Grandparents and trans youth: Fighting transphobia within the family tree





Being a ‘great‘ Grandparent isn’t so hard. But what happens when you’re a Grandparent and you’ve learned one of your grandchildren is trans? How do you keep the ‘Grand’ in Grandparent?

Welcome to Season 3: Episode 31 of Hey, Cis!, proudly sponsored by TD Bank Group.

The video above is available with Closed Captioning below.

Happy Grandparents Day!

Want to be a Grandparent who has earned their bragging rights?

In the season launch episode of Hey, Cis! podcast, we’re celebrating Grandparents Day on September 11th and  talking with Trans Black activist and public speaker, Chris Cochrane (she/her), about the challenges that relationships between Grandparents and family members experience, after learning they have a gender-expansive, transgender or non-binary grandchild.

Our guest Chris Cochrane is from Glace Bay, Nova Scotia and shares her experience transitioning and the reactions of some extended family. Chris speaks and educates about her lived experience through her intersectionality. 

Chris is also a Grandparent, or as she says, ‘Ami‘ because she’s just too young to be a Grandma!

Chris has five grandchildren  – yep, five fab grandkids and she talks with Isaac and Cyn, about ways for Grandparents (and extended family members) can focus on strengthening family connections, rather than dismantling them; while they learn to understand the complexities of gender identity.

‘Luckily I have a strong backbone and I have a very well chosen amazing chosen family here in Halifax that helped me get to where I am now,’ reflects Chris. 

Cyn is no stranger herself to the challenges that come with talking to older adults about her own child’s gender identity and understands these conversations can create stressors on parents and caregivers of trans and gender expansive children as they navigate supporting their own child. It can burden relationships to the point at which, she says,

“We just have to draw-up the drawbridge and fortify our castle. Until we know they are safe and aren’t going to use hurtful language or ask careless questions.”

And, she is not alone.

‘Grandparents and other older relatives and friends often have more conservative ideas about gender roles, and thus may have a more difficult time understanding or accepting your child’s transgender or gender-expansive identity.’

If you’ve said, heard or thought any of these statements: 

  1. ‘Grandma just speaks this way.’
  2. ‘I need time to get my head around all this.’ or ‘I’m not sure.’
  3. ‘ Nana and Papa know best because we’ve years of experience.’
  4. ‘It’s just too hard for us, after all this time, to have to change the way we refer to you.’

or you or a family member have struggled keeping extended family bonds strong while supporting a trans child, than grab a cuppa tea, pull up a chair and join the conversation! 

You won’t want to miss this episode.  We’ve shared a snapshot of the podcast above and head over to for the full episode. 

Show Notes:

Chris Cochrane works toward creating spaces for QTBIPOC people, as well as working with 2SLGBTIQIA+ youth to ensure those spaces will be upheld for years to come.

Currently she is The Support Service Educator for The Youth Project. Chris also sits as the Vice Chair of Halifax Pride where she uses that platform to ensure equity for all of the the community, while focusing on our marginalized and racialized communities. You can connect with Chris at

In the show, the following resources were also mentioned for great reference and educational resources, books and comics:

Season 3 of Hey, Cis! is proudly sponsored by TD Bank Group. Tune-in next time when we will be talking with Rachele Manet (she/they), a Queer Educator at Venus Envy about trans youth and accessibility to resources and supports! This episode is all about pleasure, accessibility and breaking down stigma linked to cisnormative bias.