Story as told by glenda emory...
When I was asked to write an article on raising a trans child I had to pause a moment because my child’s trans story isn’t a typical one. My first born was born a normal physical male and was healthy and beautiful. I named him Alexander and raised him to think for himself. He had a normal childhood. Loved legos, cars, and wanted to be in the army. He was always given a choice of what clothes to wear and what toys he wanted to play with. He never gravitated towards anything other than what would be normal boy things.
Many friends who are trans say they knew almost their whole lives that they were different. That they didn’t like male clothing or playing male centric games and feeling at odds with their parents, friends, and society. This was not our experience.
My child expressed a desire to be female after moving out of the house to start their own life. To say this completely shocked me is an understatement. I have always taught my children to think for themselves and to be independent. I never wanted to force them to be anything they didn’t want to be.
I was horrified when given the news. Not because I don’t want my child to be trans, but all the struggle, fear, and outright danger this decision poses. Too many trans people end up dead because of small minded people. I don’t want that for them. I do want them to be happy, safe, and fulfilled in whatever way that looks like.
To say I have grieved my son is an understatement. I questioned everything I ever did with them up to that point. Did I somehow miss the signs? Did I damage my child putting them in boy clothes? I am still struggling to accept it all, but I am working on letting go the child I thought I had while embracing this new person she is becoming. It hasn’t been easy. We’ve used the wrong name and pronoun more than once. Not out of lack of acceptance, but forgetting about the new state of being and operating on autopilot.
Making the transition isn’t just about the person doing the transition. If they come from a loving family that accepts them it is also a transition for the family too. It is like the child you thought you had is gone and that takes time to get over. It’s ok to worry about them and how this process changes them and the medical side effects. It’s ok to ask questions even if it makes everyone uncomfortable. You’re going to make mistakes. Don’t beat yourself up too much even when they freak out when you do.
Bottom line is that this is something you can’t help them with in any other way except for holding space for them and supporting them however they need and however they will let you. Be gentle with them and yourself.