Timna’s Story: Raising a Transgender Child

Black and white portrait photo of Timna Dulmer.

My family started coming to the Transgender Youth Program (TYP) when my daughter was about nine years old. From a young age, our daughter told us in different ways that she was going to need something special to grow into the person she was destined to be. It took time for us all to develop the language we needed to understand that journey. As I learned new words, new terms and new ways to listen, I gained a greater understanding of the depth and variety that make people who they are. It is a complicated landscape. I quickly discovered I needed help navigating. 

The TYP has been a wonderful resource and has helped my family in so many ways. They have helped guide us through education, understanding and compassion. They have helped us figure out insurance steps and doctors’ appointments. They have been there for us emotionally and literally through it all. 

We had so many questions and our team of wonderful providers took the time to answer. I have never once felt like there was a question I couldn’t ask. Lines of communication and information sharing have been there since the start. I feel like our care is a true collaboration. It makes me feel safe and supported. 

When you see your doctor, you should be able to be yourself, your true self. Every single time we talk with or visit the TYP, my whole family gets to be seen and heard as they truly are. From our very first appointment, when the team all used my daughter’s pronouns, we were made to feel comfortable and accepted. Every visit feels like a team coming together to do the best for my daughter. 

Tina Dulmer with family.

I was inspired to give back and became a patient family advisor because I knew I could do more to help. My daughter always says that “questions are inevitable” and she is right. But what if you don’t know how to ask? What if you don’t know that you should ask? Being a Patient and Family Advisor lets me help with that. I can draw from my experience and share what I have learned. It allows me to explain things from the patient’s perspective. I can be a resource to help make patient care better. Someone has to go first. Someone must be willing to put themselves out there. For my daughter, I can do that. 

If I can help one person understand something new, think of something in a way they haven’t before, or bring comfort through greater compassion, I have made a difference. My kids need someone to stand up for them and make the way a little easier, even if it is only for a little while. That’s why I am a Patient and Family Advisor – because I know I can do more to help. 

Timna Dulmer volunteers as a Patient and Family Advisor in UVM Children’s Hospital Transgender Youth Program. 

Patients and families have valuable wisdom, advice and experiences to share. We invite families to join our Patient/Family Advisory Council. Interested? Join us by visiting: https://www.uvmhealth.org/medcenter/Pages/Patients-and-Visitors/Patients/Patient-and-Family-Advisors.aspx 

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