An Airdrie author whose child came out as transgender at age 11 has published a new book that addresses her own candid experiences and acts as a guide for other parents of trans children to help them navigate the transition, including practical tips and real-life insights.
Tammy Plunkett — a mother of four who each identify as Queer — is a registered nurse, writing coach, lawyer, author, and international speaker. She recently launched her new book, Beyond Pronouns: The Essential Guide for Parents of Trans Kidswhich is available for purchase from June 21.
The Airdrie-based writer said she hopes the book will help answer many key questions that parents of trans children may have, while also addressing the need for parents to be supportive and feel supported so they can care for their child during the first 100 days of their transition. and beyond.
“I secretly lived in fear and doubt, and went through a process of grieving for the child I thought I knew,” Plunkett said of her own child’s (Mitchell) transition.
“I started capturing my thoughts and experiences. I couldn’t be the only one going through this.”
As her child transitioned, Plunkett began looking for helpful advice for her own family, but all she could find were suggestions from doctors and psychologists. She said there wasn’t a lot of parent-to-parent advice available and she struggled to know if she was making the right decisions for her child.
She added that her book aims to allay some of parents’ common fears and pressing questions about the process, so they don’t feel alone or scared during the transition.
“There are a lot of parents who want to support their child but don’t know how,” she said in an interview. “And we’re just overwhelmed with information and emotions. I have heard from parents again and again that they need this book too.
Plunkett said she co-directs Parenting with Pride, which is a division of the Airdrie Pride Society. Listening to other parents’ comments over the past five years, she has seen some of the same questions asked over and over again.
“It also informed what I needed to write in the book,” she said. “I focus primarily on what you would face in those first 100 days, and through all of this advice, I use our own story to illustrate how we got through it all.”
She added that the book provides parents with prompts for having important conversations with their child, tips on how to be a good LGBTQ2S+ ally, and age-appropriate parenting approaches that aim for a happy, connected family.
The most important thing Plunkett hopes for Beyond pronouns that parents feel supported so that they in turn can support their children, she said.
“I’m making a very concerted effort in this book to help parents put their oxygen mask on first, because if a child transitions, the parent buys the clothes,” she said. “It is the parent who speaks at school. It is the parent who ultimately makes a legal name change, if they choose to do so.
“The parent has a lot of tasks and a lot of emotions, and I wanted to support those parents because at the end of the day, supporting parents helps kids and it makes kids feel empowered.”
Plunkett said parents will also learn how to advocate for their trans child in their lives, while being encouraged to take time to connect with and care for themselves.
“My number one goal is to help parents through this often unplanned yet deeply rewarding journey with their trans children so they can be an incredible ally to their brave children,” she added in the press release. .
Beyond pronouns is available for purchase at Indigo, Barnes and Noble, Chapters, Amazon.ca, and select independent bookstores. It is also available as an eBook and audiobook.
Plunkett will be available at Crowchild Indigo in Calgary for a signing on June 30, and will appear binge-watching on CTV’s The Social and The Marilyn Denis Show this week.