Our daughter is 6yrs old. And she is transgender.
I have written about her before. About how she told us. About how she showed us who she really is. About our transition as a family. About this journey that has been bestowed upon us.
I market myself as an open book. You have questions. I am here to give you an answer from our POV.
How I see it, the more awareness that can be spread, the more acceptance (and not just tolerance) might spread.
The more people that know an individual like E, hopefully will mean the more people that will start opening their minds.
That’s the hope.
In actuality, by sharing our story and our life, I am putting our family in the danger zone.
I am opening our family up to criticism, hatred, evil.
I wish that weren’t the case. But in today’s society, it is what it is. Unfortunately.
But is has honestly never bothered me.
You want to stare at my child with a scowl on your lips and a wrinkle in your forehead? Go ahead. Your wrinkles dont parent my children.
You want to make a snide comment? Voice it. Show me your true colors.
You want to question my parenting? I dare you. In fact, I have 2 extra-ordinary kids that I’d hand over for a little while. Let’s see how long you last with them.
I digress. I was in my own bubble and never once let anyones judgment get to me.
4 years ago, E wore her first dress. My gut instantly knew this wasnt going to be just a short phase. I told my gut “shhh” and I stuffed that feeling down deep.
I wanted it to just be a phase. I knew what society would say. But regardless, I still loved her unconditionally. I had no issue letting her wear whatever feminine thing she wanted. Whenever she wanted. It made her happy. And that is all I cared about.
Of course, my position was fought at every step of the way by my immediate family members. One told me I was abusing my child. One didnt want any outside family members to know.
And yet I fought and I resisted them. And I continued to be battled.
She was happy. So her and I became a team. A united front.
Fast forward to 8 months ago. When all hell was breaking lose. I didnt know what to do. I would cry myself to sleep. My eyes twitched constantly from stress. I put on a lot of weight. And I had to have emergency surgery.
When we made the private decision to gently try out transitioning (and by we, I definitely mean E and I), it was as if a light switch flipped.
And the rest they say, is history.
But it’s not history. It is our present life. It is ever evolving. Family members that weren’t on board, are getting there.
And my once 100% confidence is weakening.
I know this is the right path for our family. And I know I would never change our journey for anything. Because it is our journey. This is our story.
But something hit me out of the blue last week.
Fear for my child.
Fear for my family.
Fear for our future.
Pure, unbridled, sweat inducing, heart racing, fear.
So I did what I do best. And I packed it in an box, tied an anchor to it. I stuffed it down. And I thrown it overboard. To deal with later.
But being attached to an anchor, this fear is holding me back. It is time to confront it. It is time for me to open the box. To examine each jagged edge and smooth surface. It is time to pinpoint the weak spots, and strengthen them.
Having a transgender child, is not something I ever imagined about or dreamed about or wanted.
But a transgender child calls me mama. And she will always be my baby. This is the hand we were dealt. And it was a hand that I didnt know I needed.
I will always protect her. From bullies, and hate, and even herself.
I will always fight to make her strong. Helping her face adversity head on.
I will always give her the tools to overcome. Showing her how to surpass any hurdles she may encounter.
I will always have an open conversation with her. Following her lead, I will listen to her wherever this journey takes us.
And I will always make sure she is surrounded by a pack that loves her and accepts her unconditionally.
But first things first. I need to face this fear I did not know I had hidden away. Or maybe I had it and forgot about it.
Her older sister is fairly neurotypical and cisgender. In terms of being afraid for her future and her safety….never once has it crossed my mind.
She can use the restroom without fear of someone being afraid of her. She can wear what she wants without others making snide comments about how it doesnt match her gender. She doesnt have to worry about being discriminated against when she starts working, or moving out of the house, or visiting the doctors.
She doesnt have to worry about the wrong person finding out and saying mean, hurtful, hateful things about her.
I have been programmed to know what society believes is normal. And abnormal. I know how people view those deemed abnormal or not typical or <insert your favorite less than term here>.
So when her sister came along, our whole worldview shifted. Upside down, inside out, backwards, and diagonally down a 1000ft cliff.
However, I was more prepared as we were catapulted into a dark ravine. E and I were buds. Through thick and thin. I was (and still am) with her every step she took.
When she socially transitioned, I never experienced this period of grief over losing my only son that others have described.
Honestly, I felt kind of jipped. And guilty. My inner voice almost convinced myself that maybe I really didn’t want a boy, and that E being trans is definitely all of my doing.
But I knew this was the correct path. And I only questioned myself, and my sanity, because I was literally the only one that was at this point in the journey.
I wasnt afraid. Then. I saw the instant change in E. I felt it. My soul had goosebumps that first day we socially transitioned.
I had talked to the teachers and principal. I talked to counselors, her occupational therapist. I researched for hours upon hours and read book after book. I joined any and all support groups I could.
I was slightly hesitant. But never afraid.
B is at an age where her friends are super curious and have questions. Nothing harmful. Just curious.
Which is fine. And we have come up with scripts for the kids. We have discussed it with the school staff. They have reached out to support groups to get confirmation or changes.
But B does not have a filter. And she lacks impulse control. If she says the wrong thing to the wrong child that then mention to their parent who has hateful intentions…what then?
I shouldn’t have to be worried about my child going to the bathroom. But I am. I am scared. When we are out and about – not a big deal bc I will be there. But at school? It takes one kid to be extra curious and extra nosy. One kid.
Having E use the nurses room is an unacceptable option because A) when E needs to go, she needs to go. And B) that is just another level of discrimination and intolerance.
But it is more than just the bathroom.
(Before we go any further, I need to be VERY CLEAR. Yes. I am fully aware that E is 6. Her gender identity is fluid. And maybe she will be back to L tomorrow. I will love her unconditionally and that does not invalidate my feeling fearful)
If the current political atmosphere were not so conducive to people being so visible with their hatred and intolerances, then maybe I wouldn’t feel this way. And hopefully I won’t have to feel this way anymore soon.
But let’s pretend that LGBTQ discrimination is still rampant for the foreseeable future.
I am scared that people will send us death threats and accuse me of abuse, or even calling CPS on us.
I am afraid of her encountering a teacher that doesnt get it.
I am afraid that someone is going to say something in a public space in front of E, and it will crush her.
I am tired of telling doctors and medical staff to call L, E instead and then them blatantly ignoring the request bc she was born with a penis. (Yes. I know for insurance and legal reasons, they cannot change her name until we legally change it. But not legally changing it, has no effect on what someone prefers to be called)
I am afraid that she will be bullied and taunted her entire life. And I will always have to be on suicide watch. It’s a fact. Our trans youth are over 50% more likely to commit suicide than their cisgender peers)
I am scared she wont get hired somewhere. Or be able to rent a place to live. I am scared that she will be denied adoption bc God created only Adam and Eve and not Steve who was born in the wrong body.
I am scared about the family and friends she will lose. And I fear that she will never find true love. Someone that truly and wholeheartedly accepts her for her.
I am afraid of her being murdered, just for being her.
I know most of these are illogical. And would never happen. But these, and so many other minuscule details, keep me awake at night.
As I confront my fears, I am reminded that what we are doing, the progression of our journey, is going in the correct direction.
It is because of these fears that consume my brainwaves at night, the our daughters will be strong, resilient, confident, persistent, compassionate, thoughtful, advocates.
E is E. And my fear will never take that away.