Lately, it seems hard to turn on the TV or internet without hearing something about someone being Transgender or exploring what gender means to them, and rightfully so, it’s an unexplored area for most people. We are just beginning to hear about these journeys for some families, it’s not the first and it’s not the last! This is a family whose love knows no gender, they know and understand love. Love moves mountains, love knows no boundaries, they love above all, selflessly, unconditionally and with so much understanding and beauty. So, what is a gender? Does it matter? This is one mother’s story!
By Merriam Webster website, this is the definition of the word Gender.
Full Definition of GENDER
1a : a subclass within a grammatical class (as noun, pronoun, adjective, or verb) of a language that is partly arbitrary, but also partly based on distinguishable characteristics (as shape, social rank, manner of existence, or sex) and that determines agreement with and selection of other words or grammatical forms
b : membership of a word or a grammatical form in such a subclass c : an inflectional form showing membership in such a subclass
2a : sex <the feminine gender>
b : the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with one sex.
Perhaps I’m naïve or slightly uneducated, but I don’t see “appearance” anywhere in the above definition? Mommies who have babies deal with the “oh What a cute boy!” all the time when they are carrying a little girl wearing a pink bow. So why is there so much emphasis on appearance in terms of how we perceive gender.
Recently, this mama I’ve known for many years posted a photo of her child, her “son” wearing a two piece bathing suit. I’ve know her for many years and I’ve seen many photos of her children and I must admit, I see but I never really looked any further. Funny because with some people we can sort their photos and posts, so much so that we feel like we’re there with them but others, we can skip over so quickly. So this image popped up in my Facebook Newsfeed and it caught my eye, not negatively by any means, but because she was calling this beautiful little girl by a boys name.
For many moments, it didn’t make sense because this little girl looked as if she’d always been a girl and I thought perhaps I missed something before and just never really paid attention. So I reached out to the Mother, my friend, because I didn’t want to assume and I really didn’t want to just turn away and pretend I didn’t see it.
I came right out and asked, “Is your son Transgender?” and then I apologized profusely for my lack of knowledge and hoped that I at no point had offended her and she so sweetly responded, “Knowledge in power luv. Always ask. There isn’t a definitive answer to this. I will not say she is Trans. But she has heartfelt asked to be she/her (female pronouns).” Reading this response, my heart melted for her.
I recalled seeing pictures of her child and commenting to myself about the lovely eyelashes she had. Or the story about being made fun of because she (at the time he) wore pink gloves to school. How didn’t I see this before? Why didn’t I reach out to her sooner? I felt bad because she is a beautiful soul and we should all feel the immense amount of support this mama should be feeling now.
She continued to talk to me about this journey and it truly is so amazing that I have to share our conversations with you. Her answers are so beautiful and I am truly proud of this mama for being so unconditional and kind, gentle and nurturing! Please note, names have been left out protect the privacy of the mother and child. Have a read..
Q: How old your child?
A: She is 7 years old!
Q: When I had asked you about the situation and if your child was transgender, you had said the answer was not definitive, but that she has asked you in a very heartfelt manner to be addressed as a female, what makes you say/think the she is not trans gender?
A: I feel as if gender is fluid! All the rage on Orange is the New Black’s, Ruby Rose, she holds no gender boundaries, yet is full of a desirable beauty! My child is too young to be stamped with a label of Trans, as far as I am concerned that is for her to do if she feels the need. As parents, we make daily choices for our babies and even at 31, I’m afraid to make those that are life altering.
Q. How did you react when she asked you to address her as a female?
A. For me this has been about 4 years of understanding and preparation. As of lately my baby that was born male has been asking me to go as she. I didn’t really have a reaction to this because it was already in normalcy I guess. Like calling a spade a spade.
Q. Did you ever at any point before now, where you had a thought that she might be “different” for lack of better words? Did you see this coming?
A.I have always thought there was something was sparkling about her. I was always concerned about doing the right thing to make sure she felt loved and adored by me at all times. So when she was about 3, I started talking to a transgender teammates’ of mine to find out how her parents and friends and peers could have treated her better.
Q. Your response to my reaction/support was extremely humble, I can only imagine that you’re reacting the same to everyone else, how have people responded to this? How was your family?
A. People have responded so so lovingly. They are sending me all of this “I’m so proud of you and your parenting” texts and messages.
My mama is so loving and sweet. When it came to grade 7 windup I needed a swim suit and loved a two piece she was obviously beside herself with worry. “Oh hun ppl will make fun of you, are you sure?”
YES I was bloody sure. And yes, now I understand why, but 12yr old me thought she was embarrassed her chubby bunny was showing her belly. I made her buy it anyways and wore it with preteen anger and pride. Not one of my peers teased me! When I called my mom about my child, she felt that dresses at home were fine but at school I was setting her up to be hurt! All my 12yr old memories flooded me. I know she is coming from absolute pure love, do not get me wrong. But I also felt like holy shit if I isolate her true self to only our home, she will never know how wonderful people are or how many safe places there is and that as a whole it is her choice on what she chooses to use her energy on… hiding and adapting to what others expect of her or loving herself for whoever she and enjoying every second.
Q. How are you able to say “It’s her life” and be so accepting of her choice thus far?
A. . I don’t feel like I’m doing anything special. Just loving my kid, this is her life, but I’m getting attention. It’s strange
Q. How did your husband react?
A. Her physical, mental and spiritual growth and happiness is all we care about. Her step father blows my mind with his love and kindness. Her heart and mind says she’s a girl she’s a girl, no different than if her heart and mind say I’m a football star, I am an artist. That has been exactly his reaction. Looks at her as if she is his beautiful, sweet kid just like he always has.
Q. How has this affected her at school?
A. She has had 5 classmates who’s parents went out of the way to contact me for support and questions on how to treat her in the most respectful way. The school has pulled me in for a meeting to keep her safe and happy as well and I would like to make certain parents that do NOT agree with our choices feel respected as well. At this age I do not see her in her bikini or in the girl’s washroom as a big deal, but when puberty comes I feel for parents that could be concerned about a “male” in the same private facilities as females. Let’s face it, not everyone has the same views or tolerance, so the staff and I prefer to start with a structure that is setting up a safe respectable space for all the kids.
Q. Is she still going by her name or do you think at some point she will choose to go by a more feminine name?
A: It’s always been her name regardless of gender, hell even before her gender was apparent on a ultrasound! I had a limney snickets, Ben stellar everything goes wrong kind of pregnancy so as a teeny tiny seed I talked to her and called her that. It was how I coped with the chaos. Now just because of pronouns changing her heart and mind have always been my beautiful baby. I believe all that mattered was her health…. that’s what parents say when a child is asked if they are hoping for a girl or boy.
Q. Out of all that’s going on, what scares you most?
A. In all honesty, I’m afraid of sending my sparkling little star out shining her brightest!I guess we learn our life lessons and alter how we were parented to hopefully add more happiness and love than our parents were able.
I just absolutely adore how genuine and unconditional this women is. I hope your mama knows how good of a job she did raising you and how lucky your dear sweet child is to have a mama like you. You are beautiful and I can only hope that I make choices for my kids half as selflessly as you do.
When I asked her, the question from above, “Why do you think people fixate on appearance in terms of defining gender?” This was what she had to say,” Everyone wants to be loved and maybe striving for ideals that we see everyday causes that? I don’t know, let’s blame media. ….. I am and have always been a firm believer that the most attractive attribute is confidence! I like seeing movement for that. For following your passion, defines yourselves. Xo!”
I think she and her mother are two absolutely amazing souls , and I can’t even claim to understand half of their journey, but I’m amazed at the grace, understanding and selflessness shown. I encourage every one of you to open your heart and put yourself in their shoes! I hope this article has given you some insight into this journey. I can’t imagine how the process this has all been for them, but I know that what they don’t need is intolerance and judgement! I adore you lady!
I want to know…. Why do you think people fixate so much on appearance in terms of defining gender?