My husband and I have known for a little while that our daughter is Ace and non-binary. They came out to us earlier this year and we’ve both been supportive of it. We try very hard to use their preferred pronouns of “them/they”. Just a few days ago however, they told us they would now like to be known by another name. I’m somewhat ashamed to admit it, but that is when my emotions got the better of me; I didn’t take it very well and it upsets me that our teen saw that. It took me by surprise as they already has a gender-neutral name but the name they have chosen for themselves is very much a male name. When we asked them why they want to change their name, they told us because their current name reminds them of who they were and the female link to their name and they don’t want to be reminded of that. It was hard not to take that personally. They have never shown any signs of being unhappy in general but especially not with who they were until this year, when they did a complete 180 in personality (they are 17yrs old) Our confusion lies around their preference for a male name. We spoke to them about maybe being trans and they said they were not sure what they were and still feels like they are neither male or female (though I’m concerned now that after seeing my reaction to their desire to change their name, they are too frightened to admit it to us). Moreover, our child has always been the only “regular” person in their friendship group since they met them on their first day of high school 6 years ago. Of the group of 6 of them, 2 of them are gay, 1 is transgender (our teens best friend), 1 is gender neutral and another is bisexual. We sometimes wonder if our teen has started ‘testing’ out what they are to feel more inclusive within their friendship group or supportive of their best friend (who also suffers depression). We have so many questions but have struggled to find any answers. I am embarrassed to say, but the feeling of loss and grief is overwhelming to me. I have tried to find professional help for my husband and I to both cope and better support out child, but it has been hard finding anyone close by or available. I read of so many parents being extremely supportive and accepting of their child’s change and I really want to be, but I am struggling. Did any other parents feel the same way? How did you cope?
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