DEAR ABBY: My granddaughter just informed me she has decided she would be happier living as a boy, and she has gone so far as to legally change her name. I want to be supportive, but I admit I'm having a lot of trouble accepting it, or at least figuring out how to deal with it.
She's my only grandchild and most likely the only one I'll ever have. I loved my granddaughter with all my heart, and I don't know how to shift gears to a grandson. I keep stumbling when I try to use the new name. I would welcome any suggestions you could make, including information about support groups you might know of. -- GRANDMA IN PAIN
DEAR GRANDMA: Gender reassignment is not something that someone does on a lark. There are many steps involved, and the journey, while liberating, can be challenging both physically and emotionally. I am sure this is something your grandchild has given much thought to.
Yes, coming to terms with it can be as much of a journey for family as it is for the transgender person, and it can take time and understanding on all sides. A group called PFLAG can help you through this. It has been mentioned in my column for decades. It has helped countless families to build bridges of understanding between themselves and their lesbian, gay and transgender loved ones. Please don't wait to contact them. You will find PFLAG at pflag.org, and their phone number is (202) 467-8180.