Wednesday, December 7, 2016

It Takes A Village and My Daughter Has The Greatest One Yet

Becoming a mother has been one of the most exhausting and humbling experiences of my life. Some would say I'm a veteran mom having been gifted four times with some amazing kiddos. And I love them with as much of my soul as humanly possible. However, my younger three sons should give thanks to their big sister, Trinity. She is the one who made me a mother. Coming into my life, I suddenly went from DeShanna to Mom. No, I haven't lost my individuality, I simply, as she likes to say, leveled up in life. When she told me she was a girl at the young age of three, finally socially transitioning at age four, I went from Mom to something far greater than I expected.

You see, raising a transgender child, my first child, took me to a higher level emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I saw in this young person a strength I was often too afraid to show. Her telling me who she was; her authentic self, revealed a side of vulnerability. Someone so small opening her heart in hopes I wouldn't shred it. And I didn't, obviously! I then learned to be strong and humble and vulnerable. Which has helped me a lot during my 13 years of parenting.

Yet, I could never say I did this alone. Perhaps in the beginning, yes, as it was 2007 and there weren't many resources of parents with young transgender children. But now, I have a community, no, I have a VILLAGE and my daughter (along with her brothers) are truly lucky. I'm writing this post to name some (there are so many) who have come into our lives and given my daughter the best chance at life and love in the world.

1. Sarah McBride 

A Delaware Native, like myself, Sarah helped me understand how to fight for my daughter when the time came for her to get the puberty blockers she needed. She is kind and honestly, the "best big sister I ever had"-Trinity. Sarah has done so much for the LGBTQ community and especially reaching out and helping families like ours. I adore her more than she could ever know.

2. Monica Roberts

I met Monica for the first time at the Philly Trans Health Conference and since then, she has been one of the biggest inspirations to myself and Trinity. She has a vast knowledge of history, especially within the transgender community, and gives my daughter the words of encouragement and love that even I can't sometimes provide. You can see just how great she is by going to her blog TransGriot

3. Angelica Ross

After we went public for a video done by Trans United Fund titled "Meet My Child" Trinity caught one of the not nicer comments in response to the video and was hurt. This was really the first time she experienced this and while I tried to tell her not to worry, it didn't seem to help. Angelica Ross spoke with Trinity via Skype and helped my child so very much. When they realized they were also both girls who love to code, there was a bond made. Angelica sparked a fire in my child and her goal became to be a great transgender video game developer. Angelica continues to do amazing things and as my daughter watches, I see her too striving to be just as great.

4. Vanessa and J R Ford

 I've known Vanessa and J R through the online community, but finally got the chance to meet them IRL (In Real Life) recently and I felt like I found a long lost line of my family! They too are the parents of a transgender child so having that connection really helped. They are two amazing people and my children are so lucky to have them part of our village. Trinity is also super best friends (her words) with J R!

5. Debi Jackson

Debi is a fire cracker and fierce advocate. Mother of a trans child as well, she is so very outspoken about the rights our children deserve that you can't help but listen. Some may not agree, but dang it, you WILL listen! Finally getting the chance to meet her as well, I know that if Trinity ever needed it, Debi would be there to call out anyone who had something negative to say. She is working tirelessly to make this world a better place for our children and so many others.

6. Cathy Renna

Cathy and I got to know each other after the launch of the video and while she started off as a publicist, she is now family. My children adore her! They also call her aunty (she didn't know that but after reading this she will!) because that's who she is. She has been there as someone to listen to me when I'm down and lift me up so I can continue to be the advocate for my child and others. She is a true warrior and I'm glad she fell into our lives!

7. Rep. Paul Baumbach (DE-D)

Paul helped me immensely finding a way to get Trinity the proper healthcare she needed to stop puberty. Hearing our story of the fight to get Medicaid to approve her in church, he immediately reached out to me and asked how he could help. That started the friendship and bond we have now. He's been to my daughter's birthday and is by far one of the most genuine and wonderful man I know. He's the reason I take voting so much more seriously now as well!

8. Governor Jack Markell (DE-D)

Gov. Markell met with our family after we had won the battle with Medicaid. This man helped set the protections my state has for LGBTQ people so that they can't be discriminated against. He is authentic, funny, and can really handle when a toddler demands to be picked up and held! I'm so glad he was my state's Governor and that he is now part of our village to keep families like our safe. 

9. Online Community

I have mentioned before that there weren't many places online I could go to and find the information, as well as, support I needed in 2007. That remained relatively true for a long time. Now, I'm thrilled that there are places I can go and vent and have the love and support I need. My daughter has a large community that knows of her and will be there for her if needed. It touches me to see the growth of acceptance for transgender children that I didn't necessarily experience when we started out almost a decade ago. They all know who they are and I love and thank them for welcoming me into their embrace. 

So, that's just some of the ones who have really made my village a wonderful place for myself and my daughter. My whole family really. They've had a hand in shaping us to be who we are now and given us the strength to stand up for what's right. I'm not just a mom, I'm not just an advocate for my daughter, I'm her world and now she has an even bigger one to help guide, support, and love her as she grows up. Thank you all. Thank you so very much for everything. 

1 comment:

Courtney Rodarte said...

Love! That's what this is all about. Love and security knowing you have a village of wonderful people supporting you and your family. Thank you for being a light for so many other families who need guidance.