Recently, I had a candid conversation with a very close friend. She shared that my transgender child is lucky to have us as parents. She says that she would have challenged her child if they had spoken their truth. This comment completely flips my perspective on its head. It has never occurred to me to challenge her identity. I do not take offense to my friend’s comment. I strongly believe that we learn and grow from one another, so I am grateful for her candidness.
Yet, the comment sticks with me. It leads me to think about my four-year-old, who strongly identifies as male. Specifically, listening to him tell me that he will not shop for dinosaur socks in the “girls” section affirms the fact that children ABSOLUTELY have a gender identity from the youngest of ages. Of course, I respond that I didn’t realize socks have vaginas or penises (sorry kid, you got me as your mom). We leave the girls section and find “man socks” in the dollar section. Soon after, he proudly draws up the socks to his thighs and dons them for preschool. To summarize, I don’t question this behavior because it is WHO HE IS.
Just as I will never force my four-year-old to be someone he is not, I will never imprison my daughter in this way either. The candid conversation with my friend and reflection of my son’s behavior strengthens my confidence, belief, and resolve in supporting trans people and their right to identify as they choose. Furthermore, I simply can not fathom what it feels like to have someone question your identity.
To summarize, each of us is made up of a complex, beautiful, mosaic of feminine, masculine, and somewhere in between and friends, it is time to honor that.
Look around you. Take notice. How can you affirm someone’s uniqueness today?