Posted in Gender

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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Posted in Family, Gender

When Your Kid Comes Out…

“Nothing is permanent.

Everything is subject to change.

Being is always becoming.”

-Buddha

I’m not an expert in raising LGBTQ kids. Mine was 18 when they came out and while that might be the legal age for some things, it doesn’t mean they were an adult by any means. Since we were about to embark on a second puberty, they were far from grown up. But having experienced the last five plus years, I’ve found a few things to hold true.

  • Your child comes first. Love them. Accept them. Support them.
  • A name is just a name- no matter how attached you might think you are to the one you gave them, you will be surprised at how quickly you adapt to a new name when you just accept it.
  • Let go of what society and you consider gender norms. Open your mind to new possibilities.
  • If your child holds on to parts of their previous gender or ASAB (or whatever you prefer to call it), it does not mean that they don’t identify as the other gender. Trans boys can like make up. Trans girls can like football.
  • And holding onto those things doesn’t mean they are unsure or changing their minds. They might just like those things. Or they might be comfortable with those things, especially if they are coming out at a later age.
  • Don’t expect them to know instinctively how to be a boy or girl. Sometimes it takes time to know who you are and what feels right.
  • People might act strange. They might act accepting until they actually see your child as their true self. They might resist it. They might fade away quietly. They might disguise their discomfort behind other issues. They might not know how they feel.
  • Fight for your child.
  • Be flexible. (4 years after the child I thought was my daughter came out as my son, I was buying a dress for the Winter Ball.)
  • This is a journey. Although some kids will come out, transition and live happily ever after, some need more time.
  • Advocate for the LGBTQ community. You don’t have to be the loudest or flashiest one out there but by showing support, it’s sending a clear message to your child. It’s one thing to support your child because they are your child but by advocating it tells your child that your truly support who they are because you believe in not only them, but every person’s right to be their truest self.
  • Nothing is permanent. And if your child should say, “Hey, know what? This doesn’t feel right”- well, so what? No one was hurt and your child can move on in their journey to face new challenges.
  • And because it is so important it bears repeating- love, accept, support.

Out of everything I have experienced as a parent, this one has been the wildest ride. I know it might not be over, or it might be….and that’s just part of what it is. I’ve learned so much about myself and my family and my life. And I never thought that I would be where I am right now, which is in a much better place than I was 5-7 years ago.

TTFN!

-Kat

 

Posted in Family, Gender

Do You Fit the Mold?

Upon hearing my middle child’s admission that he identifies as non-binary or more so on the outer edges of maleness, I’ve been thinking a lot about gender identity and expression. I would like to share a few of my thoughts with you.

Gender identity is internal, deeply-rooted, and a central part of many people’s senses of self.*

Gender expression, on the other hand, is what everyone around us can see.*

Girls-

wear pink, dresses, make up

play house, with dolls

want to be moms, teachers, nurses

Timey Tell

Boys-

wear blue, jeans, baseball caps

play sports, cars, with Legos

want to be dads, lawyers, construction workers

IMG_1512

It looks silly when it’s laid out before you in print. While this might be something we grew up believing, or maybe we didn’t but we knew it was the expectation….. it went along with the idea that there were only two genders- male and female- and the molds were pretty straight forward. We know that even 20, 30, 40 years ago, these stereotypical descriptions just did not hold true. As more time passes, we are finding that outside of society influencing/dictating what is considered acceptable, the reality looks nothing like those two cookie cutter molds- one wearing a dress, one wearing pants.

I have never fit in the girl mold, even though I do not doubt for a second that I’m a girl. Dresses and I have had a love/hate relationship over the years. I’m not into make up. I hate cooking. My favorite clothing is my jeans, hoodies and gym shoes. I’m not a fan of bugs but have no problem beating them to death with my shoe or something else that’s nice and solid (sorry eco-system and circle of life and all that) but the sight of a mouse sends me screaming from the room like….well, a girl. But, here’s the thing about all of that. None of it makes a difference to me being a girl because that’s who I am.

Growing up in the 70’s, there was a definite girl mold out there and the expectations were very clear. There were times when I was expected to wear a dress whether I wanted to or not. My toys were dolls. The books I read all had female characters who, for the most part, fit that mold. The television shows I watched were filled with girls perpetuating that image. I wasn’t always comfortable with all of it but that’s the way it was.

As I reached adulthood and had my own daughter, I made a concentrated effort to not force her into that same mold. It’s probably a good thing, too, because my daughter ended up actually being my son. And my son ended up not being a boy who fit the boy mold.

Unfortunately, so many want to hold onto those molds- one in each hand- so neat and simple—- and so wrong. Hopefully as the idea of gender being something that is defined by a person’s innate sense of who they are and not what’s between their legs AND that every person has the right to express themselves in a way that feels right for them, we will bridge the gap between the old school boy/girl molds and the concept that there is more to a person than simpy boy or girl (and there always has been.)

I’m sharing this article on Gender Identity and Gender Expression. I think it does a good job of laying it out there for everyone to read. It is written with examples that we can relate to and understand.

*Separating Out Gender Identity from Gender Expression

What about you? Do you fit into your mold?

Happy Saturday!

-Kat

Posted in Friday Fuzz, Gender

Friday Fuzz

friday fuzzLeelah Alcorn- You might recognize this name. If you do, it probably fills you with sadness to hear it, like it does me. If not, you will want to read the following post. Google her name. You won’t lack for reading material. So much has been written about the tragic death of Leelah, who killed herself. I had to stop reading everything that was filling my newsfeed. It made me want to grab Kris, hold onto him so tightly that I didn’t have to worry about losing him. Being the parent of a transgender child, this story touches me deeply. It’s a constant worry.

I’m sharing a post written by friend, Michelle at Because I’m Fabulous. Having a transgender child is just like having any other child. There are no cookie cutter children. We don’t order a sugar cookie and that’s what we get. That sugar cookie might have raisins hidden inside, it might come with red frosting, it might not have any sugar at all! Her post “It’s not about you” is written from a mother’s heart and I think it translates easily into terms we can all relate to. It is about Leelah, but it’s also about being a parent and a very basic fundamental rule that parents sometimes forget, don’t realize or ignore. When you are a parent, it’s not about you.

In Facebook and blog posts I have been noticing more parents of transgender children reaching out to other transgender people and their families, offering support, an ear, whatever—- and I would like to do the same. You are not alone. Please, feel free to contact me- either here at this blog or through my Facebook Page- Dandelion Fuzz.