Let me begin by saying that the support we have received in the last few weeks has been overwhelming. People that I know, but not that well, have actively sought me out to tell me that they are in support. Even people who I normally would have written off to "narrow-minded pinhead" have surprised me. And for that we are grateful. It's not hard to start feeling alone when you have to go to meetings where you know the discussions that are taking place have never taken place before...and you have to keep explaining...and keep explaining..and keep explaining what seems like what should be obvious. It's a relief to find refuge in understanding and supportive adults..even when I am sure they get tired of hearing of it....it's scary and new..so I appreciate those that have been so patient especially with me.
We as a family are finding that out of fear we have minimized...or more accurately let it be an open secret that Grace is trans*.
I can only imagine what people think. and honestly...I really don't care what people think. Frankly until you are in our shoes...exactly in our shoes..I think you can but sympathize not empathize. We have three kids and all of them have unique needs. One of them has an apparent need that society would like to qualify her as "freakish" or "disordered".
I have seen (worked with, taught etc..) kids with physical and behavioral disorders...I have watched their families grieve. I have seen their daily struggles and their nearly insurmountable obstacles. I have watched them work sooo hard...have to accept so much and continue the fight. I have the greatest amount of respect and admiration for those familes. They are heroes. Amazing people. Grace is not disabled or disordered.
There is nothing wrong with her. She is perfect. She is beautiful. A charming combination or sass and congeniality that comes wrapped in the most beautiful little freckled dark haired form. She is intelligent, respectful. warm and compassionate. There is no cognitive or physical handicaps that she has to endure. The only...only difference is that perhaps her brain and her body are mismatched.
We always knew. Although happy all the time...she was happiest in dresses and heels, playing dolls and with makeup. She never left the "exploratory" satge. It became the standard...the given for her. She preferred girl playmates and toys. She preferred "girl" clothes and shows and behaviors. We always knew something was different....but things started gaining clarity last summer when we went to my grandmother's funeral (who BTW I feel would be one of the fiercest protectors of Grace...as she always loved an underdog..especially if the underdog was her grandbaby) last summer. Grace (then Grady) knew that our across the street neighbor had just been blessed with a baby boy. She (then he) stated "When I die...I get to come back as a girl." I, of course, gently explored ...and found that Grace was sure that she was going to have to suffer to be a boy in this lifetime. She would have to wait a whole lifetime to be a girl...to be herself. That broke my heart.
So...fast forward to when she wants to wear what she wants to wear...I am afraid for her. Ross is afraid for her. Of course we are....we know the kind of shit heels that exist in this world..well alot of times they raise shit heel kids too....There is a large amount of ignorance...you wouldn't believe it if I told you. I resisted. I made excuses...I put her off....
The one day she said..."Mom you told me that I can be anything I want to be right? Why won't you let me?" Flummoxed. Completely stumped...I had no adequate reason..There is no adequate reason...I am here to support and encourage....I am here to guide, teach and love. I am her mother. Not to stifle, warp and control. That was it. That and my own mother saying..."Ya know Dedra it's time for us to shit or get off the pot. Get behind this or stop it."...We were standing outside Dollywood. And it was like the final pin fell into place. She's right...I need to get behind her..and starting clearing the way or stop it.
She showed the most amazing courage...to wear polish at first...then girls shirts..then girls clothes ...then dresses...She has courage that grown men have not shown..She stands in front of their unjustified judgement and says "talk to the hand". I am amzed and humbled by my own child on the regular.
How can you stop it? You can't..if you think you can... Get a book...read about it. I'd be happy to recommend a few. Look it up..try not to stay ignorant. Trans* kids are more likely to suffer depression, attempt or commit suicide, act out in a risky manner...sexually or with drugs..be emotionally or physically bullied or abused than their "normal" counterparts Why? Because they are being stuffed into a brain that they don't belong in...."Helpful" people trying to make them something that they are not....Now just stop and think about that for a minute...Imagine when you were in a place/realtionship/job that you HATED...and imagine that you had no way out...for the rest of. your. life. Suicide or self medication might seem a reasonable option then huh? These kids need our help...MY CHILD needs my help. I'll be dammed if she's not going to get it.
In an aside...the statement "Well I guess you got your girl now." isn't welcome. It isn't helpful. And frankly...I find it offensive. Why in the hell would I elect to put my child (or any child) through this? This social battle...this potential life of conflict and endangerment...to be unaccepted by many in society. Really? REALLY? I would choose this...because I don't have a biological female? STFU. It makes me angry...and is a trite and ignorant statement of someone who doesn't get it. So now you know about that.
Another one that will set me off is "Hate the sin love the sinner." Jesus hung out with lepers and whores....you don't get to judge me or my daughter. Keep your "separate but equal" drivel and BS away from me. I aint got time. We're over here being happy and well adjusted while you spend your life examining the flaws of others. That's pathetic..get a life.
Lastly, those that think Grace is too young...well again..you show your ignorance...(as long as it's ignorance and not stupidity..I'm down to dialog). When did you know that you were the gender that you were? Was it 7? Was it younger? I'm betting younger. There is a massive definitional difference between gender identity and sexuality. Identity solidifies pretty young, sexuality not till after puberty. Grace knows her identity. We have yet to see about her sexuality....and we'll cross that bridge when we get there...why in the hell would I talk to my nearly 8 year old about sexuality anyway (other than the standard safety talk)? And I'm not pushing her in any direction...she leads..we support and clear.I have two wonderful sons and a daughter. No one "made" or "influenced" her...she is who she is.
We still expect her to be a wonderful, well-mannered, successful, hard-working citizen of the world. And we expect the world not to be assholes. Period.
I know I'm speaking to the choir. Most of you love and understand...your support has been wonderful. Perhaps I'm just ramped up about this weeks meetings...so if you think about it...send us a mental hug and a prayer. Love you guys.