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When I Say My Daughter is Transgender, Believe Me.

A transgender girl in a polka dot dress on the cover of people

Many transgender people have made their story public in recent decades, including Nikki (above) a 12-year-old who graced the cover of People magazine in June.

Decorated war veteran Kristin Beck made headlines in recent weeks after Anderson Cooper interviewed her on CNN.  If you missed the story, she's the former Navy SEAL who recently came out as a transgender woman, and she's just published a memoir, Warrior Princess

The Today Show aired a clip of Cooper's interview with Beck, and hosts Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer provided this titillating introduction to the shocking story:

Guthrie: "Now to the secret life of a former Navy Seal. It's just been revealed and it's getting a lot of attention!"

Lauer: "As you might imagine!"

Stop the presses!  A former man is now living as a… woman!? 

As a parent of a young transgender child, I encounter this type of disbelief on a daily basis. My child is five years old, was born anatomically male, and has identified strongly and unvaryingly as female from the moment she could speak.  When I tell people that my son is now my daughter, the responses are remarkably predictable.  Faces cloud with confusion.  People seem to wonder if they've heard me correctly. Or they suggest that it's probably a phase, or that my son is just gay. They tell me that their little boy used to try on his big sister's dresses, too, but not to worry—it all worked out okay in the end. 

They are generally very kind and curious.  But I can tell that the idea of my child is entering their consciousness like a visitor from an alien galaxy.  They walk away from our conversations with stunned and thoughtful looks on their faces, as if they're thinking, "Did she really just say that?"

The problem I encounter most often is not one of prejudice, but of incredulity. People generally don't reject us; instead, they tend to view my child as an exotic object of fascination, something far too rare to be threatening.

Just as we did with gay people until a few decades ago, we still speak of transgender people—if we speak of them at all—in hushed asides, as if their existence is more shadowy legend than reality, kind of like Sasquatch. Despite a large and growing pile of evidence to support their existence, it seems like most Americans still don't actually believe in transgender people.  Not as normal people, anyway.  We've seen them as circus-side-show-style freaks on shows like Jerry Springer, or as racy plot twists in movies (remember The Crying  Game?). But we don't really see them for what they are:  A fairly uncommon but ever-present version of human being, found throughout history in every racial group, culture, nationality, religion, and class. They are our friends, neighbors, colleagues, and yes, our children. 

During her CNN interview, Beck explained how she had always felt that she was in the wrong body, how uncomfortable it had been for her, how she had fought for years to resist the urge to live as a woman before finally giving in and living in accordance with her true identity. 

It's a sad and inspiring story, and I admire Beck for having the courage to tell it.  But when it comes to the transgender population, we seem to suffer from a chronic case of recurrent amnesia.  If we didn't, Kristin Beck would not be news at all.   

Back in 1976, professional tennis player Renée Richards made international headlines when she sought to enter the US Open as a transgender woman. In 1992, Althea Garrison became the first transgender state legislator when she was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives. In 2007, a Barbara Walters special featured a six-year-old child named Jazz who had been born apparently male but was living – happily, and with her parents' full support – as a girl. In 2009, Chastity Bono, only child of Cher and Sony Bono, announced to the world that he was a transgender man named Chaz.  In 2010, one of the "Wachowski Brothers" (makers of the Matrix movies) publicly transitioned from Larry to Lana

Each of these stories has had ample media attention, and all would appear to confirm the existence of transgender people.   And yet, our lack of faith is stubborn. We're not really convinced. How many miracles must we witness before we come to believe?

I think I know something about how Kristin Beck feels.  Like me, she is probably suffering from shock fatigue.  Like me, she probably longs for the day when a person's gender identity is treated like left-handedness.  But I don't expect that day to arrive very soon.

Jennifer Finney Boylan, herself a transgender woman, hit the nail on the head in her best-selling memoir, She's Not There, writing:

"Even now, a discussion of transgendered people frequently resembles nothing so much as a conversation about aliens.  Do you think there really are transgendered people?  Has the government known about them for years and kept the whole business secret?…Have they been living among us for years?"

She published these words ten years ago. Oprah Winfrey interviewed her on her show at the time, broadcasting Boylan's story to the world.  Her story is remarkably similar Kristin Beck's: years of failed attempts to suppress her urge to be female, then finally transitioning in her forties, after marrying and having children. The only difference between Boylan and Beck is their careers: Boylan is a college professor and writer, presumably a more acceptable job for a woman than that of the professional warrior.

Part of the problem is one of numbers.  Transgender people just aren't that thick on the ground.  While research shows that gays and lesbians probably make up around 3.5 percent of the human family, transgender folks number something like 700,000 people in the United States.  With only about .3 percent of Americans identifying as transgender, it's a lot easier to not invite them to the family reunion, or to just pretend we're not related at all.

But as the mother of a transgender child, I can't do that.  Nor would I wish to.  And believe me, you wouldn't want my child to attend family gatherings as a boy.  She'd be miserable and badly behaved, the way she was in that long, sad year when I resisted her constant efforts to convince me that I'd actually got her gender all wrong. But as a girl, she'd be the life of the party.  You'd be glad you decided to have kids at your wedding.  When the band starting playing, you'd dance with her, and I promise you, you'd be swept off your feet.  

This author is anonymous, but read more about her parenting journey at gendermom.com.


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Comments

95 comments have been made. Commenting is set to read-only for this post.

I wish you were my mom!

I wish you were my mom! You're awesome.

I wish more parents could

I wish more parents could accept their children's feelings and needs. We would have a much healthier society.

Thank you!

It's frustrating work to keep communicating about transgender existence, but it's so valuable.

This was just perfection.

This was just perfection. Excellent post!

Your child would be welcome

Your child would be welcome in my home for play dates any day. Thank you for loving your child unconditionally - there are many parents who don't for reasons far more trivial. How lucky your girl is.

Great article, but was

Great article, but was shocked to see you were anonymous - if you are calling out the issue of there not being enough transgendered people to really rise above the ignorance, don't be anonymous! As part of the transgendered side of the human family (or so close to it anyways), let us get to know you as our own :) Also I think those stats are too low - (maybe because of the anonymity thing).

Anonymity makes sense in this case

If the author of the article had been writing about her own gender identity, then I too would probably be shocked to see it was posted anonymously. But she's writing about her underage child, who may not be ready to be publicly outed just yet. It should be the child's choice to be out only when she is ready, and not one that is forced upon her, so I think her mom made the right call in being anonymous.

To the author: You're an awesome mom. Thank you for listening to your child and letting her be who she is meant to be.

The mom isn't transgender but

The mom isn't transgender but her daughter is. When it comes to a kid's safety and anonymity, as powerful as being out might be, it isn't always safe or plausible, or her mom's decision to make.

Fear

I wouldn't reveal my name as this parent, not out of shame either. Out of fear, it's hard enough to raise a kid. As a parent one constantly worries, much like with my own... I would to be too afraid some psycho might come breaking out of the wood work.
I just moved my daughter into her first apartment. I took the last carload of stuff two towns over. I had to be to work myself shortly thereafter. Tonight was the first time she had to walk to her apartment by herself. I put pepper spray, brass knuckles, and a pocket knife on her keys. I also had her download a 911 application with an automatic G.P.S. upload to her local dispatch on her phone.
One of my closest childhood friends is a Transgirl. She did my make up for my prom. We are still extremely close. I've grown up in the Trans community, and still remain extremely emotionally invested in it.
Trans or not, this world is not a safe one for girls. Publishing this article anonymously had little to do with compromising this child's identity, sexual orientation, or 'outing' this little girl's place in the world. Her mummy already did that with grace, and a watchful eye over her safety. She was right to do so, for that I commend her.

I agree, Tay, that the stats

I agree, Tay, that the stats are probably way too low & likely because of the anonymity but I also have to agree with everyone else who replied to you regarding the anonymity of the original poster. There are still people who face a lot of violence due to their transgenderism & no parent wants to put their child in the way of that. Sometimes, even as an adult, a person can be in a situation that can put their health or life on the line by being open about being transgendered. A person can put forth their opinions, beliefs, & their share of "education" without coming out in order to raise the awareness of what the world needs to know in order for them to be able to come out safely at some future point. The information & educational awareness of being trans* is not valid only when attributed to a "name" but by a person actually living it. I'm a transman & while I have no problem with coming out, I still recognize that there are certain situations where discretion can be the better part of valor & I firmly believe each individual has to make their own call on whether their coming out is safe for them or not.

And by the way, thanks for the support. Even tho this mom didn't ID herself or her child, you still backed her & your voice will add to the awareness & education needed so that some day she can feel safe giving their names to a bunch of strangers.

Luka Phoenix

YOU my friend are an awesome

YOU my friend are an awesome mom, but try to cut people a little slack.....not everyone who say ' a lot of boys go through a phase ' is saying we don't accept your child, or take your child at her word, they may simply be sharing the only "relate-able" experience that they have had......now if they say 'all kids go through a phase it'll be okay', as if it isn't okay if it isn't just a phase, well then i guess we're talking about something else...........after my miscarriage a lot of well meaning people said a lot of really stupid people just because they didn't really know what to say and had never been where i was......thanks for sharing your story and blessings to you and your daughter

I agree

I agree with Tracey on this point. I myself have a three year old who took a little longer to form a solid gender identity. For quite a while, he would say that he was a boy, but that when he grew up, he would be a woman like mommy. This didn't bother us in any way, but it took him about a year to decide that he was not only a boy, but that he would grow up to be a man. He may change his mind again, or decide that he is actually something closer to androgynous when he learns that concept. He stole tutus from his older sister and moved them from his dress up clothes to his regular dresser, but he no longer expresses the desire to be a girl. He simply sees pretty clothes as something else a boy can wear. So many people probably experience this gender fluidity in small children that it's hard for them to conceptualize a child that small forming a solid trans identity. I'm looking forward to a day when we're not only comfortable with cis and trans identities, but all the spaces in between. When it comes to sexuality and gender expression, our culture is just too obsessed with binaries.

gender identity

I can feel what you're saying here. I think it is highly unfortunate that we impress upon young children that they must conform to either end of the gender spectrum. Especially since gender isn't a concept that's developed until well into the toddler years. Additionally, if a child does sway dramatically to the opposite gender as their sex, especially once they're old enough to be in school, they're often stuck that way. They can begin to dress and act according to their sex again, but their peers are far less quick to forget that 'phase' they went through.

oh, i don't know. there's

oh, i don't know. there's just as much damage done by raising a child genderless as there is forcing a gender identity upon them.

in my family, i'm the one down at the front door yelling "are we GOING or WHAT!!!!?" while my husband is the one in the bathroom yelling back "i just have to fix my hair!". if you're at the playground and you see a little girl wearing a camo t-shirt, shark-print pants, barbie sandals, a tutu, dragonball-Z strap-on sunglasses, and her ponytail half undone while burying an ant hill, that's probably our daughter. her room is decorated in pink and purple with sparkles and jewels (at her own obstinate insistance) but the drawer with all her Hot Wheels, GI Joe, Avengers, and other such action figures is right below the drawer that has all her ballet stuff.

humans NEED to belong - we NEED to know where we fit in our family, in our community, in our society, and in the human race as a whole. whether anybody likes it or not, "male" and "female" is part of it. if there really were no difference between male and female, we'd all look and sound exactly the same.

Patience

Yes. This. You've said it exactly. I totally agree.

The way we deal with things is by categorization. It's how our schema functions. It's how we make sense of the world. Even transgender, and everything in between, fits in some sort of category. Granted, it may take a while for majority categories to get used to minority categories, and vice versa, but just because many of us are confused by differences doesn't mean we won't accept them eventually. But confusion about where to categorize someone is not being ignorant or insensitive - it's attempting to make sense of something new (to that person.) Perhaps we all need a little more patience.

'phase'

Being transgender isn't a 'phase'. My gender was locked in from the moment I could express myself. I was a little girl and I would only wear dresses. If my mom put pants on me, at age 1, I'd cry until she took them off. If she put them on me at age 2, I'd take them off myself. And after that, she just stopped buying me pants.
I don't understand what "sway dramatically means". I don't think you fully understand what being transgender is. It isn't something you can sway dramatically to and from. Your gender is your gender, no matter the plumbing you have. You know from a young age if you are a girl, a boy or neither. I really don't understand your post at all.

actually...

Sarah, not everyone does know what binary gender they are from a young age, and some don't ever conform to a binary gender even as adults. I have several genderqueer or genderfluid friends and myself identify as "femme androgyne". You might be lucky enough to have transitioned to one specific binary gender, for a given value of lucky, but not everybody is, not everybody feels comfortable stuck in just one gender slot. Why should they be pressured to?

I'm right there with you,

I'm right there with you, Tara. I'm genderfluid, in a very obviously female body, and identify as some flavor of male more often than I identify as female. My most common lately has been a 99.9% gay (meaning bisexual, but STRONGLY prefering men) or 50/50 bisexual guy, with a knack for crossdressing (meaning that while my outward presentation is "girl in a dress", I FEEL like "guy in a dress"). Sometimes I'm neither gender, sometimes I'm a guy, sometimes I'm a girl, sometimes I'm both...I'm all over the gender spectrum.
And it's unlucky sots like us who are really screwed. The human body isn't designed to genderslide from one set of equipment to the other, nor is there any surgery that can make it so.

And hell, I didn't know I was this was until I got out of college. Why? Because I was raised as a conservative Catholic girl. Given my upbringing, it didn't even OCCUR to me to be anything other than what my parents told me I was.

And to top it all off, I'm

And to top it all off, I'm pansexual. So not only does my gender vary on the day, so does my sexuality. Because if I'm having a guy day where I prefer women, technically that would make me a straight guy in a female body. Or if I'm feeling like a gay guy, everyone thinks I'm a straight chick because outwardly I have tits and am, at the moment, preferring male company.

not all of us know right

not all of us know right away, though. I didn't know I was trans until I was almost through college, for example (though looking back, I can see signs from when I was pretty young). and, of course, genderfluid people exist, and people who question their gender identity. all of that is every bit as valid as someone who knew from when they were an infant. :)

transgender

Hi, I really am replying to you as a mom learning these things; you remind me alot of my fifteen year old daughter. Two years ago she came out to my husband and I as being gay. We were not at all surprised. She was the same. By the time she was 7 I believe she was firm in her knowledge of whom she was. We were in a new neighborhood and she went missing past time. I went from street to street asking for my daughter by name. No one knew her; I was stumped as I knew she had made many friends easily. I have to add here that already, the clothes I bought her disappeared and I never knew where she found all the boys clothes. Finally I described her to a group of young children and they all responded at once, "Oh, you mean Michael. He was here with us and went to such and such." I spoke to parents of her new friends and was so humiliated because she had told them that her mom was poor and asked if they had any clothes their friend had outgrown, in different ways. Well, that solved one mystery (smile). While the past two years she has been free in being gay, she had me cut her hair with a man's style after spending the day as a family choosing just the right one. She has all new clothes and has had, I mean styles for boys. She is mistaken for a boy at this time anyhow. She came to us yesterday and said she was confused because she thought she was transgender. Ok. I am fine and we support her but she is just as confused as I am with all the implications. For one, she has asked to be known as 'he' or 'him'. Not a problem. We have been affectionately calling her Michael for years. Well she asked how to legally change her name to a boys name and asked us (my husband and I) to help choose a name for her. I am looking into that now but we absolutely support her decision 100%. Well, I thought you sounded like someone that could really help me to help my daughter a little more because there are many more obstacles for her where we are and we would like to give her the least obstacles possible. Absolutely any help or response would be so much appreciated. What else can we do to help her to be happy and complete. She is an amazing girl and so strong, very firm with knowing her importance over ignorance; she is just confused as to what she can do to be that person. We would like to help her; she is relying on us.

these words

This was well-written and the last few sentences brought tears to my eyes.

As a trans woman myself, I

As a trans woman myself, I say well done to you. Your daughter is a lucky girl.

Z

So glad that you are

So glad that you are supportive of your child and end the post with the gender pronoun "she." Point of clarification: Was your use of "my son" earlier in the post a reflection of other people's perceptions, or the term that you still use?''

In any case, thank you for this post and for sharing your journey with us.

Intersection of identity & age

I feel like this is kind of an unsatisfying essay, actually. It attacks a strawman of transphobic people who don't think that transgendered people exist at all. I suspect that there is a sizeable crowd of people who are perfectly aware and comfortable with transgendered people (and may even be allies to the community) but who wonder whether a 5-year-old child has a strong enough conception of gender identity and their relationship to it to be characterized as "transgender".

The author draws multiple analogies to GLB people in this essay--but I suspect many of us would question the value of trying to determine or label a child's orientation at 5 given their extremely early indicators of social or sexual interests.

I'm not saying that a 5 year old couldn't be transgendered, but that this essay entirely misses addressing this question.

@Joel, I agree

@Joel, I agree wholeheartedly.

I believe that gay people exist, but I don't think that a child should be considered "gay" (or "straight") until s/he is at the very least adolescent, and experiences actual sexual attraction. Let that child grow up, experiment, experience, then decide for him/herself.

Similarly, I don't think that a child should be considered "transgendered" until s/he is much older. Your child who was born genetically a male wants to play with dolls and jump rope and wear a dress? Why can't he? Why does s/he need to be labeled and categorized? Particularly in a way that makes it difficult to change? Let the kids experiment with gender roles, then decide for themselves when they are more fully developed psychologically and emotionally.

The kid in the article would be welcome at any party I throw. Not as a boy. Not as a girl. But as Nikki or Joey or whatever the child's name is.

You don't think ...

What clinical experience in working with children makes you say that a child "shouldn't be considered transgender" until they're older? What science are you using to make the determination of when a child's assertion of their gender should be taken seriously?

Being transgender isn't a defect, physical ailment, or mental illness. Nonetheless, there's a very large body of medical and psychological data on transgender people. Even before the recognition of trans identities, the psychological professions had long seen transgender people on their couches. Why? The distress at being unable to be recognized for oneself is very real and can cause deep trauma over time, possibly resulting in a need for therapy. Some transgender people opt for medical intervention, such as hormone therapy (which is frequently more about brain chemistry than anything externally visible). Thus physicians have a large body of experience dealing with transgender people.

Children have been transitioning at a young age for at least 2 decades. What is new is that it is no longer universally hidden. There is a large body of experience in distinguishing between casual gender exploration by cisgender children and the assertion of identity by transgender children. The psychological professions are very conservative about this.

You're entitled to your opinion, but consider whether you have enough data and experience to back it up.

Joel ... Age/Intersection

I doubt if the child considers herself 'transgendered'. This is a term we assign in order to communicate the situation and condition as we see it. She identifies as female. As a girl. That's all. Pretty simple. And a person's sexual identity is set by age 6 if not sooner. We are not talking 'orientation' here either. This has nothing to do with sexuality as we commonly think about it as adults.

She is. That is all.

The problem with this idea

The problem with this idea (while sounding egalitarian), is that people don't become imbued with sexual attraction and gender identity the moment they hit puberty. Children touch their genitals because it feels good, they desire the attention of people they find "attractive" (ask any parent whose child has fallen 'in love' with the babysitter). I knew long before I had a word for "gay" or "bi" that the way I liked the girl next door was not the same as the way I liked my grandma.

Saying "gender/sexual identity doesn't exist!" is dismissing the child's feelings and reality. Of course a boy can play with dolls and wear a dress. But this isn't what that is- this child is not saying "I want to be a girl SO I can play with dolls", she's saying "People tell me I'm a boy, but *inside* I'm a girl".

I agree but...

...but what does it mean for a 5 year old when they say "inside I'm a girl"? How does a 5 year old even understand the concept of gender identity or how it "feels" like one way or another? What's going on in a 5 year old's head when "People tell me I'm a boy, but *inside* I'm a girl"?

And in fact, what happens in an adult's head? I'm a 39 year old man and yet I still can't tell you how being "male" feels like. Or better to say: I don't feel like "a man" or "a woman", I'm just "me", and I happen to be genetically male. But I don't have any sort of list in my head of how I'm supposed to feel like and that I checkmark to see if I meet all my "guy" requirements.

This is qualitatively different than the question of sexual attraction, since that's much easier to answer. I think at its core, this is the central question of why cis-gendered people don't know how to relate yet to transgender folk.

okay, let's test your theory:

okay, let's test your theory: put on makeup and women's clothing and go for a walk.

if it really is meaningless, you should have no problem with that.

That is completely beside the

That is completely beside the point. You'd test nothing but his comfort with weathering our society's bias and ill treatment of feminine men.

Putting on a costume isn't going to help cis folk relate to gender dysphoria.

It's not what you wear

Exactly. My question isn't about dressing up in any way. It's about what does it mean when a 5-year old boy says "I feel like a girl". How does that kid actually understand the concept of boy and girl and why he or she isn't one and is the other. I'm really trying to understand (again, gay here!), but no one has been able to explain this.

"I'm a 39 year old man..."

"I'm a 39 year old man..." Ok, let's run with that.

Would you be perfectly fine if from this day forward, everyone you come in contact with addresses you as "ma'am" or "miss"? Would you be perfectly fine if when talking about you, everyone calls you "that woman" or "female" or any other term that signifies being female?

Would those things bother you? Why?

Call me whatever you want, why would I care?

Given that I'm gay, in our world we have no problems referring to each other as "she" or "her" or "miss", since gay men strongly identify with the traditional "powerless but at the same time powerful women" stereotype.

Soooooo, yeah, I don't care what people call me and it doesn't bother me.

You're confusing sexuality

You're confusing sexuality with gender identity. Gender develops much earlier than sexual attraction. And, yes, in some cases gender is fluid and kids go through "phases". But isn't it better to just say "she's transgendered" or "she's a she because she said so" rather than just shrug off the child's feelings? Children experiment with their identity for years. Do we always tell them they'll "grow out of it", or do we validate their experience and feelings? If, at puberty, the child reverts back to their originally presumed gender, then you can look back at the former time as a phase. If that doesn't happen, then it wasn't a phase. In the meantime, compassion, empathy and understanding is part of parenting, regardless of gender.

Gender isn't preference

You don't need to be attracted to ANYONE to know what gender you are; I'm a biological male who is bisexual but mostly prefers women. On the other hand, I have always felt more like a woman myself, and the only thing holding me back from transitioning is that I am 6'5" and built, hairy as a caveman with a very deep bass voice... there's no fixing me, it just won't happen; I'd be the most depressingly obvious trans in the world.

People often forget that you don't have to be gay to be trans. There are quite a few MTF who KNOW that they are women inside, become a woman on the outside, and yet never once feel an attraction to men at all. The same for FTM. So you can't say that gender expression should have to wait until puberty so they know who they are attracted to. They might be "straight" in preference and trans in gender expression, and that doesn't detract at all from their being trans.

Also, every story of a young trans person strikes me very hard, because I've been told by several doctors that if I had been openly trans and supported by my family at the age I first realized I was a woman on the inside (I figured it out for myself at 7, although my family says there were lots of signs as young as 2) if I had been willing to express myself and had my family's backing, I could have started hormone treatment before hitting puberty, which would have been able to hold back all the raging testosterone that turned me into Sasquatch... but since my father is an abusive bigot and my mother was forcibly removed from my life as a "bad influence" for allowing me to be myself, I was allowed to grow up in a hyper-masculine body that I will never be able to accept.

With how much technology can accomplish today, it is more important than ever before to catch trans youth while they still have the option to take hormone treatments to hold off puberty. In many cases, doctors even recommend it as a way of giving the child more time to make up their mind before locking themselves in as one gender or the other.

The Child

It doesn't matter what you think. It matters how the child feels. It also matters that transgendered children are not born to a person like you. I can imagine the little one telling you that they want to wear a dress and you telling them to wait until they have reached sexual maturity. They don't even know what that means at such a young age. It's not about sex, it's about identity. They are two things that are very different and very similar in their own rights. In this case, "sex" is defined by the psychological state that the child finds themselves in.

It's important to remember

It's important to remember that gender and sexuality are different and develop differently. Children have a much clearer understanding of gender by preschool than we give them credit for. Just ask a 3-year-old if boys wear dresses. I'd say that the author's daughter clear enough about being a girl that she acts out when not allowed to live as such. It's important to recognize and respect that. If she decides in 2, 5, 10, or 20 years that she identifies differently, she can decide that then. For now, it's important to respect her right to self-determination.
Of course, there are plenty of people who are educating themselves about trans issues and supportive to the community. At the same time, there are still plenty of people who perceive people who are trans as offensive, odd, or fascinating. Even if these folks are 1 out of 10, it makes an impact. I suspect the ratio of people who are curious or fascinated is much higher than that however. I believe part of the author's point is that this fascination still serves to "other" her daughter and contribute to a feeling of alienness. It is not overt transphobia or discrimination, but more subtle. I think this is one of the reasons it is important to educate ourselves using books, media, and online resources (created by trans people).

shock fatigue?

I feel like the author might be misreading people's reactions a bit. After all, not every raised eyebrow stems from someone's total disbelief in transgender existence. I'ts hard to imagine a parent having daily conversations regarding the sex of their 5-year-old without actively seeking that attention. Just spouting "My son is now my daughter!" to random strangers, I mean... as a kid, how would you have felt if your mother discussed your genitals with absolutely everyone she met? Maybe there's a more tactful way to put it when/if the subject of your child's gender even comes up? How many confused looks might have less to do with this idea 'entering people's consciousness' and more to do with your timing, phrasing, and social skills? How much of your own identity and self-worth comes from being an 'an exotic object of fascination'? When was the last time you had a lefty's mom corner you at a PTA meeting and artificially steer the topic of conversation to their enlightened ambidextrous household, percentage of handedness, best age for surgical hand transplants... would be a little odd, right?

Anyway, that's just my two cents. :P

WTF? When did the author say

WTF? When did the author say she "spouts 'My son is now my daughter!' to random strangers"? Do you imagine her walking down the street accosting every random stranger she sees to shout, "My son is now my daughter!!!!!" ? What a ludicrous thought. Can you not imagine that she is just a normal mother who happens to have a transgender child and has normal conversations with friends and acquaintances and that the fact that her daughter is transgender is a significant topic of conversation? Furthermore, you equate talking about someone being transgender to talking about someone's genitals - which is utter rubbish and is itself extremely ignorant. Being transgender is a huge part of many people's identities and experiences - it is not a mere matter of whether they have a penis and balls or a vagina and clitoris. If she wanted to talk about penises, she would have talked about penises. Being lesbian is a huge part of my identity and experience, and I'll be damned if I talk to someone about personal matters for more than 30 minutes before they know that I'm lesbian. You don't equate talking about how someone's (non-transgender/cisgender) daughter is a girl / girly to talking about her genitals, do you? I didn't think so. So don't treat trans people differently! And please educate yourself about transgender issues before posting inappropriate comments and advise to their educated articles.

Take your crappy cents back.

Take your crappy cents back. Nobody wants them

Left-Handers still don't have it easy

"Like me, she probably longs for the day when a person’s gender identity is treated like left-handedness."

Left-handedness is not a good example. It's hazardous to be left-handed....many tools are not designed for lefties, and if you can get lefty friendly versions, you have to custom order them and pay more.

She would be welcome in my

She would be welcome in my home any day. Well done to you, and best wishes!

Hogwash

At 5, neither you nor the child is competent to determine transgender or any other sexual status. Wait until puberty and then see. Meanwhile, dress them in gender appropriate clothing, or at least gender neutral clothing, and stop discussing sex with children to young to comprehend it.

And how would you know that?

And how would you know that? Are you transgender? Have you talked to someone who is transgender? Do you even KNOW anyone who is transgender? If you did they would tell you they've known their whole life. The happiness of your child is more important than whether people think it's "appropriate" or not. It has nothing to do with sexuality, it has to do with identity.

When did you know you were a male?

I am a transgendered woman. I knew I was a girl at age 5 & before. When did you realize you were a boy? I imagine you are male, because most people who have issues with transgendered people are male. The level of pompousness you show is beyond idiotic. If you don't understand something, become educated. Don't spout your opinion as fact until you understand the issues. Ask any psychologist when a child realizes their gender - it's around 4 or 5 years old. Gender is different the sex. Get educated, then comment.

When did you know you were a male?

I am a transgendered woman. I knew I was a girl at age 5 & before. When did you realize you were a boy? I imagine you are male, because most people who have issues with transgendered people are male. The level of pompousness you show is beyond idiotic. If you don't understand something, become educated. Don't spout your opinion as fact until you understand the issues. Ask any psychologist when a child realizes their gender - it's around 4 or 5 years old. Gender is different the sex. Get educated, then comment.

Who's to say 'puberty' is the

Who's to say 'puberty' is the cut-off line? What does that even mean, anyway? And who says a five year old is too young to comprehend sex? The article isn't even about sex, it's primarily about gender. Seems like you're making a lot of rash and broad assumptions in your comment.

If you break the numbers down

If you break the numbers down more from the Transgender Umbrella, we who are transsexual / intersex are 1% of the transgender umbrella. That makes us much rarer and also differentiates those of us with a medical condition from those who actually have a mental diagnosis. This is all so convoluted when we speak on this subject and we fail to realize that although Transsexual / Intersex people are under the umbrella it is really a generic term to cover all of the diversity of the whole. It is not a term that specifically identifies the difference of each of the sub categories. If we wish people to understand than we must educate them on each piece of the puzzle. I always identify as female because that is correctly what I am, however I have a transsexual past. I know my precise medical diagnosis so if I were to identify myself it would be as a Transsexual Woman not Transgender. What is the reason for this? Simple think of the transgender umbrella as an Automobile Manufacturer. Transgender would be like saying Ford. Ford has many cars like the transgender umbrella has much different diagnosis. A transsexual would be like a Corvette a Cross dresser a Cavalier, a Gender Queer a Camaro and so on. When we fail to educate properly identifying all of the pieces of the puzzle we cause confusion. Why not just educate people of the true diversity of the whole. Knowledge is powerful if used correctly.

That went over my head. What

That went over my head. What is the difference between transgender and transsexual? What I understand is that transgender refers to gender (identity) and transsexual refers to someone who has physically changed their body to align with their identity. I thought almost everyone who is transsexual would fall under the transgender umbrella unless they just don't like that word and go by Two Spirits or something like that. But based on what you're saying, I don't get it. So you're a woman with a transsexual past but aren't transgender? I don't know what this means.

RE: Over my head

"Transgender" is an umbrella term meant to include anyone who is a gender minority -- crossdressers, intersex individuals, non-operative transsexuals, operative transsexuals, two-spirits, genderqueer, non-gendered and every other category of gender minority you can think of.

"Transsexual" is a specific term that primarily is used to refer to those who feel to be a gender that is not in strict conformance with their genitalia, regardless of whether they wish to surgically alter them. That is, you can be a transsexual and not want surgery.

Thus, a transsexual is included in the transgender label.

Unconditional Love

I was truly touched by your story of understanding and unconditional love. It is only through sharing experiences like yours that the general public will come to understand people who are transgender.

Continue your fight for understanding and acceptance and know that there are many of us working in communities across the country trying to open the hearts and minds of good people who just don't know any better and of some who choose to point fingers and judge.

Your daughter is very lucky to have a mother like you!

I feel the same sometimes.

I understand your daughter's feelings. I'm only 16 and i sometimes feel as if I'm a girl born in a guys body. However, I realize that I love myself how i am and now identify as Gay. It was hard. My mom resented it, My grandparents cried and told me that if i was truly gay they "couldn't live with themselves." I have to act as 'straight' as possible around them and that side of the family. Regardless of your daughter's gender/sexual orientation, I know you will still love her. I love her, even though i never met her. She's apart of all of our families! (:

Thank you

Thank you for sharing. I'm male and straight, if indeed those categories mean anything. I've colleagues that are transgender. I understand what you mean by "alien". The first time I encountered a colleague that needed to make the shift for their own sanity, I wasn't sure how to think about it. I certainly wasn't threatened. (I've lots of friends in the gay community, so I'm used to having friends in groups that American society at large has struggled to understand and accept.) I think the hardest part for the "old" brain to accept was Bill was now Susan. Glance at a person from a distance and one of the first things one's brain categorizes is gender. Probably right after whether or not to be threatened. Bill "changed" categories. (I appreciate Bill was always Susan, but to his outside world he "changed categories.") Your daughter is very lucky. I remember hearing about some of "Bill's" struggles and fears. I remain in awe of the courage it takes to finally declare herself. I am sad she needed to feel so much pain for so long. And I look forward to the day when one's gender identification is as accepted in society as one's sexual preference, race, or creed.

Transgender child

I think at least some of that disbelief my be as a result of your daughter's young age. Many people who may be fully accepting of transgender adults may be operating under the misconception that 'gender' just isn't much of an issue for a 5 year old at all.

A lot of people have trouble

A lot of people have trouble with that. I found records that I was saying, "I'm a girl," as young as age 2 and, 40 years on, I have never wavered.

Litte ones know their gender

Small kids certainly know and are interested in their gender. They are not concerned about it but spontaneously express themselves.Perhaps people are thinking of sexual expression which most 5 year-olds have little interest in. Think of all the squealing protests that arise when Grandpa or Uncle teases the child by calling a boy a girl or a girl a boy. My son is 33 years-old and was born female. He transitioned, with my full support, when he was 18. But as early as 5 or 6 he was acting "like a boy" and by 2nd grade I called him my little full-back even though he was a petite and pretty little "girl". His younger siblings (a boy and a girl) both knew their gender and expressed it very early on.

Aaaaaahhhh.....

Thank you for reminding me of the importance of respecting people's personal experiences, of taking them for reality rather than plaquing onto them some kind of pre-cut mold that is more comfortable.

I have found the most heinous reactions, mostly seen in the comments sections online, is the idea that somehow you as a mom are fucked up, that you've done something terribly wrong and that you're only going public about this for your own personal Warholian 15 minutes.

May you be guarded from hostility as much as possible.

Confusing bodies and behavior

Confusing bodies and behaviors is biologically essentialist.

It presumes that certain behaviors, expressions, or feelings are consistent with certain kinds of genitals (penis, vagina). That is old-fashioned sexist conservativism, not progressive and embracing of difference.

The male child in this article identifies with and prefers "girl things"/feminininity. Fine. But this does not logically necessitate that he is truly a "girl," nor that there is anything medically wrong with his body. It's not that self-identified "trans" people don't exist, it's just that some of us don't believe gender and sex are the same thing. The science simply isn't there. Gender rebellion isn't a medical condition, it's a natural and predictable response to violently enforced binary social roles that offer no alternatives.

People confuse sex and gender because it is so deeply embedded in our social structure. In fact, these ; and there is no way to actually change one's sex. We should not lie to children about their anatomy or about how biology works. We should push the boundaries of gender stereotypes, not reinforce those boundaries as natural categories within whcih conformity is the most healthy way to be.

Elizabeth Hungerford is a

Elizabeth Hungerford is a well known bigot who hates trans people, especially trans women. She and her girlfriend wrote a letter to the UN, asking them to strip trans women throughout the world of any human rights they might have. She has also been stalking and harrassing trans women across pretty much all social media sites. Her and her friends have been trying their best to endanger trans women and strip us of our rights, so keep in mind that she is a criminal bigot when you read anything she might write.

defamation

Oh for goodness sake, a "criminal bigot"? That's not even a real thing. The entire comment is untrue.

I do not hate trans people. I have made a perfectly reasonable comment. As I always do. Gender and sex are not synonyms. Confusing bodies with behavior is conservative.

Here's a link to the infamous UN letter regarding "gender identity" laws. Please, read it yourself. I have nothing to hide.

http://sexnotgender.com/gender-identity-legislation-and-the-erosion-of-s...

"...we recognize the legitimate needs of transgender women to operate in the world free from irrational discrimination. However, we cannot deny the implications of this legislation – and the radical shift in priorities it represents for females."

"We believe that “gender identity” laws that codify the notion that there are traits, manners of expression, or modes of appearance that are inconsistent or consistent with one’s biological sex violates United Nations conventions seeking to eradicate sex stereotyping."

Yes, I oppose sex stereotyping!

oi vey

Why don't you argue the point rather than continue these attacks against whom you clearly don't know and about whom you invent fictions (ie. these two are not 'girlfriends'). Even this assertion is quite homophobic--you want to lend yourself to narratives of lesbianism when it suits you and then finger point at the 'lesbian couple' used in a derogatory manner to attack Hungerford. I have read many of Hungerford's posts and stalking and harassing is not what she is doing. However harassing is what you are doing and stalking is what many of your 'friends' do to her and any woman who speaks brazenly about this collapse of sex and gender or in some situations, about the complete erasure of sex.

Let's deal with facts for a moment: sex is physical (male, female) and gender is social (man, woman). This is not an opinion. This is a fact. Hungerford points out that people such as the mother in this article, are collapsing sex with a gender stereotype. Even the picture here is painful to look at--what could be a more fitting stereotype of a girl (with Carmen Miranda mixed into the pose). It is a disturbing picture which speaks to a child who is attempting to be an adult--not just a woman--and more problematic and most daunting is that this child is being groomed to a womanhood that even a girl of his age would have no idea about. In short, this kid is being coached and that in and of itself is a horrible violence.

There is no 'wrong body.' That is one of the many solipsisms you and other trans trolls make repeatedly. We are born in bodies--not the right body, not the wrong body. We are born in bodies. Now that you and others have body issues, nobody is putting up for question. What Hungerford and many others are questioning is this media race to expose transsexuals to the layperson for shock value (and this media circus around trans people should be first and foremost disturbing to trans people) is how 'gender' is repeatedly misused by trans persons and this discourse of 'trans' becomes a confused space for meaning, well anything. In fact, all transgender really means is a person who has issues with their body--it can be their genitals, their breasts, their body mass, etc. Anything that goes into the subject's perception of a gendered selfhood is what is not right for the subject. So Hungerford points out this repeated and decades long abuse of the words sex and gender, their sheer confusion. In fact, it is worth considering that this increased abuse of the term gender might very well be part of the problem that trans persons have. After all many expect their bodies to signify something that they do not read in their current state. It is very possible that too much has been invested into gender for these individuals who see their body as a 'birth defect' and who attempt to radically change it to match an image in their mind. In brief, it is not that the subject has the 'wrong body', it is more that the subject is unable to live happily in her/his body. It would be more interesting to see discussions about what might drive such unhappiness as trans bodies are one of many manifestations of subjects unhappy with their bodies in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

There are so many body problems out there today from overeating to anorexia to fitness addiction and transsexualism that I would say we ought to find out why so many subjects are unhappy with their physical forms. Also bearing significant worry for me as a reader here is what this writer implies about her own projections onto her son:

'And believe me, you wouldn’t want my child to attend family gatherings as a boy. She’d be miserable and badly behaved, the way she was in that long, sad year when I resisted her constant efforts to convince me that I’d actually got her gender all wrong. But as a girl, she’d be the life of the party. You’d be glad you decided to have kids at your wedding. When the band starting playing, you’d dance with her, and I promise you, you’d be swept off your feet.'

Badly behaved? But as a girl the life of the party and we would dance with her? Uh, I can't even begin to say how sexist and inappropriate this mother is. She sounds more like a pimp than a mother selling us on the wilds of her 'daughter'. She also writes, 'It seems like most Americans still don’t actually believe in transgender people.' This is the rub for those of you who call yourselves trans: gender is not a religion nor it is a belief system. Trans like to claim that they are special snowflakes, but so are we all. The difference is that those of us with problems own them, we work on them, and we don't try to invert our problems onto society. There is a fair amount of victim-playing in the language of transsexual identity that is also suspect. The harping on the pain, the confusion and the loss becomes a contrivance. What needs to be discussed is how individuals who are unhappy with their bodies might find greater happiness without reinforcing dangerously sexist stereotypes that set women back decades. There is no will by Hungerford or others to ' strip you of your rights.' Quite simply, stories like this evidence a serious problem of parents manipulating their children into gender roles (often because they are uncomfortable with the idea that their five year old boy is effeminate or that he might be gay) and reinforcing stereotypes that are harmful to all involved.

This is exactly what I was

This is exactly what I was talking about. On an article called "When I say my daughter is transgender, believe me", they come in to try to paint the girl as crazy and the mother as abusive. These are the same people who have gotten a trans kid kicked out of their home by outing them to their parents. Now they're here trying to convince others that there's no such thing as transgender people (they're just gays who need reparative therapy, you see), and generally trying to poison an already hostile society against us. They have already been successful in sinking a trans-inclusive non-discrimination bill in Maryland, and are working on doing the same anywhere else they can.
If you don't believe me, just ask them directly: "do you think trans women are women? Do you think trans men are men? Do you think trans women should be able to use women's bathrooms? Do you think trans men should be able to use men's bathrooms?". They will answer "no" to all and instantly display their bigotry quite clearly.
Do not believe a word they say. Just like you wouldn't believe what other hate groups say about their victims.

Definitions matter

It all depends on what the definition of "man" and "woman" are.

The standard biological definitions rely on sex-linked chromosomes and the ability to produce sperm or eggs. If we use those definitions, then:

"do you think trans women are women? Do you think trans men are men?"

are both NO by definition. This is not bigotry, it's just applying the standard definitions of what biology tells us about gender.

HOWEVER, there are more nebulous things like "which gender do you feel" which are very fuzzy and have not been scientifically defined or well-researched yet. There are plenty of people who would like to understand better, but your reaction of "you're all bigots" reaction does not add to the discussion.

In this case, however, we are

In this case, however, we are discussing Cathy Brennan and Elizabeth Hungerford.

When we say they're bigots, it's not just because of what they have written here. This is the dynamic duo who is behind deliberately outing trans women and trying to get them fired. They had a campaign where they would attempt to document the real life identities of trans women on the internet (using pictures, personal details they had revealed about themselves to each other, IP address lookups, and other shady techniques) and they would contact the women's employers and attempt to get them fired. They would also contact the families of the transgender women, and friends they could identify, and attempt to out them. In one notorious case, Cathy Brennan contact the family of a HIGH SCHOOL KID, as well as people within the school, and outed this trans girl to all and sundry (note that she was presenting as a male at that time, and was out to no one - Brennan's actions potentially could have resulted in her being kicked out of her home, beaten, or KILLED).

These are not rational human beings you are defending here. These are monsters who have eradicated their humanity in the name of their extremist goals - radical gender separation. For proof, please examine RadFem Hub, Gender Trender, and their related sites, examine the comment section. Cathy Brennan, Hungerford's coauthor, ran RadFem Hub (and recently shut it down). These are hate sites - they used to regularly post comments about exterminating males and trans women, and revenge fantasies that spiraled into the dangerous when they documented the real life identities of trans women and targeted them.

Do not be confused here. We are not discussing rational and misguided human beings. We are discussing radical extremists who have no care or concern for the lives or wellbeing of people who they target (in fact they deliberately seek to hurt them).

This whole comment is a

This whole comment is a complete lie about Elizabeth Hungerford. She has done NONE of the things you accuse her of in this comment. Where is the proof? And even IF there is any truth in this comment, those things you attribute to the "dynamic duo" were allegedly done Cathy Brennan ONLY. Don't confuse the two, they are NOT the same people, they have different tactics, different goals, different philosophies, and Hungerford has since done a lot more work on her own, which has nothing to do with Cathy Brennan.

http://sexnotgender.com/2013/07/19/open-letter-to-denise-e-brogan-kator/

The required attitude

You are absolutely right in pointing out that it is not enough for a child to show preference for activities considered (stereo)typical of the other gender in order to declare that child as transgender. That was one of the many problems with the Gender Identity in Children category in DSM-IV: it conflated gender expression and gender identification. So yes, it's not enough for a male-bodied child to like barbies and makeup. It is only when the child says "I am a girl" or "I need to be a girl" or "I am not a boy" that we can talk of a conflict with the gender ascribed at birth. Of course there are many ways the child can try to convey the message, and it is the job of parents and professionals to listen to the child's voice.

Listening requires not only a sensitive ear and an open mind. It also requires basic empathy that legitimizes the child's quest for a congruent gender. Cis-normative attitudes that give preference, overtly or not, to a cis identity, and that approach the whole issue with disbelief and apprehension, are disqualified for any meaningful discussion on gender identity, and if present in a caregiver's environment, can be profoundly harmful.

And by the way, nobody is saying that gender and sex are the same. Quite to the contrary, the whole concept of gender fluidity, with the myriad different approaches it contains, stands on the separation of these two. These days, only religious retrogrades and reactionary pseudo-feminists are still adhering to the sort of outdated essentialism that fuses biological makeup and gender.

This is weak and insulting.

This is weak and insulting. "The absence of proof is not the proof of absence." Its true that gender expression is not gender identity. Yet you presume she wants to be a girl because she is feminine. You claim people can't change their sex yet people have or by sex did you mean gender. If so that is why some people change their sex.

There are trans people who don't conform to old-fashioned gender stereotypes so your "argument" that "so-called" trans people don't exist because "some of us don't believe gender and sex are the same thing" is redundant. A weak red herring at best.

This comment is so wrong and ignorant its hard to understand what you mean. "we should not lie to children"
OF COURSE NOT. You presume it was forced on her as if gay people are not widely socially accepted. You presume she can't be a "she: because she has a penis. Gender Identity can be male,female, androgynous and many others.

You wrote:" It presumes that certain behaviors, expressions, or feelings are consistent with certain kinds of genitals (penis, vagina). That is old-fashioned sexist conservativism, not progressive and embracing of difference."

Just because some people happen to fit gender stereotypes that doesn't mean you should put them down as fake conformers and it doesn't Imply that they are putting down people who don't happen to fit the old gender roles.

It's not that trans people don't exist it's just that you don't believe they exist while presuming gender is all made up socially.

Maybe you are gender fluid and can handle living as either sex and whatever gender expression however you shouldn't push you beliefs on people as if your way of being is the only way. You seem like one of those girls from the queer community that puts down women that haven't shaved part of their head or don't conform to their gender expression.

"We should push the boundaries of gender stereotypes, not reinforce those boundaries as natural categories within whcih conformity is the most healthy way to be." We should also let those who happen to conform alone as long as they aren't hurting people and spewing ignorant crap all over the internet.

Good advice "If you don't understand something, become educated. Don't spout your opinion as fact until you understand the issues"

Thank you

My god, thank you so much. Thank you for accepting your child for who she is, and for making such a strong statement. It's about time society caught up to the people it tries to govern. We're not all that different - straights, gays, transgenders; we're all people trying to survive a cruel world. Why should some of us be greater advantaged for something as insignificant as gender identity or sexuality? And not a lot of parents would be so accepting of their child, especially at a young age - like you said, most people think a kid will grow out of it. But you can't grow out of who you are. So as a straight, non-transgendered female, thank you for speaking up. I wish more people would.

Thanks

As the mom of and eight year old mtf who transitioned at six, I can only say, "Bravo!" Thank you for speaking for all of us!

Thank you for this. This was

Thank you for this. This was exactly what I needed to read today.

Today, my 3-year-old told her grandpa that she was a "big boy." My father immediately corrected her and said no, she was a "big girl" To which she replied "No, Papa, I'm a boy."
My father threw a fit and told me I needed to take away all of her toy trucks and guns, her baseball, anything that he considers "male."

Maybe in the future, my child will want to live life as a boy. So what? Maybe she'll be a tomboy. Maybe she'll go completely the opposite way and want to wear tutus and tiaras. I don't care as long as my child is a happy child.
It's not fair of anyone to force an identity on a child.

End rant. But seriously, thank you. And thank you for being an awesome mama.

A five-year-old can't be

A five-year-old can't be transgendered. Sorry. A five year old has no sense of self-identification or ability for introspection whatsoever. Just saying.

Nope - not true

5 year old kids know their gender clearly. I did.

A year old CAN know its gender.

A 5 year old know if he/she is a boy or a girl. And its in the head, not the body.
I started my self to feel wrong in my gender at that age and im a transgender.

Ehh?

You don't have kids. Or you got real problems as à parent.

A five year old CAN be

A five year old CAN be transgendered. I am not sorry. A five year old HAS a sense of self identification AND an ability for introspection. Just "saying"? Try reading.

Thank you

As the mother of a transgendered adult child (m-to-f), thank you for supporting your daughter and for bringing to light some of the questions the parents are asked.

I've heard them all I think - it's a phase, does he just like wearing women's clothes, does this mean he's gay, he'll grow out of it, what did you do to make him that way, is it a birth defect.... it goes on and on and on.

Fact is, transgender is. It's the way you're born. Deal.

My child didn't start transitioning until she was 24. I remember how miserable, depressed and suicidal she was before then. I'd rather have her happy and healthy than playing at something she's not just so friends and family can feel comfortable.

Transition @ 50 vs 5

The issues faced by transition 50 are very different than at a young age. We are in a sense rebooting and go through the emotional life process a second time. It can and does look strange to those we've known all our lives. I got through it OK, but it was not always easy. You daughter is very fortunate .

i understand what you're

i understand what you're saying - i was born with a hare lip and a cleft palate and if i had a dime for every time i heard "omg, i could never go through life with something like that!", well, bill gates would be my pool boy is all i'm saying.

but you have to look at it the other way - on the one hand, you're saying "they're a normal part of society" and ppl shouldn't treat them like they're some mythical being but then you point out that true transgenders (not just transvestites) are a micro-fraction of the population. that means that yeah - transgender ppl ARE, to most ppl, mythical beings. it's not like we get lessons in school on Appropriate Ways to Address Transgender People.

i'm quite oblivious to social mores (that whole asperger's thing) so i don't care - ppl say "what is it like to live with a hare lip and a cleft palate?" and i reply "what is it like to live without one?". it is what it is. if biology can get my face so absolutely wrong, i don't see why it's so implausible that other body bits can go wrong, too.

there's a boy lives near me and until i happened to catch a profile angle, i honestly had no clue that Bobby (not his real name) was probably short for Roberta. just bec i happened to detect the presence of a bra (i think it's a constraining bra) doesn't mean that after 2yrs i'm going to suddenly start offering makeup lessons and telling him how much prettier his eyes would look if he'd let his hair grow out. that would be what some ppl call "rude".

but i worry - i haven't had specific conversations with anybody but i don't think anybody else knows (they moved here same time i did). he rackets around town with a group of 3 other boys. he rides his BMX bike *hard* and not a month goes buy he's not got yet another cast on one limb or another. he's the first to yell out a challenge to do something stupid and yeah, he's pretty obnoxious when it comes to visible minorities. on the other hand, my dog and my mixed-race daughter adore him, so that tells me he's not actually "bad", just being stupid so i tell him flat out "stop being such an ass" and he's quick to blush and apologize.

i worry about what's going to happen if/when he gets outed. granted, we're in small-town ontario and don't have to put up with the crap that ppl do in big cities or in the states but still - it's going to be a shock for his friends when they find out why he's so bashful about peeing behind a tree, eh? still, there is nothing (much) i can do. his mother isn't social (she NEVER comes outside and when she has to, she NEVER talks to anyone, not even to return a courteous greeting - some issues there, i think) so i try to indicate indirectly and in not a creepy way that if he needs to talk to anyone or if he needs help, i'm here. it's all i can do.

and i forgot to mention....

that your daughter is absolutely adorable.

Hey Mom, Thanks for posting

Hey Mom,
Thanks for posting this. Thanks for being an example for the rest of us.

Wonderful

Its amazing that you've whole-heartedly accepted your daughter for who she is. I wish more parents could be so calm and so open-minded about transgender children. I know a few transgender people and they're the some of the coolest human beings I've ever had the joy to know.

One day I know that, being Pan myself, No matter who my child is or loves, They'll be accepted. And so will the one they love.

Blessed Be.

Beautifully Put

What a remarkable woman with an adorable daughter. Shame on anyone who says otherwise. She is who she is and there is nothing else to it.
My best fried came out as a man not too long ago. Knowing her, I thought this was just a phase... you know, like Furry Porn (which also did not turn out to be a phase but I was sure it would be). But when I talked to her more about it I realised that, without even seeing her, she was undoubtedly a he. When he and I finally found the time to get together, he had shaved his head, lost all the weight he'd put on, and was looking forward to being able to afford a mastectomy. He had and always will have my support. In fact, I should not have been surprised since his father is transgendered as well. His Other Mom is so cute in her wigs and house dresses that, until I hear her voice, I think she's a just a very tall woman with a very defined jawline. My friends transformation has brought him and his Other Mom together. I don't even think twice now when I answer the phone and hear his voice: "Oh hey, dude. Yeah I'm free. How are your moms? Awesome. I'll be by to get you in a few minutes. Yeah you can smoke in my car, whatever."
:-)

A mom I know in the small

A mom I know in the small town where I live has written a tender and loving book about her daughter who transitioned to become her son. It totally opened my eyes to the difficulties transgendered people and their families face. Most people don't want to go around in their life being whispered about or pointed out. They want to just be who they are. The book is called "Secret Selves" by Jamie Johnson. Check it out. It certainly opened my eyes to the kinds of supports that transgendered people and their families or friends can use.

Exactly

We have a TG daughter who will be turning 6 this year, and we are tired of people telling us that we should just teach her to be a boy and that she can NOT "decide" to be a girl until she is 18 and an "adult". Because they can NOT believe for an instant that a child of any age - especially before 18 apparently - can "KNOW" what gender they are or is!!

We've had family who refused to simply respect our daughter so we gave them the choice to just respect or don't include any of us. They sadly said we gave them no options or choices and thus chose to just not include us anymore. It broke the heart of my daughter who wanted to please them and TRIED to pretend to be a boy again, just to make them happy and so she'd be loved and accepted. That just broke MY heart. We had to prove to her that THEY didn't matter and that we AND her have plenty of supportive loving friends who love HER no matter who she is or what she looks like and certainly they love her despite what grew between her legs!

I am going insane defending our daughter, but I will do so for the rest of our lives if I have to!

Thank you!

Thank you! Seriously, this is the 21st frakking century, and people are still like "A transgender? Gasp! Shock! Horror!" Some people are transgender; can we all just collectively get the frak OVER IT already?

It's all about uncondtional love

My heart was deeply touched as I read this. What a beautiful loving kind mother. As a woman who is transsexual and who is now just beginning her transition I can assure you my parents and especially my siblings would never have been soo beautiful or so kind. Thank God for mothers like this wonderful lady!

:D

:D

Relating

Thank you for this article, as the mother of a Transgendered 8 year old living in the Yukon I feel like I am living a life that no one understands. I don't understand why anyone wouldn't love their child unconditionally as my husband and I have decided to do. I need to read articles like this in order to continue to feel that we are not alone and that there is a whole world out there of other people that will accept and love my child for who she is.
Thank you!

Thank you very much for this

Thank you very much for this article. As an 18 year old transman, I really appreciate that you are bringing attention to this. However I do have a question for you that I'm hoping you can answer from the view of a parent who originally rejected the female identity of your daughter. How can you get parents who don't want to call you by your preferred name or pronouns to do such? I came out to my parents in january and I live with them. My dad seemed to take it okay but my step mother didn't take it quite so smoothly. I have been in therapy for 5 months and have already been diagnosed as transgender and I am eligible to get a bilateral mastectomy and start testosterone. Anything trans related is kept secret around my twin sister and younger step sister. So from the view of a parent of a transgender child, can you please give me any advice or input? Anything would help. I would just like to try to see their side of things as well as see how I can get them to see my side. Thank you for your time.

It's quite an understandable

It's quite an understandable phenomenon. All embryos start out female. The XY embryos receive a burst of testosterone which causes the gonads to descend and become testicles. In XX embryos they become ovaries. When this process doesn't happen correctly you end up with a girl in a boy's body or vice versa. I'm not sure why people find this so hard to accept. At least judging from the majority of comments here, acceptance is happening in some areas which is great. This is a wonderful mother for supporting her child in this way and speaking out to help others.

thank you

Hello Mr upesa

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how to get ex back

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A SOLUTIONTO MARRIAGE PROBLEMS I BELIEVE

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