Back in June of 2015, I wrote a post titled 7 Things Not To Say To The Parent of a Transgender Child and hit almost 5K views! (find it here) Well, I'm back at it again with another 7! Enjoy!
7. Wow, your child doesn't even LOOK like a transgender!
Okay, so I'm not sure what this means. I've heard it though and it's often said in the most surprised manner. Like, "Are you as surprised about it as I am, because really, I'm shocked!" Seriously though, people have different appearances. That's just how that works. So, the real issue here is that there is a very strange preconceived idea of what a transgender person will look like. Also "a transgender" is not a term one uses if they have an ounce of intelligence. Even a tiny bit. Like aphid size. Please stop. Please.
6. Your child is too young to make that kind of decision!
Secondly, children, at very young ages are able to make basic decisions. In fact, when we see them, adults tend to think, "Oh how cute!" and yet, when they are telling you this is WHO they are, then suddenly, they're like John Snow from Game of Thrones. They know nothing.
Let me break it down for you. These children are not "making decisions". This is not a choice or some kind of lifestyle. This is who they are. They know it, deeper than anywhere we can see. And remember, the suicide rate among transgender people is very high. It's not a choice for them. It's life or death. Don't be a dickbag, yo!
5. Oh! So that means (insert misgendering here) is like that Caitlyn Jenner, guy!
4. It's not my place to judge, but this is wrong to do to a kid.
I've seen this one recently. Prefacing any statement that way should be a clue that the next words will probably be judgmental. Hey, I know it's super hard when a parent actually supports their kids in life. Changing hair colors and styles. Choosing their own fashion. Watching more than two hours of television. AHHH BRAIN ANEURYSM!
No parent or caregiver, would force a life of possible bullying, loss of friendships/relationships, and other negative situations on their child. At least not the ones that actually love the child. So they're not doing anything. Well, okay, they're doing something when they stand with their transgender child....
They're loving them unconditionally and listening.
3. Geez! I don't know how you're handling this. I simply couldn't do it.
2. This must be so hard on the siblings.
Anything can be hard on children. Changes don't always come easy, but I have found that siblings do eventually jump on board if they hadn't from the start. I'm also a strong believer in the idea that a situation only becomes a problem if you (the adult) make it one. We treated our child's transition as nothing out of the ordinary. It wasn't a "big deal" thus, our second born, who was the youngest at the time, didn't see it as one either. The help of a therapist showing us how to turn this new way of life into a celebration of life really helped our son. Now two more kids in and we're still celebrating this journey with her.
Besides, siblings have better things to deal with than having a transgender brother or sister.
1. But why?
Okay, okay. That's a question. But it's an important one that I've heard and I'm sure other parents of trans kids have heard. The "Why" of it all. Why do we fight for them? Why do we allow this to happen? Why? Why? WHY????!!!
There's nothing harder than being a parent. Okay...stale candy maybe, but even then, raising a tiny human being into a big one that you can only hope will be kind and genuine, is well...freakin' hard! And it's something you just never get until you've gone that path. I recall as a kid, thinking my mom was insane and her saying how hard it was made no sense. Then I had kids. Now I know. Sorry, Mom!
But why? Because, they deserve to be loved. They deserve to be safe. Our children, regardless of their sexuality or gender identity DESERVE knowing we as parents, got their back. We may not always agree with what they do, but we still got their backs. Parenting doesn't come with an asterisks. It's not okay until they come out to us, then all bets are off. It's lifelong. It's ever evolving.
My daughter once said, it's okay to evolve and grow. The word "love" is within "evolve" and love has to grow in order for us all to truly understand life. She's right about that. Love, Evolve, Grow, and if nothing else, Live compassionately.
I hope you enjoyed Part 2 of Things not to say to the parent of a transgender child. And please, comment on what you've heard. Share with those who you think will enjoy a bit of humor from a crazy mama of an awesome trans daughter!