It happened again this week, minding my own business and BAM! Kicked in the gut. You know, you wake up in the morning a few minutes early to steal a quick look at social media? Those precious quiet moments are stolen under the covers to see what the world does outside of work. I love looking at my friends, their kids and checking to see pictures and pieces of their lives. But there it was…the kick. No! The punch that would stay with me throughout the day. It was all I could think of even as I walked through the ninety or so conversations I held with people, big and small, passing through my sphere from sunrise to sunset. Do they really think this? COULD they really think this?
The post: “People who claim it’s abuse to support transgender children have NO idea how much it hurts to be forced to be something you’re not. Support trans kids by believing them when they tell you who they are.” Wait, this is a positive post, right? We should all be pressing Like or double clicking, perhaps Retweeting? As her mother it is a punch in the gut. What the absolute eff are you talking about, abuse? Until two weeks ago this wasn’t on my radar, it came to my attention because a neighbor posted something similar but not in affirmation. Needless to say, holiday parties are off, trick-or-treat (nope), let’s carpool to the middle school dance (hard pass).
Truth be told we have lost friends as a result of deciding to affirm and support our daughter. I remember the days when she first came to me and we were scared to transition. She wasn’t ready and neither was our family. She was just five-years-old and was the very first trans person I had ever met. I didn’t have words to describe what was happening, it didn’t happen overnight, it just…happened. The friends and family who fell away and won’t return calls or texts were the easy ones. It was done. They made their stance known and the line was drawn. Most of these friends and family impacted only myself and my husband.
My sweet daughter suffers from the best friend at school who still loves her but can’t play. EVER. This one is classic. The best friend would do playdates all the time prior to that breakfast date when I came out to mom. Our girl was transitioning and she was excited. I thought it best we let her best friend’s mom know, as a courtesy because she was going to hear it from her kid. So, to Bob Evans we went. Mom appeared to take it well, she said she was supportive. So much so, she suggested I get a genetic test to see if, perhaps she had an extra chromosome (um….I’m sorry, excuse me? Can you repeat that?). At which point I knew; she would never be available to play again. We parted after coffee. I didn’t make a stink. It was done. We seem to pick these “friends” up at school. Thankfully she has an army of BFFs from other sources. My daughter is a kind, fun, charismatic soul who attracts like humans. She will be okay.
The stab in the heart are those who linger and play “friend.” Those who stay close but support people, politics and initiatives that are blatantly harmful to our child. I have a friend whose father just published a book that discusses how, “Christianity is being minimized more every day, and perverse ideas regarding marriage, gender, mercy and other things are becoming normalized and accepted.” Heart racing, adrenalin pumping, mind searching the memories of conversations we had. What did I divulge? How much did I let her in? She is proud of her father and I’m sure she doesn’t mean anything against my daughter. But how can she put this into the world when it is so…so HARMFUL; I fall into a puddle and my heart breaks into a thousand pieces. This is me, an adult. This is a friend. I respect her values and beliefs. How can she not respect that I have the best interest in mind for my own beautiful child? She has known me for fifteen years. How is this happening?
Simply put, I don’t have any answers. Prior to becoming the parent of a transgender child, I never had this experience. Never REALLY knowing where you stand with people. We live in a fairly rural area, definitely conservative. We struggle with being authentic but keeping our lives safe and private. I am grateful for my trans parent group and for the friends and family who have embraced us. They far outweigh those who have walked away. They are the ones that really matter.