A distressed grandmother has appealed to famed columnist Dear Abby for advice in how to cope with having a transgender grandchild. As always, the ever-reliable Abby wrote exactly what her reader needed to hear.
“My granddaughter just informed me she has decided she would be happier living as a boy, and she has gone so far as to legally change her name,” the grandmother, labeling herself “Grandma in Pain” wrote. “I want to be supportive, but I admit I’m having a lot of trouble accepting it, or at least figuring out how to deal with it.”
“She’s my only grandchild and most likely the only one I’ll ever have,” Grandma in Pain continued. I loved my granddaughter with all my heart, and I don’t know how to shift gears to a grandson. I keep stumbling when I try to use the new name. I would welcome any suggestions you could make, including information about support groups you might know of.”
Abby replied to the grandmother, reminding her that while gender transition is hard for some family members to accept, it is always hardest for the transgender person.
“Gender reassignment is not something that someone does on a lark,” Abby cautioned. “There are many steps involved, and the journey, while liberating, can be challenging both physically and emotionally. I am sure this is something your grandchild has given much thought to.”
“Yes, coming to terms with it can be as much of a journey for family as it is for the transgender person,” Abby continued, “and it can take time and understanding on all sides. A group called PFLAG can help you through this. It has been mentioned in my column for decades. It has helped countless families to build bridges of understanding between themselves and their lesbian, gay and transgender loved ones. Please don’t wait to contact them. You will find PFLAG at
Established in 1973, PFLAG aims to help friends and family of LGBTQ people learn to accept queer identity, and how best to offer support to the community. The group also engages in pro-queer activism, with their current objective the banning of conversion therapy aimed at changing sexual orientation or gender identity.