Transgender Parent: Child's Journey When Mom Becomes Dad


Teen Daughter Rebels Against Transgender Mother

Hunter Thompson, a 56-year-old divorced acupuncturist from Maryland, raised four children before he transitioned from female to male in 2006.

His oldest daughter, who was 27 at the time, was "fine" with the news. But his 17-year-old daughter "freaked out."

As a girl, Thompson always played with the boys and felt like a boy until puberty. "Everything went haywire for me," he said. By 18, Thompson contemplated suicide.

He married in college and had his first child before graduation. Two sons and another daughter followed.

"The only thing that made it OK to be female was I could produce male children," he said. "I always knew inside that I was male."

First he changed his name then he had hormone therapy. Now, he's had chest surgery and even changed his birth certificate.

"It was fantastic for me -- I started to be who I am," he said. But it was also a difficult time dealing with his children.

"My oldest was fine," said Thompson. "She was old enough to understand that I needed to be who I was."

He held off on telling his son, who was serving in Iraq. But his second daughter worried, "What will I tell my friends, what if I get married?"

She wondered, "What does this make me? Here I am female and my mother is telling me she is male. Does that make me some kind of freak?"

"She is fine now, but there were two years that were rough for her," said Thompson.

His youngest son still lives at home and the family gets together at holidays. The children now agree to call him "Hunter" in public.

"At home they call me Mom, that's fine," he said. "But it's got to be in private."

To other parents in transition, Thompson advises, "Be clear in who you are -- I really think that goes a long way. In the beginning I was terrified … But I was able to stand and say this is right for me and hopefully they will go down this road with me. Just be honest."

As for Sabine, even though she is homeschooled and lives in a liberal "bubble," she has faced the harsh judgment of her peers because of her mother's transgenderism.

"There was one girl I knew who told me if her parents did that, she would disown them," said Sabine. "I thought that was unacceptable."

"Friends can be weird about it," she said. "One friend I used to go to public school with asked me what it was like to have a transgender parent. That was a little strange."

Still most of her friends have been supportive.

Sabine said her sister, now 6, had an easier time because she was so young when her mother became a man.

"She says that there are some special men who weren't born men and some special women who weren't born women, and there are some other people who aren't boys or girls," said Sabine.

She admits transition is hard, but advises other children in the same situation to be patient.

"It usually gets easier after a while and, despite the changes, your parent will always be the same person," said Sabine. "Only, maybe a bit happier."

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