My family also transitioned – By Monica Helms

For seven years, I wasn?t allowed to see my parents. It took a lot of work to reach the acceptance I feel today.

I read often about the trials and tribulations of being a gay parent, or the issues a parent faces having a gay child. When a child is transgender, the issues can be even more extreme. But as my recent trip to see my relatives in Phoenix shows, there?s hope for all of our families.

In June 1998, I came out to my parents, telling them I needed to change my sex and live as a woman. I will never forget what my mother said to me that day: ?I wish you were just gay.? She could live with something she couldn?t see rather than the drastic changes I was destined to go through. When my experiment with dating men ended and I realized I just liked women, I called and told her, ?I guess you got your wish, Mom. I am gay.? She wasn?t amused.

For seven and a half years, I wasn?t allowed to see my parents, or enter the house I grew up in. That all changed when my father died two years ago this month. My mother wanted me home before he died, but he passed away while I sat in the airport waiting for my flight.