Support was the only option

We are a family of five from Wellington. We have three children - an older son and daughter and our youngest, an affirmed girl who came out just over two years ago. With two older children we thought there wasn't much we hadn't seen and dealt with already. But when our youngest came out to us we were completely blindsided and had no idea what to do.

We noticed our daughter becoming less happy and more withdrawn and anxious from the age of about 11. When she was 12 our daughter told us she was gay, and initially she seemed a bit happier after that, so we felt relieved. But then her unhappiness seemed to return, until finally she told us she was questioning her gender. We were quite confused by this and initially we thought that she'd been influenced by spending too much time on the internet and we didn't do anything about it. But she kept telling us that she was gender questioning and then told us she was transgender, so we realised we needed some help to know what to do.

We had a friend who is a psychologist who recommended a colleague we could talk to. The psychologist was really helpful for us. We saw her as parents first to get some information and ask our questions. Then our daughter saw her alone, and then we all talked to her together. By the end of that process we understood that our daughter knew her mind on this and we understood how important it was for us to support her.

Since then our daughter has completely transitioned socially. She is now much happier and is well settled. Her anxiety has largely cleared up and we have no doubt that supporting her to transition was the right decision. Some wider family members have not been very accepting, but we are working through those issues. Our immediate family and friends have all got used to her new pronouns and name. We sometimes forget that she ever had another name or gender.