Transgender Woman Comes Out To Mom With Dementia Over And Over Again

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Transgender Woman Comes Out To Her Mom Over And Over Again

In a society where being transgender is slowly becoming accepted, coming out can still be a difficult and nerve-wracking moment for some individuals. Reactions from people, especially loved ones, vary from denial to indifferent to acceptance.

Tina Healy is a transgender woman from Melbourne who has always known that she was transgender. But, like many others, she chose to keep it a secret for the sake of her children. 

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Her former partner had also known, but both were "idealistic" and thought they could look past it. Eventually, they went their separate ways, but remained friends.

Healy completely transitioned in her 50s, and when she decided to finally come out to her mother, there were some concerns. Her mother had dementia and Healy's family worried that the stress might be too much for her.

In a 2015 interview, Healy said, "The first time I came out to my mother was about two years ago, and that was around the time my mom first started developing dementia. I was nervous because my family and I were concerned that because of the dementia, me coming out as a woman might be too stressful for my mom to handle."

But when she finally came out? "Well, what do you know? I've got a beautiful new daughter," her mother said to her. 

Healy said, "I started to cry, and she pulled me to her shoulder and said, 'Cry it out, dear. Cry it out.' My partner at the time cried as well."

It's the sweetest and warmest response to such news. Immediate acceptance, and no questions asked. 

Healy had said that coming out to her mother was the happiest time of her life. 

But due to her dementia, her mother would always forget. So, every couple of weeks, Healy visited her mother and confessed that she's transgender. 

And the reaction was the same each time, without fail.

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"I'm kind of the luckiest one of all because I get to come out to Mum 100 times a year, and every time, she's beautiful," Healy said in an interview.

Healy's mother isn't the only member of the family who greeted her news with love and acceptance; her daughter, Jessica Walton, wrote a children's book with her partner that had a transgender child named Teddy, to help their son better understand their family.

"What's really nice with little kids is when you read them a story that reflects your family, you know that they're able to identify themselves in that story," Walton had said.

Since coming out, although the family did go through a state of grieving, Healy feels that her family became closer than ever. 

"My life is so different. I mean, I can be myself. I'm not as anxious anymore. I don't worry as much. I'm much more peaceful and calm. I'm happy," she said. 

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Healy also had some advice for other transgender people coming out, "My message for any trans person who wants to come out is to come out when you feel ready and safe. Everything will change, for sure, but it's not always for the worse, like we might assume. Sometimes, things change for the better."

And to parents in particular, she said, "just love them and accept them. It's that easy, and that's what I learned from my mother."

It just goes to show that there's no greater love than that of a mother. 

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Caithlin Pena is an editor for YourTango who enjoys books, movies, and writes about astrology and lifestyle topics.

Editor's Note: This article was originally posted in November 2015 and was updated with the latest information.