The Defense Rests

Fact: I have been known to have a defensive side.  I was the kid who always said, “It wasn’t my fault” and I have a propensity to stick to my guns; sometimes well after I know in my heart that I screwed up.  There, I said it.

A few days ago, an article I wrote appeared in the parenting section of The Huffington Post in which I attempted to summarize the turn of events which brought me to where I am today: attempting to do right by my child who has identified as transgender.  Given the controversial nature of the subject matter, it is not surprising that there have been hundreds of comments (largely positive, I might add) ranging from accolades for the support my husband and I have tried to demonstrate to legitimate (and fair) concern over where my child will land to decisions among strangers that I am a mother who wanted a little girl.  One would think that the (marginal) vitriol would have me responding (read: defending myself) ferociously from my keyboard but, and this surprises me, I feel no need to.

My lack of need is due, in part, to the incredible online community (who knew?) that has come to my rescue.  Given the fact that many of the responders are themselves transgender, the validity of their statements far outweighs anything I could ever say.  Their states of transition vary from “long ago” to “in the midst”.  They each have a different story and have travelled a different road, but to a person they have confirmed that the feelings that my child has shared with me are precisely those that they experienced themselves.   Their unanimous agreement and comprehension of Jessie’s feelings are far more powerful than anything I could ever even attempt to convey.

That said, when I read the first comment (I believe there were three) which did not suggest, rather declared that this was a mommy-driven issue (one person accused me of acquiescing to a demanding child) it did feel like a quick blow to the esophagus and, truthfully, my initial reaction was to blast out a response which may not have been kindly worded.  That feeling lasted for about a nanosecond (defensiveness is so ingrained that I sometimes have gut reactions) before I smiled to myself armed with the knowledge that it was neither my encouragement (nor, for that matter, discouragement) that brought Jessie to her announcement.  In fact, the suggestion is so insane that I haven’t wasted time obsessing over it (which is something I have been known to do every so often: obsess).  I am so comfortable with the way in which this all happened that it actually surprises even me.

I will say, for the gazillionth time, that I take nothing for granted.  This may be Jessie’s permanent path.  She may change her mind next week, next month or years down the road.  She knows that whatever she decides, we’ve got her back.  At the risk of sounding, um, defensive, let me note that she does not have carte blanche to do whatever she pleases, but it is her life to live and I have enough respect for her, even at age 10, to honor what she feels she needs for now.    Do I think it is going to be easy?  Hell no, but for our family, the potential benefits trump the risks.

This is a lifelong adventure (yep, still hate the word journey) which we are taking not just a day at a time, but sometimes an hour at a time.  I do not profess to be an expert, know where we will land or how the story will play out.  I do, however, know that we are doing the right thing for our kid.  And to those who declared that I wanted a girl, all I can say is…seriously?

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77 thoughts on “The Defense Rests

  1. I have been a follower on your blog, and happened to have read the Huffington Post article on FB as a friend of mine (not a blog follower! coincidence) read and posted. I dont know you or your family but grew up in (XXXXXXXXX) and believe we are the same age so I bet we have many friends/acquaintences in common. I have found much inspiration to deal with my own particular family issues and struggles reading your blog. What I typically take away from your posts (which I find to be so well written, humorous, heart felt, honest … ) is that you and your family take on whatever the issue/challenge etc is that day, and you may not have all the answers, but you OWN the response and actions. I am sure in the beginning you had many fears about being accepted, out in the open, so public. But I truly believe that being in this age of social network, and abundance of immediate and very public communication, it can be easier to find support, than in our generation of growing up, when everything was so private, and not spoken about. Kudos to you and your family! You are out there just living your lives honestly, and lovingly. I think by sharing your story out there in the cyber world, you have reached so many people and inspired them, and the amount of support you receive back muust be astounding!!
    Thank you

    • Thanks for writing, Sharon. (I blocked out the town name…like I think I have any anonymity anymore!). We try to take things on as best we can, but we certainly blow things off, too – LOL. I appreciate your being in touch and, assuming we are around the same age, I agree that the world has come a long way in terms of what we are able to speak about in non-hushed tones. How can that be when we are still kids ourselves? Ha!

  2. I am a married lesbian with five children. I knew I was a lesbian at age twelve, but it was 1976 and I did not have the support of my family or my society, so I chose to live a lie. It was painful, and in the end, not possible, you must be true to yourself. I applaude you for supporting your child. She has a long and difficult road to walk, but with her parents support, the walk with be easier. Those that have not travelled this, or a similar road, can not understand…don’t bother with those who choose hate over love.

  3. I tend not to read the comment sections because I find that my blood boils when I read bullshit remarks that are just so wrong. I, like you, want to pop off and let my fingers to the talking in a not-so-polite manner. I have been known to write entire paragraphs using only profanity. BUT, I figured, let me just read some..and I did…and my blood boiled…and I will go back to not reading comments.
    Julie, continue doing what you need to do to make life as normal (if there is such a thing) as possible for your entire family.
    We (at least me) think you are fabulous!!!!

  4. I found your blog via the Huff Post article. I rarely comment on anything on the internet but felt compelled to here for some reason. The way you are parenting your child is amazing. Whether or not she continues down this path, you are supporting her and loving her and being the best possible parents you can be for her. I can imagine how frightening it may be for you to think of her out in the world being “different” than “the norm” but having you as her strength and foundation will make it that much easier for her to find her way. My children are younger than yours (2, 4, and 6 yrs) – I hope to be their support and foundation in any path they choose for their futures as well. Thanks for reminding us that we don’t get to mold our kids into what we envision they should be – but rather we need to accept them for who they are and support and love them unconditionally.

    • That is true – and not always easy. Believe me, there were plenty of times that we said, “Enough with the dolls!” and were not always entirely accepting of the non-conforming demands, but at the end of the day, when she told us how she felt it really never occurred to us to do anything but accept it. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  5. Trying this again..lol.. You ARE an awesome woman.. I envy Jessie for the support system she has, and for having such a brave, supportive family. People will always criticize that which they don’t understand. From someone who has been a “Jessie” all of their life, who at age 54 is a most uncomfortable and lost man…. I say you’re doing just fine. My life is truly a mess because I chose the only option available to me and it is too late to
    change. I believe you are wise to listen to your
    heart, and your daughter. You are acting out
    of love and concern for her…bravo! I am very,very happy for you

      • Hi Julie… thank you! I didn’t mean for my comment to be about me, or even a “oh, poor me!” Lol… Just wanted to say: “Yay!” for you! I did feel happy that if this is the situation that presented itself; that it is now, when the support you are showing to Jessie can be seconded by those around you- not fodder for hatred. Those that like to live by the “h” word will always have a negative opinion. I’m glad you realize that those kind of comments have no validity. As my Mom used to say: “consider the source.” Thanks for the reference to Connie. She seems like an awesome support! Have a wonderful day!

      • I did not see it as a “poor me” at all…I just know that Connie can speak so much better to you and your story than I can!

    • d,
      I guess that the main thing I have to say is that it is never too late. I’m nearly 61 and have only been out of my self-imposed prison for four years. I say self-imposed because I had built a life around myself – not for myself. I don’t regret having done so; it seemed the only option for me, as well. I love my children, grandchildren, and my wife of 40 years. As much as I fantasize about what it may have been like to have been able to live my life as a woman, I can’t imagine what it would have been like without my family, either. I can’t deny that I, too, was often a mess of a man. That fact did not go unnoticed by many people, not the least of whom was my family. The dynamics may be different when comparing Jessie to myself, but I’ve found that loved ones would generally rather see me as a happy woman than an unhappy man. There are still plenty of obstacles to get around, but they are in no way as debilitating as was my prior state of depression and despair.

      There is plenty of support to be found these days. With that support can come the options that were nonexistent those many years ago. As you say, you have been a “Jessie” all your life. You will continue to be for the rest of it. It was never a matter of choice that you identified with another gender, even if the choice to express it had seemed impossible. But it can be now. I will help you as much or as little as you may wish, even if you just need a kind ear. Please don’t hesitate to ask.

      Now, I hope that you do come back to read this! 🙂

      Take care,
      Connie

      • Hi Connie,
        Thanks so much! I too am thankful for my children and grandchildren and for their mother, who has never supported the me that we speak of. Well said in stating that you built a life “around ” yourself. So truefor me as well. I have spent a life caring for others, which I would have no other way. If I could have presented myself I the gender I would have happily chosen since I was two, I’m
        sure I could have avoided a lot of
        criticism over the years for having
        the caring and empathy that
        traditionally we attribute to females.
        Funny how you can be faulted for being kind and loving ( ringing a bell here, Julie?). I have seen the support out there now, which is simply put, awesome, but at this point of my life I still must do for others in the role that I have assumed for years. If there’s time and money at the end for me, I will see what I can do, and if not, it’s still been a good life. I love my children and grandkids more than any life I could choose. Considering they are having to deal with our impending marital breakup (for other reasons) after a million years together, I feel it would be harder for them to deal with more now. Thank you for your support… I’m here for you too, Sister. 🙂

      • There are thousands of us who were “Jessies” in our youth who did not have a “Julie” for a mother. Even as awesome and fantastic as Julie is, though, had she been Jessie’s mother 50 years ago, the social climate would not have allowed her to handle things as she has. We can’t go by “what ifs” *She pauses for a moment of fantasy*, and so we play with the cards we have been dealt. It is possible to call for a new deck, however, which I have finally done. I’m still in the process of shuffling it, and I’m betting that the cut will be in my favor. Jessie has become my ace in the hole (that would be the ace of hearts) (let’s say that Julie is the Queen of hearts – Rich can be the King, and Harrison, the Jack of hearts). By laying all her cards on the table, Julie is showing all of us a winning hand. This, to me, is a wonderful example of how, if we lead with our hearts, we can all be winners – even those of us who have had to play gender identity solitaire our whole lives (I’ve always identified with the line from that old song, which goes, “Playin’ solitaire til dawn, with a deck of fifty-one.”)

        OK, enough with the card references (even though I have been referred to
        as a card often).

        I will confess to having an ulterior motive for being here. As Julie tells of this adventure, I am finding hope for myself, as well. Although I have been able to rid myself of much of the guilt and shame of my past, I find so much
        encouragement in this story, not to mention the overwhelming acceptance, love, and support shown by others in their responses. I trust that y’all
        don’t mind that I’m choosing to believe that I would be deserving of some of
        that, too. 🙂

  6. I found your blog via your Scary Mommy post and have since shared it with many. I have two kids, 3.5 and 1.5, and I’ve found you a source of inspiration and strength. I hope I can parent my children as well as you have done; thank you so much for sharing your journey, and Jessie’s!

    • That is so flattering. Jury is still out on my success, but I am pretty comfortable that I am doing the right thing. Thanks for being in touch!

  7. Julie – you are a better person than I am – I would have jumped right in there with fingers flexed to fire off a response to some of those comments. Suffice to say that its easy to be judgemental from a distance…..with blinders on. I don’t know if you have responded to any of the Huffington posts but one thing for sure – NONE of the kids have had an issue with this transition – its only the adults who lag behind in that department. XO Diane

    • Readers: Diane speaks specifically of our school — not a single issue with any of the kids. See…so there he who commented on HuffPo that it was hard to believe that I was being honest about the seamless transition. As for firing off nasty responses, seems I had plenty of supporters at the ready to do it for me. 🙂

  8. I have just found your blog through your article in the Huffington Post. First of all, I so applaud you and your husband for being the enlightened beings your are. You may not feel like your enlightened, but you are. We all have come to this planet to participate in the human play and therefore, each of us has agreed to live out the roles we currently have. Your role as parents show others how to allow life to flow in the direction of “life affirming love” by how you are supporting your daughter in her journey. She, too, agreed to take on this current role. The bible speaks about about “a child shall lead them”. I believe that the children who are coming into the planet over these last several years are here to teach us how to love. We have moved so far away from that spiritual law of “law thy neighbor as you love yourself”. There are a lot of us walking around in self hatred and loathing, and we think this gives us the right to judge others so harshly. Children don’t have that until they are taught that by the adults around them. I can speak this from my own personal experience, so I do not say these things lightly! Continue to be the enlightened beings you are and the Universe will continue to flow into your family and strengthen and support you all this journey of living human. Namaste! I salute the Spirit you are!

    • I like to think I am far less judgmental than I might have been before. Sometimes it takes a kick in the ass to get there, but…

  9. This is something that bothers me: “one person accused me of acquiescing to a demanding child”. When we are at the store, I generally let my kids pick out some of their own clothes. Am I “acquiescing to a demanding child” by letting them pick out what they want to wear? My sons have traditional names with well established nicknames (think Robert>>Rob or Bob or Bobby). When signing them up for Kindergarten last week I asked them which name or nickname they’d prefer to go by in class. Am I “acquiescing to a demanding child”? In both of these cases, I’m sure that parent would say no. Why? Because as long as they are choosing “gender appropriate” clothing and using a “gender appropriate” name, they are allowed to have choices? Well who determines what is and what isn’t “gender appropriate”. Where is the rule book that a boy can’t be called Jesse? Oh wait, they can, bad example. What about Margaret? What makes a name “gender appropriate”? Society. Heck, once upon a time Tiffany and Stacey were boys names. Who says boys can’t wear pink? Society. (P.S. my non transgender sons do!! And purple!) They don’t have an issue with your child making decisions, they have an issue that you would dare to allow your child to make decisions that go against societal “norms”. Luckily, I think many mothers of young children today are really bucking these rules. For instance, my sons got a play-kitchen for Christmas when they were 3 (they loved it!) along with a train table (they loved that too!). And I also got them little Martha Stewart baking kits for kids complete with aprons. My BIL said “What’s with the pussy aprons”. (They were white with animal designs in primary colors…not exactly pink and frilly). And I simply responded that my kids like to bake with me, and that unlike his kids, when they are 19, they’ll be able to cook more than Ramen Noodles! Whether your kid is transgender or not…no child should be forced to like or dislike something based on whether they sit or stand when they pee!!

  10. As you know, Julie, I am also one prone to being a bit defensive. 😉 It would be more than a full-time job, however, to keep defending against so many ridiculous statements that have been made in response to the Huffington Post (which I have renamed “Huff and Puffington Post” because of them) blog. I came to the same conclusion, and bit my tongue (although it is quite possible you may have heard me screaming all the way from my NW outpost at times). I doubt that those of narrow mind could be convinced of any other point of view (let alone the facts), anyway. I’ve come to learn, long after my years in the hush hush era (I added another hush for the 50’s and 60’s), that there is nothing about my gender for which I need to apologize, and that the best defense is in displaying my self confidence – not only in my gender identity. There is no hush for Jessie, and your openess allows for her to continue to build self confidence. She’s an intelligent, good looking, and talented young lady (you know what I mean), and, with confidence, will undoubtedly go on to do great things with her life. Even if she should make an about face on her gender identity (I wouldn’t bet on it, based on what I know), at least she (he, hypthetically) will have been afforded the freedom to build the self confidence necessary to face life from that point onward. The confusion for a transgender child who is forced to suppress her or his own gender identity will most likely lead to confusion in all aspects of life. It certainly doesn’t help in developing self confidence, at any rate. And, Jessie will surely need that self-confidence to ward off and handle the nay sayers and ignorant people, the likes of which we’ve seen at Huffington – just like her mom does. 🙂

  11. There will always be people with opinions bigger than their brains. Only you know what is best for your family. Keep your head held high, you are doing a great job!

  12. I have never read your blog, but just read the Huffington Post article. You are doing a great job and giving your child what she need from loving parents. Keep up the good work!

  13. I saw your article in HuffPost and just wanted to say that I think you and your family are amazing! I’m so happy you shared this with the rest of us. I don’t have any kids, but I hope to one day- and I can only hope that I will be as brave and brilliant as you and your family have been if I am ever faced with an adventure like yours!

  14. I just wanted to let you know that I think you’re all an incredibly lucky family.

    I love Jessie’s story and your writing. The world needs to let people ‘be’ and not force everyone into a mold of what is considered the ‘norm.’

    Peace and love to you all.

  15. I feel nothing but love and respect for you and your beautiful child. Having a particularly thoughtful and sensitive boy after two tomboy girls, it’s sometimes amazed my wife and I how often stereotypes can be both right and wrong at the same time. I absolutely LOVE the strength shown by Jessie in coming to you and “demanding” acceptance and insistence that others do the same. I would have thought a school or location change would be necessary for this transition, but not for this very special person. Such amazing strength and confidence! I would be proud to know or be associated with Jessie and wish you both nothing but love and respect from all you encounter!

    • I, too, wondered if we would have to make a move, but we are fortunate enough to live in a wonderful community who have been nothing but supportive. Amazing.

  16. If you need my ‘butch ‘n bold’ self to come kick the asses of those who have given you grief, you know where to find me, homie.

    • No grief over here. Those HuffPo people are free to fight among themselves. However, should the need arise, you are my go to!

  17. Jules you know you are loved by many who know you and by those who are getting to know you through your writing!!! And if you really wanted a girl,,,,, well there are other ways such as adoption!!!!! Not to mention the conventional way too!!!! Which is fun just trying!!! But always remember that it is those within your own walls who are the important ones,,,,,, they are the ones that matter most… Which you already know!!!
    Hope to see you soon!!! Always , Laura

  18. I admire you and Jessie. I think it would be difficult to have to change all of your expectations and have your entire reality altered. I can only imagine how difficult it would be to “lose” a son but how infinitely wonderful it is to gain a daughter! Jessie is going to be such an emotionally healthy adult because of being allowed to be who she is regardless of how it makes other people feel. Thank you and Jessie for sharing your story.

  19. When I first read your story on huffington post I was instantly thrown back into the past. This brought up so many memories of my brother. When my sister and I were younger we had our ears pierced. He had thrown a fit of rage until he could have a piercing of his own. Unfortunately this was back in the early 90’s when the lgbt community was not as strong and he was chastised by friends and parents of friends until the point embarrassment. I’ve supported my brother through every special milestone of becoming who he really is. Jessie is so lucky to have such a large group of people supporting her through hers. Although my brother is still hesitant on becoming the woman he knows he is, he’s been out and proud. I just want to thank you for helping those who are lost and scared, realize they will be loved no matter who they are.

  20. You would not be a good mother, if you did not have those worries of exploitation. I personally have never heard of your daughters life before 5 minutes ago. and I must truly say I am so happy for her. I cannot imagine what she must have been going through those first 10 years. One day, when shes older, she will never forget how supportive you and your husband were for her. I think making her life public was a good thing, because it brings awareness and hopefully education to those who are ignorant on this subject.

    • I, too, was ignorant on this subject until, that is, I had not choice but to become educated. Talk about getting thrown to the wolves! Thanks for the kind words!

    • Charlene,
      Whether it be for 10 years or 60 years, you are correct, in that no one else but those of us who live with this can ever really understand what we may go through. Julie is helping all of us by spreading awareness, and the only real fact that we want people to be educated with is that we are just people who have a need to express ourselves and be accepted, just as anyone else does. Hey, I’m already older and I have to thank Julie for her support too! – C:onnie

  21. You are a loving mother and a brave woman. I have a 12-year-old boy and can only admire you for the way you have handled Jessie’s transition. All the best for all of you! The strenght of the foundations you are building now will help ease the difficult path ahead. Lots of love 🙂

  22. I too found your blog off the Huff Post article – all I have to say is that you & your family have so much strength and you give families/people of similar situations so much hope! I leave you with a quote “Life is too short to stress yourself with people who don’t even deserve to be an issue in your life.” ~Anon

  23. I am full of admiration for every single member of your family: that’s how it’s done, you support each other. I really appreciate you sharing your wonderful story with us who are strangers. Thank you.
    I am glad you are content to ignore those whose comments come from ignorance. I truly believe that statements like theirs say more about the person making them than the person they are addressed to. I also wonder if the strength of feeling in those kinds of comments arises out of a mistaken belief: thinking that the more strongly they feel then surely they must be even more right (yeah right!).
    Most people realise that they don’t know enough to comment or judge, and therefore don’t – but those that do (and clearly come from a place of a profound lack of understanding and absence of information) do so because differences in others make them feel attacked. Which has nothing to do with you and your family, and everything to do with themselves.
    So do please continue to ignore them. Best thing. I just hope you can put those comments out of your mind completely.

  24. i found your blog through the huffpost article. and reserved judgement till i read ALL the backposts. 🙂

    marvelous job, m’dear. raising a more feminine son is difficut, yes. my beastlyboy is 18 and while not gay, is more delicate and feminine than many boys his age. on the other hand, his 29 year old sister has always been a tomboy with a loathing for the color pink. so even gender-normal children can run the gamut of feminine to masculine!

    your jessie is a lovely young girl who will grow up to someday be a lovely adult, whether she be she or he be he or they meet somewhere in the middle. you and your husband and harrison are doing a bang-up job of jumping each hurdle as it presents itself, and knowing that your family core is united in love will be the thing that carries you through this journey.

    blessings on you all!
    (even gender-normal people dislike their names, therefore i’ve been kitty for years now. and BTW? “normal” is just a setting on the dryer. seriously.)

  25. Hello,
    I read in an older post that Jessie (then George) previously struggled with school and other classes. You mentioned that you were asked not to enrol your child again because of behavior concerns. I was wondering if you would mind sharing whether this behavior has improved since jessie’s secret is now out. Does she still struggle to behave in “acceptable” ways that allow her to participate in school and extracurricular activities more effectively?

    • Improved in an understatement. I am sure part of that is related to maturity, but I also believe that another (probably larger) part is a direct correlation to her having been freed up from the 1,000 lb secret (her words). In the spirit of full disclosure, I will say that she can certainly be a pain in the ass. I have spent many hours trying to determine what is attributable to her personal complications and what is just the nature of a ten year old. So far, I haven’t been able to make a clear distinction, though. Make sense?

      • If I may be allowed to chime in, I will tell you that the freeing of the weight of the secret (mine, at the age of 57 was 5700 pounds by Jessie’s math) does, indeed, have a correlation to ones behavior. At least it changes the perception of it by others. I’ve heard from many people to whom I’ve revealed my “secret” that they now understand and find sense in my prior behavior. Whether my current behavior is consistent with that of a 60 year old lady is suspect, but it is a lady I try to be. What may have seemed enigmatic or eccentric to people before is, at least, explainable when the cat’s let out of the bag. The ability to relax a bit without having to fight that weight allows for a toning-down and blending-in of certain behaviors. Does that make sense, or help any?

  26. I found your blog through Scary Mommy. And I plan on sticking around:) Here’s what I had to say there in case you missed it:

    As a child psychologist, there was no way I couldn’t jump in on this conversation. From what I see and from all of the parents I’ve counseled, their motives are only to see their children happy and healthy. It may be that Jesse continues to identify as a girl or there may come a time when she decides she identifies as a boy again. Gender is very fluid and not nearly as static or clearly defined as we once believed. The parents who choose to allow their children to transition go through a huge emotional process themselves. They have to grieve the life of one child while simultaneously embracing the new child in their life. Believe me, there is not a parent on the planet who would sign up for the task and these parents should be applauded. They have put aside their own feelings in order to allow their child to be happy. I wish all parents could be so selfless.

    “The child psychologist who thought she had all the answers to parenting until she became one herself.” http://www.themommypsychologist.com

    • I absolutely agree. It frustrates me when I hear that people are choosing transgender because it is ‘easier than …’. There is nothing harder than being transgender or adventuring along the way with a transgender person, except maybe fighting cancer. Do you know anyone who would choose to have cancer? No? I don’t know anyone who would choose to be trans either. What we choose is to learn to love ourselves. To love our families. To be honest about who we are in the face of a very scary world. Sometimes it pays off in beautiful circumstances like Jessie’s or my wife’s. And sometimes it results in death, trauma, loneliness, abuse, depression and broken lives. I still have to face that scary world every day when I choose to talk about my family, my marriage, my children. So no, maybe not quite as tough as cancer, but close.

      • One could argue that it is harder than cancer (I say this having had cancer myself and having watched my father fight and ultimately lose his battle against it) because I have yet to find a person who considers cancer a choice, or someone’s fault or a phase that will pass. Nope, this is harder.

  27. Well, I have officially neglected work for the last two days so I could read (and subscribe to!) your blog from start to finish and all I can say is ‘wow’. You have an amazing family and support system and you are all making this world a better and more accepting place.

    I am not a religious, or spiritual person, but sometimes I think things (meaning things that are not considered the “norm”), happen to people because they can not only handle it but can OWN it. Everyone is saying that Jessie is very lucky to have you all, and that she is, but you are also very lucky to have her!

    Go Jessie, go!

  28. After re-reading what I had written below, I realized that it was not only tangential, but a little incongruous, as well. Nevertheless, I can hope that my waxing philosophical will add something to the conversation.

    I lost my father, at age eight, and both my mother and brother, four years ago this month, to cancer. My wife is a cancer survivor. I am a transgender woman. The one thing I know, having lived with and through all of this, is that SHIT HAPPENS.
    There are so many things in our lives that have the ability to destroy us, and we can only deal with them as they come. Some of them are more worthy of our time than others, though, and we really have so precious little of that time to waste.

    The cancerous cells that can attack ones body, often to the point of a physical death, may be as destructive as those cells of society (and its norms) that attack a transgender person’s psyche, often to an emotional death. Scientists are now researching methods of boosting the “good” cells of the body to contain or render ineffective the cancerous cells. Through the spreading of awareness by “good” people, we can hope to contain society’s cancer of intolerance, eventually making it ineffective. I would argue that the research scientists are making more ground.

    Whether or not a cure is found for any sorts of cancer in our lifetimes, the important thing to remember is that we each have only one lifetime. The struggle to make the best of that time can be difficult, but, in the end, will make it more meaningful. The princess in me would like everything served to me on a silver platter. The reflection it would show back to me, after I’d emptied it, may not be as pretty as I thought myself to be, however.

  29. Thank you for your courage in telling your family’s story and for your demonstrations of love for your child. This is not just about transgender to me; it’s about good parenting too. I think many of us had some part of ourselves that we were “not allowed” to be or express as children. Though most of those facets were not quite as “big” as being transgender, your story represents all those things about us that we were shamed for–that we had to keep in the dark. Your voice is appreciated. We are all connected. “We belong to each other.”

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