On Raising My Transgender Child.

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I am the proud mother of three superbly amazing children. Well one adult and two children. One big two small. One boy two girls. However I originally produced three girls. Or so I thought. And there is so much irony attached when I reflect back. What and how I named my son then daughter with an androgynous name I chose when I was eleven years old for my first child. The way people always said, ‘oh didn’t you ever want to try for a boy?’ I mean my answer was no, I wanted a healthy baby not a gender but that is beside the point. I did think having a boy would be nice, but was happy with the healthy and happy girl children I had been blessed with.

 

 

When my son (formerly daughter) first told me he was transgender at the tender age of fifteen, I felt many things. A sense of loss but for something that I never really properly felt I had, something that made his femaleness tangible. But predominantly I felt like a bad parent. As I didn’t understand how I didn’t know or sense that he was transgender.  I always knew my son wasn’t the regular girl. I refrain from saying normal because rhetorically what is normal. I just thought that eventually he would tell me he was gay or bi, and either would’ve been fine. I couldn’t have cared less what he was, despite knowing it may make his life more complex.  I wasn’t ready for trans though, because I had no real relationship with it, didn’t really understand it, but I also knew he could’ve told me he was pink with green spots and I would always be there.

 

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I was told whilst on a long car journey across France and Spain and despite my relief that my son could tell me this huge thing part of me wanted to run away from the conversation, because I knew things would never be the same again.  I felt trapped. With the knowledge of something that would never change.  That life would be doubly hard for him now, being a young Black trans boy. My son had read an article about being trans, and realised he was essentially reading about himself. Overall though, it made me happy and thankful that he was relieved to have worked out who he ‘was’. A boy in a girl’s body.

 

 

My son was always adorably gawky, nerdy and geeky, but fundamentally he wasn’t always wholly comfortable all the time in his own skin. I would visit a girlfriends home whose daughter is nine months or so younger and it was so apparent how ‘ungirly’ he was. The friends’ teen daughter was the epitome of girliness; nails, hair, makeup etc. but he was none of it. At all. And yes at times I secretly just wished for my child to feel like he fit. Not so much for me but for him. Just so I could not worry about him and be reassured that my child was inherently happy within himself.

 

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My son’s transition really kicked off on the twelfth of the twelfth of the twelfth. Before he actually came out to me in the car. Will never forget either day. After much madness he cut off all his hair. I initially took such umbrance with it. But as soon as it was done I understood. How much happier he was and it made him. How much more him it was. How much more at ease he was. The beginning of peace for him.

 

 

My son despite his revelations that summer sensibly decided to finish off his GCSE’s as a girl in his current secondary to make it easier for others and thus himself, and I thought that was so brave. To have realised what you are but to also accept that you can continue managing as you are for long term gain. It was a really reflective and adult thing to do and commit to. Despite the complexities of teen and trans life my son did exceedingly well, and went onto start sixth form as a young man. It was an extremely proud day for our family and I. He has gone from strength to strength, securing 13 A*-B grades and finishing his ‘A’ levels very well. School wasn’t for him despite being very adept at it and he decided university wasn’t for him either. He wanted to use his passions with artistic flair and natural creativity in a working environment and secured one of seven places in an amazing media apprenticeship out of three thousand applicants. He can be a pain in the proverbial like any child, but he knows what he wants and goes for it. He is a boy to be proud of.

 

 

I realise now how much I worried about other people’s perceptions of my son.  And how much more protective I became. I openly recognise how fearful I was initially, as I know how cruel and insular some can be, especially kids. However I learnt how open minded and liberal today’s young are, some being wise beyond their years. I teach students every day and see how mean kids can be to each other, but I also equally see how much they understand and accept. I learn something from a child every day, including my own. But I was amazed and so thankful that my son despite minor hiccups was embraced by so many. Including elders. And those that I thought wouldn’t.

 

 

I am superbly proud of my nearly nineteen-year-old son and small daughters. It has been both a blessing and a privilege to both raise him and witness the great adult person he has become. And equally amazing to watch how his sisters openly adore him and how easily they have adjusted to his changes through open and simplistic realness and communication.  I talk about him openly to all and use his story to educate the young children I teach. I support him in all his endeavours, as does his dad and our family. It has taken a village to raise this child. And what a village he has. We are blessed to have him, but he is also blessed. I hear of stories of other trans kids via him, whose experiences are wholly different and very damaging. It doesn’t bother me that his life may not follow usual patterns, that he may or not remain living and working in this country, that he may not produce natural children or any in fact. All that I want for him is peace of mind and happiness, and success in all that he attempts. What touches me is the realness of regularity there is now on this journey with my son. And his number one fan will be rooting him all the way, whatever he does and however he does it.  I know I am not a bad parent for not guessing, because no one did. Not even him.  And I realised that it’s ok for him not to fit. He does. He fits himself.

 

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*This awesome Mother and her beautiful son have asked that this is posted anonymously.

12 Responses
  • Annika Spalding
    January 7, 2017

    This is incredibly beautiful and heartfelt. I have a close friend who is transgender and I was the first person he told when he was ready to take that step towards his true identity. I have watched with amazement and complete awe how he has grown and blossomed into a strong and confident black man. I am protective too, I just want him to be happy and now he finally is. Your account reminded me so much of how I felt too, even though I supported my friend and not my children. But it certainly does open up your eyes. Your son has a wonderful support network, he is loved and accepted in his authenticity, and that is not always the outcome for some transgender people, so this is truly beautiful. Thank you for sharing x

    • Motherhood Reconstructed
      January 7, 2017

      It’s a real demonstration of motherhood. We’ll forward your comment to the author 💜

  • Robin Jones
    October 6, 2016

    I loved this story, what a beautiful read !

    • Motherhood Reconstructed
      October 7, 2016

      Thank you Robin 🙂

  • Sareta
    October 3, 2016

    Gosh, what an amazing family this young man has. I can’t image what they all went through- I. An understand the loss, ultimately the mother lost a daughter. The siblings lost a sister- but, they all got through it and gained, what seems, an intelligent, beautiful son! A lovely post, thanks for sharing x

  • A Fellow Parent
    October 2, 2016

    As a fan of literate and good writing, reading this article is thought provoking, heartwarming and entertaining. As a parent, a single farther no less, this piece is encouraging, reassuring and inspiring. I hope the author and others like her continue to live and lead by example. But also share their experiences with those who want and /or need that message.

    The love, compassion, passion and understanding of my own late mother’s spirit echoed through the words of this author and I thank her for evoking that memory. Though I did not need reminding, such articles and blogs underline the fact that good mothers are the greatest gift a child, and in fact a father, could have.

    • Motherhood Reconstructed
      October 2, 2016

      Thank you for reading and commenting. Your comment has made us feel very emotional. This mother is a real diamond 💜

  • Zara
    October 2, 2016

    This made my eyes well up. To read such an open approach and the insane amount of understanding from both parties is beautiful – nothing can break the bond of parent and child and this personifies it – I hope life continues to be as positive as it’s panning out to be and deserves to be 🙂

    • Motherhood Reconstructed
      October 2, 2016

      Thank you for reading and commenting. Same re welling up and yes to continued understanding xx

  • Krystal Miller
    October 2, 2016

    Absolutely beautiful story. My son is only 5 but has a very fluid sense of self compared to kids and family his age. Whoever he wants to be will always be what I strive to support and nurture. Xx

    • Motherhood Reconstructed
      October 2, 2016

      I love that we are so much more aware and therefore can supportive rather than forcing circles into squares. Thank you for reading and commenting xx

  • Motherhood Reconstructed
    October 2, 2016

    A beautiful post, it must have come as a relief to both of you when he was able to fully be himself and was embraced by those around you x

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