When I was asked to write a piece about being the parent of a transgender child, at first I thought, “what’s the point?
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People have already made their minds up that it’s a fad or lefty liberal parents pushing an agenda onto their children or not parenting properly by pandering to the child’s make believe fantasy”
However, after careful thought and consideration I realised that it wasn’t that long ago that people had the same thoughts about homosexuality, yet due to people making others aware of the reality of it, it became more socially acceptable.
So maybe I need to be one of those people to stand up and be an ally properly, so that my son can grow up in a more understanding and accepting society?
They just don’t feel right in their own bodies and suffer from gender dysphoria – the distress a person experiences as a result of the sex and gender they were assigned at birth. In this case, the assigned sex and gender do not match the person’s gender identity.
Now, I know some people are going to read this and still say things like,
“I identify as a millionaire/dog/helicopter so from now on I’d like to be acknowledged as one”
While I appreciate that this is said in fun, I wonder how many of those people actually understand the pain, anguish and feeling of being trapped, that these kids go through. My suspicion is, not many!
My son, like many other trans-kids, turned to self harm. He’d cut his skin with a knife (usually on the legs and arms), because it felt like it was releasing the pressure he felt of being trapped inside a cage/body that he didn’t choose or want to be in.
Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning with your brain, memories, personality just as it is now but in the body of someone else, the opposite sex body. You know you’re a man but your outward appearance says otherwise to the rest of the world. Imagine how scared you’d feel (Yeah yeah, after the initial “fun” you think you’d have for a few days) when you realise your trapped and can’t get out.
Starting to understand yet?
I hope so.
I hope more people start to understand, for the sake of my son and the countless other transgender people out there just trying to make sense of their world and trying to find themselves and be the ‘real them’.
My son was 13 when he came out to us and we had no idea what it meant to be trans, but the last 3 years have been a journey for all of us and with lots of learning.
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The kids have to go through countless hours of psychological assessments and counselling before the doctors are happy to confirm a diagnosis and take any further action. It’s a thorough process.
If you’ve read all of this and it’s opened your eyes at all, or made you slightly more accepting of people like my son then, well, I guess I’ve done the right thing and my job as my son’s dad has been done right, in this moment.
Thanks for reading