keep learning! Read books, listen to podcasts, and watch YouTube videos and TikToks to hear about the lived experience of other trans adults and teens (see resources below).
  • Read up on city, state, and federal laws and regulations that limit or help trans and genderqueer people as they become their genuine selves. Unless they feel called to do so, not every parent and kid are required to advocate for trans rights. Just knowing the political landscape and being supportive for your child is enough.

Don’t worry if you make mistakes! All parents do, not just when it comes to gender. When you make a mistake, make a repair. Correct yourself, apologize, ask your teen how they’re feeling, listen, and then move on. Center your child in the repair, don’t make the mistake you made more about you and your feelings and less about your child’s experience of your mistake. 

Remember the most important tip of all: Be your same loving, supportive, and curious self! Do this and your kid will continue to return to you for comfort, safety, and help when they need it.  


Resource lists:

Beth Cortez-Neavel is now accepting queer and gender diverse pre-teens, teens, adults, and parents. Click here if you want to learn more about Beth and their services.

Written By:
Beth Cortez-Neavel, LPC-Associate, LMFT-Associate, Supervised by Michelle Silva Segura, LMFT-S, LPC-S, SEP


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