Frequently Asked Questions

Who are Transfamily?

Transfamily is a peer support group for parents, partners, siblings, extended family and/or friends of a trans and gender diverse person. We are a Melbourne-based group who meet regularly in Carlton, Victoria. It is run by a volunteer committee who all have first-hand experience with a trans and/or gender diverse family member.

Transfamily is a not for profit community based organisation.

How do I get support from Transfamily?

Whilst we have a digital presence, a core objective of the group is to meet people in person, either at our group meetings or you may request a separate arrangement such as a phone call, email or to meet for a coffee with someone. If this sounds like you, please contact us to request assistance.

What type of help can you give me and what assistance does Transfamily provide?

The group offers a warm and supportive environment for the loved ones of trans and gender diverse people. Apart from our meetings, we run workshops, social events and have guest speakers to address our group. We can also offer individual support from one of our members if required.

Transfamily has also published a book written by some of its members about their experiences and this may help you to gain an insight into some of the feelings you may be having. It is available to purchase online. Please refer to our Store page under the 'Support Us' tab.

How do I find out more about the steps towards 'transition' for my loved one?

A person may affirm their gender by taking steps to be socially or physically more aligned with their gender identity, including changing their name, taking hormones, or having surgery. This takes time and is different for each person.

The situation is further complicated by the age of the person wishing to transition. This includes the medical facilities and organisations that may be appropriate to use/visit, the privacy laws in the case of parents and their offspring and the options for age appropriate treatment.

Please refer to our Resources page under the 'For Families' tab for a list of links and other information that may be useful.

What is the typical time frame for a person to 'transition'?

One of the common themes that we have heard from our members is that they are not prepared for the speed at which the trans and gender diverse person would like to move on this. There is a lot of information to digest and consider before proceeding with the transition and it can be very confronting and confusing for everyone involved.

There is no 'typical' time frame as there are so many variables, but it is definitely likely to take years rather than months for the transition process to occur. In some cases, it may always be an ongoing and evolving process of change for the trans and gender diverse person and their family.

What does trans and gender diverse mean?

Trans and gender diverse is an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression and/or behaviour does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth based on their physical appearance.

What is gender identity and how does it differ from gender dysphoria?

Gender identity refers to a person’s internal sense of being a man, woman or something else. A person communicates their gender identity to others through behaviour, clothing, hairstyles, voice or body characteristics. Your gender identity is what feels natural to you.

Many people don’t feel they fit the role and stereotypes for their designated gender. But some people also feel the sex of their body doesn’t feel right. When this mismatch causes severe distress, it is called gender dysphoria.

I am confused by all this terminology, where can I find more information from a trusted source?

Please see our Resources under the 'For Families' tab for links to various websites and glossaries, plus an information booklet that contains a more extensive and detailed list of definitions. Take it slowly and take one step at a time.

Why has this happened, and who is to blame?

There is no one to blame for the situation, it is just the way it is. There is no single explanation for why some people are trans and gender diverse. The diversity of trans and gender diverse expression and experiences argues against any simple or unitary explanation.

Regardless of what you might feel or be told by other people such as relatives, a psychiatrist or psychologist, there is no one to blame for the situation, its just the way it is. More helpful is to work out how to move forward.

Your child or loved one has probably been thinking this through for months, even years. This does not mean a lack of trust, lack of love or a reflection on your relationship. However, if you are a parent, it can be painful to realise that you don't know your child as well as you thought you did, and that you have been excluded from a part of their life.

We have also been told by trans and gender diverse people that they become incredibly good at concealing their thoughts due to feeling fear of the consequences, so it is not always obvious or easy to detect. Don’t beat yourself up about this, just appreciate they have now confided in you!

What is hormone therapy?

Some – but not all- trans and gender diverse people choose hormone therapy in order to have their outward appearance better reflect the way they feel.

A person may wish to undergo hormone therapy (for as long as they want) to change their physical appearance to better match their gender identity. These are the common formats hormone therapy may take:

•    a trans man (a trans and gender diverse person who identifies as male) or non-binary person (someone whose gender identity is not exclusively male or female) may take testosterone (masculinising hormones)

•    a trans woman (trans and gender diverse person who identifies as female) or non-binary person may take oestrogen (feminising hormones)

•    a gender diverse or non-binary person might take testosterone or oestrogen.

The aim of hormone therapy is for the trans and gender diverse person to be more comfortable with their physical appearance and how they feel about themselves.

Something Else?

If you have a question that isn’t covered above,
please get in touch with TransFamily and we’ll help you find the answer!

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Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Wurundjeri, Boonwurrung, Taungurong, Dja Dja Wurrung, and Wathaurung peoples of the Kulin Nation as Australia’s First People and Traditional Custodians of the land where we work.