Tina asked a question (2 blogs down) but comments were closed.
Here is my response...
Tina, sorry to hear of the difficulties your family is going through.
I think the reality is - everyone's story and experience is different - because we, and our spouses and our children are all individuals, with their own personalities, beliefs and upbringing.
As for me - I fully expected to encounter similar distress/anger/non-acceptance/disappointment etc, from them to my "coming out" to my children (they were 14, 16, 18, 22 at the time). For whatever reason - this did not happen. Beyond listing all the multiple reasons for why I think this was the case - I will simply state that I think it boils down to who I was to them, how I handled giving them the news, when I gave them the news in relation to when the bigger visible changes started happening and so on.
My state of mind was that I had been dealing with this for a very long time and the least I could do was give them all some time to process the news before the had to start dealing with the physical consequences of it. So, there was a good amount of time after the disclosure before I started showing significant signs of my pending transition and it was a priority for me to take it slow - to have the best chance of bringing them all along with me.
In the end, I think this had some good effect, but mostly, I think it was the relationship that I had had with them in the previous years of their lives that really enabled me to have a successful transition. Also, just as important was who they were and are as people - what their general views, beliefs and opinions were of others in this world who would be considered non-conforming or alternative.
Since all that stuff is pre-existing now - all you can really do is work within the limitations of your own situation and the personalities and traits of those involved - mainly your spouse, children and others in this group.
Here is what I think is important.
1) Compassion, empathy and understanding on your spouses part for what you and your children are going through.
2) A high desire and/or need (on both sides) to want to maintain a close - loving relationship - so that there is some willingness to compromise, change, modify, extend etc. ones actions, time frame etc. in relation to the other - even if just temporarily.
3) An understanding on your spouses part that this is not just about them - (even though it seems it is ALL about them) that their transition is also everyone else's transition too - and that being and accepting who one is (trans) does not in and of itself, come with a carte blanche right to act on that irregardless of how it effects others in their lives to which they owe any sort of responsibility - whether of the heart, or as a parent, a spouse, a provider etc.
Just because one is trans, doesn't meant these can be abandoned, forgotten or trampled on.
4) A further understanding that Acceptance is a process. There are various stages the just about anyone (including the trans person themselves) will have to go through before they get there. The time frame for each stage is different for every person and there is no guarantee that everyone can or will get there - ever. But if that is the desired result - then it will take active participation, consistent and continued communication - which would include purposeful breaks from that when appropriate, understanding, patience, more patience, love, empathy and demonstrations of that and restraint.
5) The best tools to help this process along are knowledge and education. Making sure that what being trans is adn what it is not is really understood. This means facing any preconceived notions and prejudices held and being prepared to really look at that stuff. This can be hard to do - even for the trans person believe it or not!.. Whatever medium works best: There are books and other written materials, there are many advocacy groups with a web presence that have helpful materials and documentation. There are videos and movies - some are excellent. Finding the ones that work will take research and time. Once the gems are found - they can be shared in person or sent to them to digest, review in their own time and place. There are few solid/physical resources for spouses/children of trans people - but sometimes it might be worth reaching out to some of the better therapists or support groups in the area - to see if they provide or know of any support being offered. (I know my therapist would often perform workshops for spouses - and we sent all 4 of our kids to see her, to give them the opportunity to ask questions or talk about whatever issues they were afraid to discuss with me or my spouse)
In the end, your success at weathering this situation successfully is going to depend on many things that will have to come from inside you all - you, your spouse and your children. It will take your knowledge as parents of your children and who they are to know best what path to take at each stage of the journey.
For me, the key points about being trans that you want to make sure are communicated well are:
Being trans is a natural part of being human - it has happened throughout history and is prevalent around the world in every country and every culture. There is no reason to be ashamed, or embarrassed or bad in any way for being trans. (Or having a parent who is).
Most people have the wrong idea about what trans is or is not. Its also different for each trans person (not every trans person feels they are someone who has been stuck in the wrong (opposite gender) body for instance) Finding a good way to talk or explain your (spouses) particular version of it in one or two sentences that works to tell your unique story is a good thing to have on hand.
Maintaining a sense of humor about it (without disparaging it)- really helps to disarm people who are feeling awkward or discomfort. If you show you are comfortable - they are likely to be so too.
There is nothing you can do to control what other people think. People have always had the ability to think what they wanted - good/bad/right/wrong/fair/unfair/deviant/mean etc. This can never be changed so there is no point in worrying or thinking about what other people may be thinking (of you, of your parent etc) and the child should not feel like they have to feel bad for the parent concerning this as well - (My son once asked me to put my hair in a ponytail when I came to school functions - at first I thought he was embarrassed by my appearance - but when I talked to him about it - he expressed that no, that wasn't it at all, he was feeling bad for me and didn't want me to be the subject of other peoples "looks" etc. Once I told him that he did not need to take on this responsibility for me, that I was perfectly fine with who I was and my appearance and was proud of who I was and could care less that others perhaps did not approve and that I was not going to be made to feel bad by their "looks" - he was relieved and felt much better.) - Children often are not thinking what we think they are thinking. It can be very helpful sometimes to simply ask them and not assume that we know.
Here is a couple of links to get started - good luck!.. I am always happy to answer any questions if you have any.