Trans-Parenting Podcast Episode 9: An Interview with Darlene Tando, LCSW

Posted on Oct 26, 2016 | 3 comments

In Episode 9 of the Trans-Parenting podcast, I sat down to chat with Darlene Tando, a licensed clinical social worker who recently appeared on the Dr. Phil show. In that episode, a mom and her teen were on to talk about the mom’s struggle accepting her daughter’s transition.

Darlene is also the author of “The Conscious Parent’s Guide to Gender Identity: A Mindful Approach to Embracing Your Child’s Authentic Self,” which you can purchase on Amazon.


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  1. Dr. Johanna Olson-Kennedy: I think it’s valuable just to remember that there are going to be people who are going to re-transition, and we don’t necessarily have to be afraid of that. I think that we need to honor people’s capacity to adjust and move forward, and move sideways, and move backward, and all of that is really important. And I think when I consider the cost-benefit ratio of this situation of people re-transitioning or moving to a different place in their life, I think the numbers are first of all very small. But I can tell you that I went back through our list of people that I’ve taken care of over my career which is probably about apeople. Of course, it is very difficult, because we don’t keep people in care forever because we’re a youth clinic where people will graduate out when they’re 25 years old, but also are mobile, and that s what we want them to do. Young adults should be moving around. They should be establishing their life and care. I m extremely fortunate that a lot of people continued to stay in contact with me. The numbers are very low probably 15 to 20 people out of aor 1500 who have in the context of my care either stopped taking hormones, never started taking hormones. I think one of the mistakes that we make is we assume that assessment is a one-time thing that happens before someone starts to care. But the truth is, like everything in medicine, assessment is an ongoing process. Every time somebody comes back to visit you for their medical follow up, you’re having a process of assessment with them. As a medical provider you find out if it’s working for you, is it not working for you, whether we need to change. People email or people come through the portal, and they ask these questions. It s ongoing. It s not one thing that you green light and then you forget your hormones, see in 10 years. That s not how this works. It s not how anything in medicine works. We are also not understanding that every time a person either takes a pill or puts a needle in their body they re doing their own process of assessment. Is this what I want to do, do I want to move forward with this? Is it working for me? And so we undervalue the work that is happening on a consistent basis over time for people. And so if we really break down what the fear is, and I think the fear is very real. We don’t like being wrong, whatever that means, and we certainly want to have that certainty moving forward, but we don’t have that certainty about anything in life. We start people, for example, on psychotropic medications and we don’t know if those are going to help people. We don’t know if they’re going to make people less anxious or less happy, we just know that it has worked for a lot of people. Just like blockers and hormones, they work for a lot of people, and so we go forward with that assumption. If it s not working we stop, or we increase the dose, or we try a different medication. This happens all the time in medicine. We just apply a different level of scrutiny to gender work.

  2. *
    A Facebook comment led me here to your site.

    I am noticing that this podcast appears to be your latest item. Are you still an active web-site?

    I was an out Transsexual child growing up during the 1950s and 1960s. There was nothing – nothing for parents, nothing for Transsexual children. Thank you for doing something for current Trans children.


  3. Dear Debi,
    I am so proud of you for your outspokenness about transitioning and gender. Your daughter is very fortunate. I know life will be difficult for your family, because the world is unkind…I wish you all great success and happiness.
    a father and grandfather

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