Meeting My Transgender Son
20 years ago, I was pregnant with my second child. We lovingly nicknamed, PITA (aka Pain-in-the-ass), because I was placed on bed-rest at 20 weeks. In March of 2000, we welcomed (albeit a bit early) our second daughter. She was so tiny and precious.
By age 5, we knew that she was a little different, at first they tried to tell us that she had
some form of ADHD or some social behavior problems. It wasn't until the second grade, when her FANTASTIC teacher recognized the problem for what it was... The teacher recommended a proper evaluation and the tests came back. Our second grader was a highly-functioning gifted child on the Spectrum with Asperger's. She had learning deficiencies in mathematics.
Ah, the stories I will share with you about raising a child on the Spectrum, but those will wait for another day. Today, I'm talking about the day my child came to me to tell me that she was uncomfortable in her skin. She hated everything about being female. She had gender dysphoria and she identified as a boy.
It was odd, and one of those moments where you are surprised and not surprised at the same time. I was cautious though, I admit, at first, I didn't believe her. First, many of her friends and the social media sites she frequented all seemed to be on the "transgender" band-wagon and being someone that struggled with social nuances, I was afraid that she was being influenced. Secondly, she really did hate having a menstrual cycle, like REALLY hated it and boys didn't have one. So I thought in her mind she was simply equating female = period vs male <> period.
It's been a few years since that day. Little side note here, I'm going to post in the future on pronouns, but for this post you'll notice shifting pronouns, please bare with me and check back in for the transgender pronoun post. Since then, not only has he remained consistent in his beliefs, he has matured and continued with his stance. He has wanted to pursue chemical adjustments, however, I am strongly against chemical modifications until he has completed his growth. Frontal lobe development continues until the very early 20s, hormonal balances are still leveling out in the late teens, and for children on the spectrum, even if they have moments of sage maturity... generally, their emotionally maturity is behind their peers by a few years. So with those factors, he does not have my support to pursue chemical adjustments, NOW. However, that is not to say he will not have my support in the future.
I'm so happy that I have an amazing relationship with my child. Having raised a child on the spectrum, I had to do a lot of front lines battle triage in coping with emotional conflict and anxiety transference. It has helped immensely with the transgender business. More so for me than him, I think.
It's not all rainbows and Unicorn farts though, I struggle with the pronouns, it's so hard for me to make that mental shift as I'm talking. Additionally, his friends and his father's (I'm divorced) family refer to him by his chosen name. I simply can't bring myself to call him that. It's not because I am not proud of him. It's not because I don't love him. It's not because I disagree with his beliefs. No, it's simply the mother in my heart.
Twenty years ago, I created life, it resided under my heart. I breathed life into its form. I raised it. I slept on the couch next to it when it couldn't sleep. I fed it every two hours when it was hungry. I changed icky diapers when it developed lactose intolerance. I chose a name, a beautiful name. And for many, many years my darling child carried that name.
The memories I have of infancy, toddling, kindergarten.... they are not tied to a boy's name that only popped up a few years ago.
He tells me that the name I gave him is a dead name. He becomes uncomfortable when he hears it. I can understand that. I can realize that he doesn't want to hear it anymore. I can try very hard NOT to call him by that name. But.... I just can't make my mouth form the words to let the new name pass by my lips.
You see, even if, horror of horrors, his physical form left this plane, in my heart, the "it" that I gave life to, that I named, why... she would never be dead to me. Only waiting.
So, as a compromise, in our house, we use a nickname. We don't use the birth name, nor the chosen name. This way, we are as comfortable as we can be while still respecting the feelings of each other.
Now... about those pesky pronouns, that will have to be a message for another day.
I am so very proud of my child. To persevere when anxious about life. To find the strength to travel this journey that is so prone to conflict when conflict used to send him into the closet.
I admire the artistic ability of my child. He can create such amazing images and pictures and stories. Some of them simply take my breathe away and leave me in awe. To plug him, the banner above on my site, it is something he very quickly drew for me.
Each of my children is special, for my first child, she is my sunshine, at bedtime, her tuck-in song was "You are my Sunshine". For my second child, she is my bright star, her tuck-in song was "Twinkle, Twinkle". It's amazing how much of a star, shining so very bright, he has become.
I will leave today's post with a little bit of wisdom from the (at one time) sexah Capt Kirk.
Memories were the markers of the journey through life. It was necessary to know where you had come from. Only then could you know where you were going.