Coming out to intolerant family can put Transgender and Gender-Variant people at risk of abuse (both physical and emotional), “reparative” conversion therapy and eviction. For many Transgender and Gender-Variant youth, coming out to their family simply isn’t an option because of this potential risk, and consequently remain closeted–suffering daily misgendering and invisibility–while financially dependent on family members.
Remaining closeted while living at home or otherwise dependent on family members for economic support means that Transgender youth have to delay the process of transition. Not only is this a source of tremendous stress, but consequently transition becomes more involved and costly, because some biological characteristics become more inflexible and difficult to change with puberty and time passing. With health coverage for Transgender and Gender-Variant Canadians already compromised, this can lead to greater financial burden and is a deterrent to people being able to comfortably make the transition.
While conversion therapy targeting Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer people has not been an accepted or funded medical treatment in Canada for decades, treatment for Transgender and Gender-Variant children still manages to have some traction despite being against official medical standards and ethics. Family members subjecting their children to conversion therapy are committing abuse and risking their long-term health and well-being. Transgender and Gender-Variant youth already suffer a higher likelihood of attempting suicide.
People loving and accepting Transgender and Gender-Variant family members is the cornerstone for Transgender and Gender-Variant Canadians to have happy, healthy and longer lives. Without the support of family, it can be hard to build the strength to fight against the inequality and discrimination Transgender and Gender-Variant people face in their day-to-day lives. PFLAG offers support groups for people with Transgender and Gender-Variant children and family members, and has even developed a free guidebook for raising a Transgender child.