lgbtq

What being the mom of a Trans Kid Taught me

Someone said to me once, “When your children are born, they are characters in your story. But eventually they start their own story line where they are the main character and you are in a supporting role.”

It may be hard for a parent to determine when their child’s story has begun, when we should let them learn from their own actions. Notice I did not say “learn from their own mistakes” because I have learned that sometimes mistakes are happy accidents in disguise.

There are many parents of transgender children who wonder, “Is this transition for attention? Is my child trying anything to get through their depression? Is this a response to abuse? Is this because their friends are doing it? Because it’s cool?”

Parents with these thoughts are not alone, and are not horrible people. These are some of the questions that keep us awake, shaking and crying at 3am. These parents are reflecting on a major change and transition, and want to be sure steps are being taken mindfully. Going over “what ifs” in your head is not wrong, but at some point we all need to stop ruminating and move forward – move toward growth.

What finally worked for me was: Release trying to figure out WHY, and focus on WHAT is happening.

You love your child, heart and soul – and seeing them happy while at the same time they know you have their back – will eventually transcend those questions. Keep loving their heart and soul. Who cares about their clothes or haircut? All of that is temporary.

Therapists look for consistency and insistency when helping trans kids. If your child hasn’t wavered the last few years in their transition, then getting them on a path that may fight dysphoria and mental health issues seems like the way to go in my opinion.

Hold their hand and get through it together. You’ll both grow so much from the experience!! And that is not temporary. That is forever.

People ask me if I miss my daughter. I’d rather have a happy son living his true life than a suicidal daughter living to satisfy others.

Isn’t it beautiful when people are allowed to be who they uniquely are, and we accept them without boundaries?

LOVE, real love, is willing to allow those who you care for to be their authentic selves without any insistence that they satisfy you.

Like Gifts, We Wear Wrapping Paper

One night at dinner, my son asked me something along the lines of, “They say parents of trans kids mourn for the child they used to have. Do you think you are in mourning for me?”

Here’s how I responded:
“Let’s pretend you told me I couldn’t see my friend Erin ever again. I love Erin, she’s fun and one of my tribe and I would miss her and be hurt, angry and sad.

“When you came out as trans I was scared I would miss the person you used to be. I was so scared of what I MIGHT feel, when I should have taken the time to actually figure out what I was feeling. And sitting here, across the dinner table from you, feels a whole lot like sitting across the table from the kid I used to have.”

It’s still my child’s heart, it’s still his soul, and it’s the same twinkle in his eyes. The rest is just wrapping paper.

People. We’re all people. We wear our packaging, our window dressing, our wrapping paper. But (unless you’re Dr. Who) you still have that one soul and that one heart, just like the people you see every day. Like the person who cut you off in traffic, or the person who is yelling at Starbucks, or the person who was beat up just for loving someone too much like them.

One heart, one soul – just people. 
Please be kind to one another, people. That’s how we make the world a better place for everyone. Follow love. Choose love. Lead with love.

 

Photo by Dirk Shadd. 

Embrace your Aha Moment

Have you had an “Aha” moment? Oprah talks about them all the time. A moment in time – or an experience – when insight or realization hits. It might be about a career or a relationship, but if you are really lucky it’s a moment of self-realization.

Learning something about yourself that changes your path may take strength of character. Often these moments of clarity lead to change – and people fear change. I have friends who have had aha moments about religion, sexual identity, gender identity, adoption – even keeping a vegan lifestyle. And a true AHA moment will give you the courage to maintain that sense of self even in the face of adversity.

I enjoy stories and shows with coming-of-age aha moments, when youngsters or tweenagers realize what they stand for and why. There’s a show at the “Straz Center” in Tampa, Florida, this week that I have been waiting to see called “Fun Home.” It the first Broadway musical with a lesbian protagonist – Alison Bechdel.

fun home straz tampa florida

Alison Bechdel is a real person. She is a cartoonist who had popular graphic novels and comics in the mid-80s and early 90s. In 2006, she published a graphic memoir of her life called “Fun Home”, which was subsequently adapted as a musical and won a Tony Award for Best Musical (among others) in 2015.

I first learned of Alison Bechdel when some college friends were talking about the Bechdel-Wallace Test. This tongue-in-cheek “test” analyzes portrayal of females in film and other popular media. A movie passes the Bechdel test if it has at least two female characters in it who both have names and who carry on a conversation about something other than a man.

I have been following the musical about her life, “Fun Home,” since its inception and I am thrilled that since its Broadway run has ended it will now be right next door to me in Tampa. I know too much already about the show and music, and I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but it deals with a lot of sensitive family situations – some of which will make me cry a lot from my seat in the audience – and which have also been a part of my family’s recent narrative.

I’m curious to see how the show will be readapted for the Straz Center’s gorgeous stage, because it was performed in the round in NYC. I’m also excited to see the 3 Alisons – three different actresses portray Alison Bechdel at different ages during the show.

If you want a bit of a spoiler, here is an Alison Aha Moment; Small Alison performing Ring of Keys at the 2015 Tony Awards.

For you teenage thespian geeks, check out the “Teens Take Broadway” feature on Thurs., Nov. 30 and receive a deeply discounted ticket plus a free pre-show event with live entertainment, games, raffles, refreshments and a free post-show talk-back with the cast.

Fun Home runs at the Straz Nov 28 – Dec 3, 2017Regular seats start at $31. I hope you go and your sense of self grows, or your sense of the world grows. I hope it helps you sift through your own clutter and find clarity. And I hope tomorrow night when I see it, I do the same.

I was asked to post about Fun Home in exchange for 2 free tickets due to my relationship with the Tampa Bay Bloggers.

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