Where is the manual?!?!
When your child is courageous and brave enough to share their deepest, most interpersonal feelings with you at the age of 10, you find yourself feeling proud. Proud that we are raising our children right. Proud that despite all the hurdles in your child’s life, they still were brave. Our ten year old was brave enough to tell us he is transgender. Brave enough, despite the statistics out there about rejection from parents. So brave. So courageous. So strong.
The days that followed our child’s bravery were a whirlwind. Emotions were high. Many tears were shed (not in front of our child). There was panic, fear, worry, confusion and many more emotions I am sure I am missing. My hubby and I were processing it differently and tension was high. I was looking for a manual. I needed to know what step 1 was and, as is my nature, I just wanted to put on my big girl pants and start doing what was in the best interest of our child (although I had no clue where to begin). My husband wanted to research, research and research. That’s how he processes things. He needs to learn all he can about the subject and enjoys surfing the net for information. That created some great fears in him as he read all the horrific statistics out there that relate to transgender people. As he was sharing all these fears with me, I didn’t want to hear them. I shut him down. I just couldn’t go there yet. I just wanted to do step one. I needed to take it day by day. It took us awhile to get to a good place of understanding that we are both different. We process differently and in the end, I believe that is what makes us a good match for each other. We are opposites and that helps, so long as you can come together, recognize that and balance each other out. It was a journey, but we got there.
I researched local PFLAG (http://www.pflag.com) chapters the very next day. I stalked the pages, read peoples comments, and found myself watching a powerful video that was a mother sharing the story of her teenage daughter transitioning into her son. That video will forever stay with me. After I watched the video, sobbing like a baby, I did something I have never done before. I Facebook messaged a stranger, this mom in that video. And guess what?!?! She immediately replied to me and asked if I could talk instead of text. We spoke for 45 minutes. Well, she spoke. I listened and cried. Her words were so comforting and helpful and just what I needed. I ended up attending the very next meeting this chapter had and this woman, who did not know me, showed up to the meeting to support me. I was in awe that a total stranger cared that much. She was amazing and just what I needed at that time. The meeting was emotional and raw, but very profound and left me feeling like I am so thankful our child came out as a kid and didn’t suffer for years into adulthood like a few of these amazing people I met that night. I haven’t been back yet. My hubby has decided he wants to go with me the next time we can get to a meeting. I think it will be good for him too, to see the support this community shows to everyone who walks through their doors.
That PFLAG meeting got the ball rolling for myself and my hubby. Over the next few weeks, we researched therapists, doctors, hormone blockers, hormone therapy and all things transgender related to children. I started making phone calls. We got our child into therapy, which in my mind was step one. We asked our child what we could do for him right now, that would help. The answer shocked me. Our child wanted boys underwear. I never really thought that would be the answer, but it was. And, when you stop and think about it, it makes sense. I could NOT imagine putting on mens underwear even for one day, but our child has had to wear girls panties all these years. So, I went out and bought boys underwear and some boys shorts and slowly started making over the closet. He cleaned out all the remnants of girl clothing that were still in the closet and smiled proudly when I showed him the underwear. Just a small simple step, but it meant the world to our child. It was then that I knew our journey was moving in the right direction.
We are now at a place in our lives that we are slowly telling family and friends that are close to us and are overwhelmed with the love and support they have given us. We have seen the pediatrician and are now awaiting our appointment to see the adolescent medicine physician that specializes in the care of transgender youth. We are moving in the right direction…New underwear and all! 😉