A little over seventeen years ago I gave birth to an adorable baby boy. That day I discovered the greatest love I will ever know and even all these years later my child remains the most beautiful thing I keep in my heart.
On January 5th, 2019, my 15-year-old son confided in me that she was, in fact, a girl. That night we had a long conversation and at the end of it we both seemed to find a comfortable peace. Over the next couple weeks, she seemed more confident, more relaxed and less guarded. It was beautiful to watch. But then all the hostile complexities of being born in a body of the opposite gender started to present themselves: Issues finding a therapist that has a background in gender identity in children, finding a doctor for HRT -hormone replacement therapy, school officials recognizing her new name and gender, ability to use the correct bathroom, ignorant people, gender-friendly stores that allow her to use the correct dressing room or size her for a bra, horrific bullying and soul-crushing depression. I watched helplessly as every aspect of her young life became impossibly difficult overnight. I tried my best to stand by her and support her in every possible way. I tried to educate myself on transgender issues, I watched YouTube videos of parents with transgender children, I asked for advice from the pride resource group at my work and I joined PFLAG. However, at the end of the day, I am just the mother of a transgender child. I have no real understanding of the depths of her struggles. But she and I, DO know who she is. We have her gender identity nailed down and from that anchor she can truly begin to live an authentic life even when her path is so hard. That is a truth many people do not have the courage to live.
So, what did I do when my son told me she was female? I loved my daughter. Was it hard? No, loving my daughter is the easiest thing I have ever done. All the other stuff, the crap that occurs outside this house, that’s hard. But watching her discover her true self, develop her femininity, create her own style and step into the women she is meant to be is not hard at all. In fact, the inspiration and the strength and willpower she has shown is exquisite.
‘And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ‘
– Anais Nin