Why Parents of Trans Kids Are A Special Kind of Tired

When my trans kid, Kris, came out over seven years ago, I had no idea how tired I would become. I honestly thought I was tired raising three kids all born within 5 years but no…. I would find myself experiencing a tired I never knew existed.

My “kid” is 25 years old now and appears to be comfortable with a more fluid gender identity. Through all of the ups and downs, I only wanted a happy child who wanted to live and I believe I have that now. I am fortunate that some of those battles that parents of trans kids face are no longer on my immediate plate but I will always be a strong ally of transgender people.

I am sharing a post written by Vanessa, the parent of a trans kid. It’s an excellent piece giving outsiders a look into what it’s like to parent a trans kid. It is strictly from a parent’s perspective. It does not imply that the parent is going through more than the transgender child they are supporting. It’s giving readers a look into the parent side of it. Parents of trans kids (me included) will be the first people to say that it’s hard but not nearly as difficult as what our kids are going through every day of their lives.

Please be sure to comment on the original post if it moves you. And read the comments. It’s not often that I will encourage someone to read the comments of a piece dealing with trans issues but here they brought me to tears.

Yes. All parents walking the earth are tired.

We are all absolutely in solidarity with that fact.

We could all use about a week on a deserted island without any children, technology, or responsibilities of any kind.

But I feel the need to tell you about the special kind of tired that parents of transgender kids are experiencing.

It’s different than most versions of tired.

And this isn’t to “one-up”. And this certainly isn’t to take away from an LGBTQIA child themselves, their own struggles and hardships. This isn’t to take away from, or distract from… anyone.

This isn’t a competition.

This is just to simply explain and shed light on how we’re feeling, since it’s of my belief that we, the parents of trans youth, are living in our own marginalized community.

Unless we happen to live in some uber progressive area, we are all acutely aware of…

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“It’s a good time…”

You would be surprised at the things people say to parents/loved ones of transgender people. I’m sure trans people also hear their fair share. My most recent head shaking moment occurred at a family member’s funeral.

Kris leaves for his internship

Kris leaves for his internship

A cousin put her arm around me and drew me in closer. “I wanted to talk to you. I heard that Kerri is now transgender….”

I should have known that just seconds before sitting down to a funeral service is always the optimal time to have such conversations.  “Kerri is now Kris. He identifies as male and has always felt this way.”

She continued with, “It’s a good time to be transgender….with Bruce Jenner. He’s bringing awareness….”


I have to admit that people have said some really odd things to me regarding Kris but this one took the cake. I mean, really. As if Kris had used wise judgment choosing the perfect time to be transgender. And yes, I know there’s so much wrong with that last sentence. (Like it’s not a complete sentence?) It’s a good time….. Okay, in the – it’s a beautiful spring day, it’s 70F degrees out, the sun is shining—it’s a good time to play baseball- way, if it rains, the game can be canceled and rescheduled. It doesn’t matter if it’s 10 years ago and 10 years in the future. Kris doesn’t get to cancel his transgender status and put it on hold until it’s a good time.

I do realize what my cousin was trying to say. Yes, there is a growing awareness outside of the LGBTQ community regarding trans issues. And every little step is one step closer to gaining equality for all transgender people.  That’s important and it does make today better than yesterday.

There was so much I wanted to say to my cousin. Like- four years ago, when Kris first came out it wasn’t that good. And from the first time Kris articulated that he was a boy and we spent 16+ years trying to figure out what was going on wasn’t that good. Kris didn’t choose any of this- only to try to live an authentic life.

And that wasn’t even touching on the fact that she used the wrong name and pronouns for Caitlyn Jenner. But I’m pretty sure the next opportunity to have this conversation complete with all the corrections is right around the corner!





friday fuzz

Pronouns. I’m not going to go on and on about this but I need to get this off my chest. Just spent the evening with my parents and Kris. My mother used feminine pronouns repeatedly very rarely correcting herself, even when I consistently corrected her…the entire evening……right in front of Kris. Three long years of this. I’m so over it. I honestly am. I post things on Facebook. They are ignored by family. I correct. Mom ignores it.

There is a family wedding coming up which we cannot attend. My parents offered to take him along with them and one of my sisters. Kris wants to go. I think it’s the worst possible thing. With his meds being dropped another 50, he will be hours away from home (his dad and I will be 600 miles away) with no real support system there. Since there will be the same people who were at the bridal shower where my mom misgendered Kris intentionally it stands to reason that she will do it throughout this wedding weekend. And who will correct her? Not my sister, who sat next to her at the bridal shower, mute and blank- not offering a single sign of support. Not my other sister who once said something so insensitive that Kris did not speak to her for over a year. (My sister didn’t even notice. True story.)

So, what’s the big deal? Well, exactly! What’s the big deal? Use the proper pronouns!!!