Open hearts. Honest conversations.

Episode 9: Transition

In this informative and heartfelt episode, Valerie is joined by Beckham and Sheila, an adult child-parent team who share their journey navigating conversations around Beckham’s gender identity, and trans journey. Each share their experience; how it felt, the supports they found along the way, and where they are today.

This episode brings to life the importance of validation, acceptance, and unconditional love through the lenses of both parent and child. This tenacious team worked over many years to maintain and ultimately grow their relationship, while expanding understanding of themselves as individuals, and becoming involved in the issues facing LGBTQ2S+ communities.

Show Notes

  • Recognition and appreciation for LGBTQ2S+ folks that have gone before us, who have worked so hard to bring transgender and queer issues to the forefront and out into public discourse, particularly acknowledging trans women of colour.

  • This journey for Beckham and Sheila began when Beckham was 16, in high school, and came out as gay or bisexual, telling their parents they were dating a woman.  At that time Beckham went by the name Rebecca and identified as female.

  • Beckham found support in their community through a high school counsellor, and a queer youth group.  Joining this group provided opportunities for supportive friendships and connections to events, as well as positive examples of older adults in the queer communities.

  • After high school, Beckham went away to university, which provided a ‘blank canvas’ and allowed for evolution and transformation.  Being away and independent provided space to explore gender and identity and to fully embark on their journey of self discovery without the worry of other people’s expectations.

  • During this time, Beckham expanded their understanding of gender and expression, transitioning their name to Beck and ultimately Beckham, changing their appearance and pronouns.

  • As a parent, navigating parenting a child who was working through figuring out their gender identity and expression, Sheila focused on learning and educating herself, building knowledge, and ultimately becoming an advocate.  She is also a supporter for parents at different stages of this journey.

  • Sheila emphasizes the importance of reaching out and locating communities that may be different than the ones you are in.

  • Parent’s support groups for Sheila included Family Services of the North Shore PROUD2BE parents group, and PFLAG, where she built meaningful and important connections with other parents who she would not have met within her own existing communities. 

  • A turning point for Sheila was finding people to connect with and forming friendships based on common experience and perspective.  These friendships, coupled with finding a relevant counsellor, helped to alleviate feelings of isolation and aloneness.

  • As a parent working through this, Sheila recognized the importance of taking care of herself through exercise and the outdoors.  Through counselling, she also knew that she had to process her own feelings rather than supress them.

  • Creating and maintaining open lines of communication is so important, and not always easy.  Space and time, between (difficult) conversations can be extremely helpful.  Also, being sure to continue to do every-day simple things together and continue to have regular conversations.

  • A parent can be their child’s greatest advocate.

  • Meet your child where they are.

  • Focus on unconditional love.

  • Validate…I see you, I hear you, I love you.  Validation is not approval; it is looking for the emotion behind what the person is saying.

  • Figure out how to show up for your child, it makes a big difference.

  • Become an ally.  Beckham offers an acronym for folks to consider: LEVEL UP which stands for; Listen and hold space, Educate yourself, Validate, Empathy- extend empathy, Love, Understand- seek to understand, Pronouns.

  • Know that kids change their minds.  Follow your child’s lead while keeping in mind kids don’t always know what they want, and/or they may not have the words/vocabulary for it, yet.

  • Today, Sheila lives close by Beckham and their family, which includes their partner and two children (+furry friends).  The interests Sheila and Beckham have always shared are alive and well, and they now know one another as adults.

  • Relationship is central, and these two may now be the closest they have ever been. 

  • There will be challenges and celebrations along the way; love your kid.

  • Reach out; resources are listed below.


  • Beckham Ronaghan holds a Masters of Social Work, is a registered Social Worker in BC, and has their own private practice offering a range of individual and group support and services.  Refer to Beckham’s website to learn more about working with them, and for detailed information about counselling and programs on offer.  Click here to view Beckham’s website and for their contact information.
  • Family Services of the North Shore PROUD2BE program offers drop-in support groups for young people who identify as LGBTQ2S+ and their parents, click here to learn more.
  • To access counselling for children, youth, and adults, through Family Services of the North Shore programs, email our intake counsellor
  • If you are interested in getting involved as a volunteer, click here to learn more.
  • If enjoyed the podcast and would like to support our work, click here to learn about becoming a donor.

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