* I will remind you to please keep an open mind as you read my blog and try not to judge. There may be more to the story you don’t know and this is only one chapter of the story. We are months past this chapter now. I’m just trying to tell the story in its entirety, feelings and all at the time it happened. It’s not always easy to be raw and real. Sadly, I think we’ll be judged either way. Some will judge is for not being more accepting, others will judge us for being too accepting.*
I guess I kind of knew something in the back of my mind. I guess the hints and clues were starting to sink in. I remember talking about someone on FB & IG who does videos and was trans, but didn’t feel like they could be their authentic self. We could talk about these things, I was fairly open about these things, one of our favorite shows was the Fosters which dealt with all kinds of LGBT issues. I watched I am Cait.
I thought I was a pretty accepting ally. (Plus, we accepted her with open arms, no problem when we found out she was gay/lesbian/pansexual)
One day the kids and I were going somewhere together. My 17 year old was driving and I was sitting in back with my youngest. (I need to give her a name, so I don’t keep referring to her as my daughter or my child or my youngest. Let’s call her Melanie, one of her favorite singers)
We’re chatting and Melanie brings up the person I was talking about earlier who does the videos and is trans. She says, I’m like that. I feel like I’m a boy. Oh, okay. I was pretty calm and I guess it wasn’t really a huge surprise. I felt I reacted very well. I didn’t make a big deal about it. I may have said a few things, providing some possible insight of why she might feel that way.
I believe my husband also knew about the hints, but I told him she had actually said it. We didn’t fully get it though. We didn’t really see it. We saw her dressing like a guy, but we didn’t think she “acted” like a guy. We figured maybe she was just a Tomboy or “Butch” since she did like girls. Deep down we struggled with it. We felt like we were losing our baby girl in so many ways. It was so different when we were talking about our child.
Again I thought, is this a trend, is it a phase? Is it because her friends are LGBT? She even had a trans friend. Was she just trying to for in? Was it because of the music she listened to, the videos she watched? They were all huge LGBT supporters and always talking about the community.
We tried to be kind and loving, but we questioned things. Had she been sexually abused? Was it because she didn’t have a good relationship with her dad? Was she just confused? Why were labels so important? Why trans, why not just a Tomboy? What do we do about sleepovers now that she likes girls and feels like she’s a boy?
One night I get a text from Melanie:
So, I had her come into the living room and talk to her dad and I about it. We didn’t feel like it was a good idea. We didn’t think she should do anything permanent at such a young age (13). She wasn’t happy and stomped off. 😞
We continued to struggle and I didn’t know where to turn. There was a lot of contention. At least hubby and I were on the same page.
Melanie had been to her psychiatrist once and I had mixed feelings about him. The first time she met him was right after she had told us she felt like a boy. He was wearing a Trans Lives Matters t-shirt underneath his button up shirt. It was great that he was supportive (for her sake), but what about us, the parents?
The next appointment with him, I told my husband to meet us. Another therapist made us feel like it would be better if dad was more involved, that it could indeed help if there was a better father/daughter relationship.
We were totally thrown under the bus at that appointment. Dad was put on the spot and asked how he would feel if Melanie told him she was a boy. Hubby said he would feel like he was losing his baby girl, I agreed. The psychiatrist brought up the binder. We said we didn’t feel like it was a good idea, that we didn’t even know if it was safe. He thought it was a good idea and to even told us where to get hormones. We left upset. We felt like who were the parents, him or us? Why would he say all that in front of her and put us on the spot like that? Didn’t he hear what we said? Didn’t he know that we were struggling with this? The only thing I did agree with was that Melanie was cute either way, a beautiful girl or a handsome guy.
Looking back, I feel like I was being prepared for this. As I mentioned earlier, I watched I am Cait and the Fosters and felt nothing but love. I remember seeing previews for another reality show about a transgender child and thinking how hard that must be, but again feeling love. I’m pretty sure I even thought anytime I heard a story like that, that I would love my child the same. It was harder and different with my own child at first though. I guess I just didn’t see the signs. I didn’t feel prepared at the time. I didn’t have the right tools, the right non existent manual.
*This chapter was really hard to write and probably hard for some to read. I only include it to tell the whole story and to let others know they aren’t alone if they feel/felt the same way. Keep reading, it gets better.