Navigating the Unknown: Support for Transgender Kids and Their Families in Minnesota
The Trans Action Apparel Blog

Navigating the Unknown: Support for Transgender Kids and Their Families in Minnesota

by David Annis on Aug 28, 2023

Being a parent or caregiver is an incredibly rewarding, beautiful yet challenging journey, one that brings unique joys and obstacles. And when your child identifies as transgender, this journey takes on an extra layer of complexity due to the misinformation, the weight of cultural dynamics, and the scarcity of reliable resources.

But here's something you should know: you're not alone in this.

Minnesota is a sanctuary, teeming with support and resources for LGBTQ+ youth and their families. This article highlights nine invaluable resources (and five guiding principles) that families in Minnesota and beyond can lean on and help light your way forward.

Resources for LGBTQ+ Families:

  • University of Minnesota Gender and Sexuality Center for Queer and Trans Life: This center provides a variety of resources and services for transgender and gender-diverse families in Minnesota as well as students, faculty, and staff at the University of Minnesota. They offer individual and group counseling, support groups, educational workshops, and advocacy. This is a great place to start.

  • Family Equality Minnesota: Imagine a community tailored for LGBTQ+ families. Legal aid, counseling that nurtures, and a space where acceptance blooms—it's all here. Your support system is stronger than you think.

  • OutFront Minnesota: Need a strong ally in your corner? Look no further. OutFront Minnesota offers a hand in legal matters, a compass for employment issues, and a shelter when it comes to finding a place to call home. They're your advocates, your navigators.

  • Queerspace Collective: It's important for young folks to see a future that includes them. Queerspace Collective matches LGBTQ+ youth with mentors that can provide the tangible perspective of someone that's a bit further along on thd journey, helping youth feel not only seen, but see a brighter future for them. Unleash the power of shared interests and mentors. At Queerspace, LGBTQ+ mentors connect with youth, forging relationships that build resilience and offer unwavering support.
  • Transforming Families Minnesota: Transforming Families is a community where transgender, gender non-conforming, and questioning youth and their families come together to support each other in a safe, welcoming space. At their monthly gatherings, separate breakout groups for parents, kids, siblings, and teens provide the opportunity to share, talk, listen to each other's stories, exchange resources, build community, and have fun! It's a simple idea that works.

Accessible Outreach / Hotlines:

  • The Trevor Project: This lifeline is a guardian for LGBTQ+ youth. When the night is darkest, you OR your kids can reach out to their 24/7 support line, or connect through online chats and text support. They're your ray of light in moments of despair, accessible with advice or simply an empathetic ear.

  • Trans Lifeline: When you feel like you're drowning in challenges, remember this lifeline. Available 24/7 via phone, text, and chat, Trans Lifeline is a compassionate ear in the storm, ready to guide you through the darkest moments. Trans Lifeline is run by and for trans people offering direct emotional and financial support to trans people in crisis – for the trans community, by the trans community.

News & Advocacy:

  • 19th News: Knowledge is empowerment, and that's what 19th News delivers. It's a platform dedicated to ensuring that those often silenced—women, women of color, and the LGBTQ+ community—have a voice, resources, and a place to belong. 19th News is an independent non profit that shares articles rooted in facts, data, evidence and excellence.They aim to advance human rights, civil rights, racial justice and gender equity through storytelling that exposes disparities and empathizes with the lived experiences of those they cover.

  • The Human Rights Campaign: The Human Rights Campaign is the largest LGBTQ+ civil rights organization in the United States. They offer a variety of resources for transgender people and their families, including a guide to finding a therapist, a list of affirming doctors, and a directory of LGBTQ+ friendly businesses.

  • GLAAD: GLAAD is a media advocacy organization that works to promote accurate and inclusive representation of LGBTQ+ people in the media. They offer a variety of resources for parents and caregivers of transgender youth, including a guide to talking to your child about their gender identity and a list of films and TV shows that feature transgender characters.

However, this journey is about more than just accessing resources; it's about opening your heart, letting go of fear and embracing curiosity and change. It maybe helpful to keep these five key principles in mind:

  1. Unconditional Love and Acceptance: Your child's identity is valid, and your love is unwavering. No matter what, stand by them with your heart and mind open wide to learning new things and embracing the unknown.

  2. Honor Identity: When you use their chosen names and pronouns, you're not just speaking words—you're honoring the essence of who they are. That said, this can be a journey of discovery. Their pronouns may change. Their gender identity may be fluid for a time (or forever). Honor who they are, in the moment. Don't feel like they (or you) need to make a decision or commitment to a specific identification until they are ready.

  3. Education and Understanding: Dive into the depths of transgender issues. Learn, grow, and become a beacon of understanding for your child. Show them that its ok not to have all the answers, but that understanding comes with time, exposure and experience. You'll learn together, and that's awesome.

  4. Guided Support: Seek therapists and counselors who are versed in LGBTQ+ matters. Positive intent and action are required, but its hard to beat a lived experience. They'll help you and your child navigate this journey together.

  5. Community Connections: Find others who walk this path. Connect, share, and support each other. It's a family that understands without words and there's more people out there, ready to be leaned than it might feel.

Growing Together

Remember to embrace the notion that you're learning alongside your child. Acknowledge that your journey is a process of growth, both for you and your community. As you step forward, remember that Minnesota is more than a state—it's a refuge for LGBTQ+ youth and their families. Use these resources and principles as your compass, guiding you through challenges with love, kindness, and an unwavering belief in the power of family and friendship.

Thanks for reading.


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