This week I spoke with a parent of a transgender child. Frankly, this is nothing new. I often speak to parents with transgender children, both professionally and personally. I often speak to transgender people and have several transgender people in various stages of transition in my therapy and coaching practice and in my personal life. Being transgender is not a "rare disorder."
However, this week while speaking to a mother of a transgender child, I was shocked to hear her say that she had looked extensively for therapists who had experience working with transgender clients and was unsuccessful in her search. To her - and my - dismay, she said she interviewed dozens of therapists and only one or two had any experience counseling transgender clients and in these cases, they'd only worked with one client and told her that being transgender is a rare disorder. This experience has caused her to doubt her child's desire to transition and reifies the belief that transgender people are confused or mentally ill.
Now, multiple personality disorder that's a "rare disorder," yet, I have worked with this condition at least once before. People transitioning from male to female or female to male, is totally common.
Another disturbing thing that happened this week is that a client of mine who is transitioning was challenged by their doctor about hormone therapy, and questioned if they were really in the closet about being a gay man, rather than a transgender woman. My client was, obviously, very upset by this experience.