Over the next few weeks, I plan to share about my parenthood journey of learning my child wants to transition their gender and how we as a family have handled that. I plan to share my story, what I have learned, what I wish I had done differently, and the steps that we have taken to support our child.
A number of months ago, our child expressed to us that they were wanting to transition their gender from a boy to a girl. They asked us to use their new pronouns of they/them and had already started the transition at school by changing their name.
Honestly, we thought it was a phase, but having no background knowledge on how to support them, we immediately booked a session with their therapist for advice. He was so supportive and we discussed ways that we could support our child in this process; allowing them to change their appearance to reflect the desired gender, wear more feminine clothes, use their pronouns, and be there to listen when they needed to talk.
We stumbled through the next few months, unsure of our plan moving forward and the permanency of this gender change. One evening we attended a school fundraiser with other parents from our children's school. We were chatting with another couple when we discovered that our children were in the same class at school. They told me their child's name and when I gave them our child's given name, they looked confused. They said they weren't sure if they had met our child yet. I then said that they often go by their chosen name, and the parents faces lit up and we delved into a big discussion of how our children knew each other and what a great year they were having at school. In that moment, my heart sank. Tears began forming, and I reached for my husband's hand. I whispered to him that we needed to do better. I told him what happened and in that moment we both agreed that we needed to step up and do better by our child.
We got home that night and by the next morning we had a plan that we were going to use our child's chosen name and pronouns consistently, expecially with eachother so that it would become second nature. We chatted with our child and came up with a plan to help them transition in our neighborhood and community. I found it a bit akward at first, but the more we told people, the easier it became. And our neighbors and the neighborhood kids were incredible. Every single one of them acknowledged our child, have been using their chosen name and pronouns and have been supportive in this process.
We also decided that we needed to do more research on having a transgender child and how to parent them. As I always do when I am needing more information, I made a stop at Odin books and bought some books to support my parenting journey. I wanted to create a plan for moving forward so that I understood the process and what to expect.
My goal over the next few months is to share my story and what I have learned in the hopes of supporting other parents along this journey. I will be the first to admit that I am no expert on gender or parenting gender creative children, but I believe strongly in being vulnerable and bringing awareness to this topic in the hopes of supporting others.
I hope you follow along with me on this journey and that I am able to provide some insight on how to support our gender creative children in our communities.
If you are looking for more resources, I highly recommend visiting our neighbors at Odin Books. They have a ton of resources and their staff are incredibly knowledgable and supportive. Anytime I am needing resources, they are always my first stop.