About

They said, “it’s a boy”, but they lied.   Experience the transition from male to female from a parent’s point of view.

Note to readers: n.c.i. = name choice intended (there is still some back and forth between George and Jessie) and g.c.i. = gender choice intended (see n.c.i. for explanation). David and Robbie are my much older and far less fabulous brothers whom I love with all my heart and Rich, Jessie and Harrison are my husband and kids whom I couldn’t possibly love any more.

There is no room for judgment, criticism or hate on this blog. Words of support, caring and love can be posted here or sent to orabatmoshe@hotmail.com. Every single one will be read. I promise.

Also, I have tried like hell to figure out a way to put a link on the home page with a “start here” button which would take you to the beginning of this blog which will, in turn, lend better perspective to the whole wild ride, but have not been able to figure it out and have decided that I am a better writer than I am a technical person. We can’t all be good at everything, now can we?  (What really irks me about this is that I, at one point, managed to figure out how to post the “Home” and “About” links but am now a moron and cannot replicate that process…)

So, start at the beginning!

jlr

198 thoughts on “About

  1. Julie, I don’t know all the details since Jessie’s birth, but I can tell from where you, Rich, Harrison and, especially, Jessie, are today, that you are a POWERHOUSE. That little girl is the luckiest girl in the world. She is blessed with a POWERHOUSE mother, father, and brother. You……a great role model. a force to be reckon with, a fair, kind, compassionate human being who is, brick by brick, laying down a strong foundation for her daughter to grow, live, prosper and be happy. GOD BLESS YOU, Julie. I am in awe of you and your family for how you are managing this “journey.” I am in awe of the wisdom and strength of your precious children. Jessie, above all, has so much to teach all of us about standing tall, being true to oneself first and authentic to the world. And one more thing, Julie. It’s not surprising that you have had such a hard, painful time with your back—look at the load you have been carrying. As you continue to share, process, and steady your feet solidly on the ground, I hope you’ll experience your own freedom from the burden you have been lugging around all these years. Here’s to you, Julie! Here’s to Rich, Harrison and, especially, Jessie!

    You inspire me, for sure. 🙂
    Lori

    • Wow…powerhouse. I kinda like the way that sounds. But, if I have said this once, I have said it a thousand times…I am not doing anything that you wouldn’t do for your child. And, before any credit is given, let’s sit back and see how this all flushes out.
      As for my back…it is evil, demanding and getting tiresome, but also far better than it was last year at this time. xo

    • Julie, you are terrific! I think your blogs shoud be in a book because the writing comes from the heart and touches every reader;s heart, whether they will it or not. You got me crying, so to selfishly dry my tears, and knowing how proud your Dad would be, I’ll sign off now. You are a powerhouse indeed!
      Love,
      Sandra

      • Thanks so much, especially for the reminder about how proud my dad would be! Wish her were here for this adventure! xo

    • As a bi-racial child in the 80’s, I was looked at as an anomaly. Unaccepted by society (in lived in a rural area) I was told to what I was by people that didn’t have a vote…. I settled on human. I admire children to be themselves regardless of society dictates. I wish you & your family much joy & happiness. I admire you for giving your child the gift of self acceptance…most of us are still seeking it.

  2. Julie,
    My mother and I are just reading about this now. We’re impressed with your openness and management of this (and with Rich, Harrison, and Jessie’s, too). We are thinking of you all (and I love that shopping is more fun!).
    Be well,
    Melissa and Arlene

    • See what you miss when you hop off Facebook for a few days?? Go to the first post and read forward…it will make more sense that way. We are open. Jury is still out on how we are managing…
      xo

  3. Julie, I know! FB: the link to the world.

    We (my mother and I) have been reading from the start and are up to Harrison’s post (to which I had to respond).

    I don’t want to sound like so many other people who are complimenting you no end, but you are all incredible. You have had more than your share of challenges–of clubs you didn’t expect to join, some of which are not official clubs–and this will be a long and unclear one, one, though, with lots of enjoyment and lessons. You and I have always had a rather tenuous (not sure if that’s the right word) relationship (maybe it’s just that we’re different), and I’m not sure I would have predicted this amount of poise in response to all of these challenges when we were in high school. 😉 (Emoticon not meant glibly.)

    (To copy you) xo Melissa

  4. Well, dear Julie and Rich, Harrison and Jessie – Julie, did you know that Jessie is almost a family name? Uncle Joseph, Grandpa’s best friend known as Uncle Jopus (that was your father’s invenstion) was married to Aunt Jessie, a best friend of Grandma’s. I just may have to get on Facebook and stop counting on Bobby to keep me up to date on family events. Here’s wishing all of you lots of joy. Much love, Aunt Barbara and Uncle John

    • I remember Jopus and Jessie…but I cannot take any credit for the name as I was not the one doing the choosing. So glad to hear from you. This has been a warp speed, fasten your seatbelt ride so far! xoxo

  5. Dear Jules~I am honored to be part of the family of people who hold the password, amongst those with whom you feel safe, supported, cocooned as you explore your new world~ and Jessie’s. “The Password”. It sounds like the name of a book… Fondly~Shaun

  6. You don’t know me,but you know my daughter,Allison, who encouraged me to read your blog. How glad I am that I took her advice. You and I know that we can learn from our daughters, but now, I know, that I can learn from my daughter’s friends.
    Thank you for what you write and who you are.
    Judy Nack

    • Thank you so much…it is so great to hear from you and so kind of Allison to deem my story worthy of sharing. Give her special hugs from me!

  7. You don’t know me but I am friends with Lisa who shared your blog. I am a mother of three. We always preach to our kids the phrase “you get what you get and you don’t get upset” and all I can say is that in life we don’t get to choose who our children are and how they behave and who they will eventually become etc. You have accepted your daughter for who she is and you are undoubtedly a great mom! You are an inspiration to me….

  8. I think that you embody everything that a mother should be; accepting, demanding, loving, supporting and just plain moving on with life.
    You are a wonderful writer; I wish you all the best with your family and your health!

    • I am flattered – have to give credit to my parents for teaching me all that they knew. I will also have to refer back to this when things are blowing up in my face. Thanks for the kind words!

  9. I love your writings. And the life messages within those articles are far beyond inspiring. I think you should write a book about it.

    Ocean of kind wishes from Indonesia 🙂

  10. it’s great you write about the experiances you’ve made and are still going to make, i’m sure it can help a lot of people who are in the same or a similar situation!
    all the best from vienna, austria!

  11. you are such a strong woman, send you a hug to you and your family because is beautiful to be different from the rest of the world. kisses to jessie from Panama.

  12. I love that I have been reading more and more about parenting trans children because it DOES exist and it isn’t a taboo. I love that you are blogging about Jessie’s journey as well as your own – because this is not just a learning experience for her but it’s one for the entire family. I commend you for the non-judgmental approach you are taking and making her feel safe as a young trans person. She must be so thankful to you and everyone around her for the support she is receiving. I will keep reading because we all can learn so much from the both of you!

    • It definitely exists. It is less of a taboo, but not free and clear quite yet. It is easy to be non-judgmental…this is my kid I am talking about. I am the first to say that I might not be quite so cool if it weren’t my own child. I am learning from her and my readers every day!

  13. I’ve no idea if you remember me from Beaver, but I was a year behind you. If I recall correctly (always a questionable assumption) we sang together in Glee Club. I heard about your odyssey (what else should we call your amazing journey?) through FB folks. In reading your blog, I’ve been so impressed you and your family. In particular, your recognition of and respect for loss (whether due to illness, death of loved ones, or shifting identity) brought me to tears.

    I told my 10 year old daughter, Elizabeth, about your story and Jessie a few weeks ago. Elizabeth’s response was, “Jessie sounds really interesting. I’d like to meet her.” A while later (she was in the backseat with her 8 year old sister, Laura, while I drove), Elizabeth asked me, “What’s Jessie going to do about a bathing suit this summer?” As I was traveling on a different train of thought at that point, for whatever reason I thought she was asking about our cousin Jessie. But “our” Jessie is in her 20’s so this didn’t make much sense. Then Elizabeth leaned forward, “Your FRIEND’s DAUGHTER!”

    “Oh. I don’t know. I hadn’t really thought about it. Why do you ask?”

    “I’m thinking she’ll need a bathing suit which doesn’t show her penis.”

    My husband (in the passenger seat) turned and stared at us, wholly baffled. Not judging, just wholly baffled.

    “Maybe some kinda skirted thing.” Elizabeth continued musing about bathing attire for transgender folks.

    The other day my kids were looking through the Lands End catalog and, again, Jessie’s summer attire became the topic of conversation. Upon consideration, they recommend something like this: http://www.landsend.com/pp/girls-gathered-side-tie-swimmini~234844_1187.html?bcc=y&action=order_more&sku_0=::UK4&CM_MERCH=IDX_swimwear-_-girls or this: http://www.landsend.com/pp/girls-shirred-ruffle-swimmini~217970_1187.html?bcc=y&action=order_more&sku_0=::OXR&CM_MERCH=IDX_swimwear-_-girls

    So there you have it. If Jessie’s looking for somebody in Baltimore to offer fashion tips, Elizabeth is eager to assist.

    Meanwhile, I wish you and your family all the best.

    • Of course I remember you. (Full disclosure: I would not have recognized you as Christine, but definitely as Chrissie). You can tell Elizabeth that we were forced to face the bathing suit issue very soon after Jessie’s announcement to us as she and my husband were going to Florida to visit Grandma. I was panicky and, truth be told, Googled something like: “bathingsuits for transgender male to female” which put the idea of girl’s boy shorts (oh, the irony!) in my head. I subsequently wound up with several tankinis with either board short or skirted bottoms. She was thrilled. I also just received the Land’s End catalog and have plans to sit down with Jessie to pick out a few. The bigger challenge now it to limit her to just a few!

      I love that this topic (well, these topics, I suppose, is more accurate) is a conversation in your house. Amazing how different this generation is from ours…and we were totally hip and cool!

      Thanks for reading the blog and for being in touch. I hope you will continue to follow the story as it unfolds.

      • Quick reply! The “hip and cool” reference cracked me up as it made me recall another discussion with Elizabeth before she entered kindergarten. We were reviewing a list of the families in her new class (at an all-girl school). When it became apparent that one of her classmates had a “two-daddy” household, Elizabeth seemed shocked at the concept of a classmate having two daddies, I inquired as to why this seemed so shocking; I reminded her that at her preschool (with which the elementary school’s affiliated) she had several classmates with two mommies.

        “Two mommies is normal; Two daddies is just–silly!” and she proceeded to start giggling uncontrollably, “Two daddies!” I should mention that once became friendly with the family, Elizabeth seemed to find the daddies far less amusing–although to this day I still am in awe of one dad’s hair-doing ability–who knew a WASP could do cornrows?:-)

        Five years later, I’m still scratching my head, wondering how she developed the concept that two mommies is normal but two daddies is just silly. (Okay, I’ll admit I can kinda see her point but why the hysterical laughter?)

    • Christine,
      I just love your comment…wow, you are obviously as cool a mom as Julie.
      Here’s to old acquaintances re-united and to COOL MOMS!

  14. I just want to tell you that I truly enjoy reading your blog. It’s positive, real and personal. Even though I don’t know you personally, I can tell that you are a great mom and wife. Please continue to write, and I will continue to enjoy it.

  15. I just wanted to thank you for starting this blog. I found it through Freshly Pressed, and I can’t tell you how glad I am that I did. You’re an incredible writer, and an inspiration. I’m transgender myself, and while I’m new to this blogging lark, I like to think I know a blog worth following when I see (read) one!

    I’m lucky enough to have a mother as amazing as you, but there are so many out there who don’t, so thank you for putting such personal things out there; it will be giving hope to those who lack it, and comfort to those who need it.

    Kudos to you once again, and hugs to your entire family for being so strong (and so publicly).

  16. I have really enjoyed reading your blog; I think you are a great writer and an unbelievable parent so I would like to give you the very inspiring blog award. Details are on my page. Thank you for sharing your story

    • Thanks so much…it is nice to be considered inspiring. Especially on days like today (or, more accurately, weeks, nah…months, like these!)

  17. Your couragousness and incredibly unique parenting skills (ability to be so flexible with your childs needs in this unique situation) will create the most well adjusted daughter, trans or not.

  18. Julie, I just found your blog through Scary Mommy. Your family is a true inspiration. Jessie is so lucky to have you as her mom! and you are lucky to have her in your life too, of course 🙂 but you know that already…

  19. I don’t know you in real life. Just stumbled upon your blog and started reading. Thank you for blogging honestly about transgender parenting. I have a transgender sister-in-law that I never got to meet. Unfortunately she died a few weeks ago of a progressive autoimmune disease. My SIL grew up as a boy in the 70’s and 80’s and then broke off contact with her family around age 21. After 20+ years we recently heard from her wife that she was sick and then that she died sooner than expected. My surviving SIL has been friendly and great through all this! So now we are all trying to untangle a lot of old emotional stuff (good thing I have a degree in counseling). And your blog helps a little with that so thanks.

    • Rachel – what a story…all the best of luck with untangling the past. I know that Jessie is lucky to be experiencing this in 2012, for sure!

  20. I’m quite offended by how I was not included in the “family” of those with whom the sacred password is shared. This hurts deep down inside, deeper than my kidneys, especially having known Harrison longer than I care to admit. Although I’m not saying nor implying that I should be given the password, it would bring honor to myself and my family.

    That being said, this is a kick-ass blog. I read it constantly and I’m continually surprised at the tolerance held by everyone mentioned, as well as the extreme(ly wonderful) lack of hate. Plus, Harrison now has a great topic to write about for college essays.

    That is all.

    P.S.: Mrs. Ross, if you ever approve of this comment, I will be amazed. You continue to show how open you are to goofy shit like this.

    P.P.S.: I’m still winning in Words with Friends. Booyah!

    • That password is so two months ago…get with the program, would ya? Yeah, we have considered that college essay thing, too. I have an idea — you can continue your honorary Ross-dom and use it for yours!
      Oh, and as for the Words, I feel badly for you, so am letting you win.

  21. We are going through this now and whilst I’m crying my eyes out reading what you have written, it also is like a little re-assuring hug that is will be all ok….so thank you ! Your whole family is an inspiration.

  22. Julie,

    I read your blog on Huffington Post and would love to connect with you. I’m TG as well, and have the utmost respect for you. Please know, you are not alone and neither is Jessie. If you need anything, please email me, or find me on FB.

    With warmest regards,

    Kelly

  23. Julie,

    I went through this as a child. Unlike your family, my parents wouldn’t hear of it and my father did everything short of killing me to try to beat “this behavior” out of me. I fought for years with the internal struggle between being a female trapped in a male body. I was able to “father” tree boys that are my life, and 2 1/2 years ago I came out. Since then, I have lost family and friends because of my choice. To this day, my mother refuses to even acknowledge what is going on. According to her, this is nothing more than a “mid-life crisis”. I have been in counseling and HRT for the last 8 months and I feel incredible. My life finally has a meaning now, where before it was nothing but mass confusion. As of 2 months ago, I started living full-time as female and have had good days as well as bad ones.

    I have to commend you and your family for taking this journey together and being as open-minded as you are. If you would like to talk, please don’t hesitate. I can be reached on FB or here: jazmine.rerann@gmail.com. My thoughts and prayers with you and your family. May Jessie find ALL of the happiness in everything she does.

    • Jazmine – I hear stories like yours everyday and it breaks my heart. I respect your mother having whatever feelings she has around this, but am saddened by her inability to support you. I know that I have and will likely continue to make mistakes, but I hope Jessie will always know that my husband, her brother and I all support her.

  24. Julie,
    You don’t know me but I am engrossed with this blog. If knew me, you would know that I never got to tell my mom about who I am. Ive asked my closest of closest friends who also knew my mom how she would have reacted. They would say nice things,

    After reading your blog that I can say that you are amazing. I personally think that how you acted and how you are now with Jessie is exactly how my mom would have been.

    In reading this, you are like a second mom to me. I know it sounds corny,but its true. Its almost like I get to feel what she would have and not feel so alone. Its funny you mention about the gymnastics. Just the other day i was watching Dominique Mocianu of The Magnificent Seven of the 1996 Olympics. I always dreamed of doing gymnastics as a little kid, but never came out until I was 19. I was thinking about looking into adult gymnastics for those who were born a little differently. Have Jessie watch Domi;s floor routine . i think she will like it.

    I wish you and Jessie and your entire family nothing but the best.
    If I can be of any help to you or Jessie, please dont hesitate to ask

    Jennifer Souder

    • Jennifer – glad that you found the blog and it is great to hear that you (and your closest friends) know that your mother would have accepted you for who you needed to be. There has to be a lot of peace in that for you.

  25. Thank you for being loving and supportive of Jessie in her pursuit of an authentic life. My father was not blessed with loving acceptance, intact was repressed, shamed, molested, abused, and given slews of horrifying advice from the mental health community for most of his life.

    Thankfully, my father shared his life with me when I was 25 years old, and I spent 4 years with him, the real him (he chose not to go through any changes at such an advanced age).

    My father’s life ended up positively affecting my sister and myself when the truth was shared. Absolute love and acceptance sub zero hesitation. I am pleased for Jessie that she will be able to live without fear of admonition from those whose love she deserves.

    Have a wonderful life, a happy life, a full life Miss Jessie! Mrs. Kostic, mother, daughter, sister, wife wishes you a lifetime of blessings!

  26. Julie – I just read your post on the Huffington Post, and it touched me. I don’t know if you have seen any of the LunaFest films and documentaries, but there is one in the 2012 edition on this subject. Here’s the link: http://www.lunafest.org/the-films/details/i-am-a-girl
    I don’t know if you can see the film from this site, but you can certainly look for it with this info. The story is very similar to Jessie’s, and it focuses attention on the young girl and her transition from male to female.
    The road to adulthood is rarely easy for any of us, but it is clear that Jessie will have an easier road than many because of you and your family.

  27. Julie,

    You and your husband are as cool with dealing with a tg child as my parents were twelve years ago. Rather than being ashamed and asking “why us”, they embraced their new daughter and a found happiness in me they had never seen before. Keep up the great work.

    Kelly

    • I am so glad to hear from you, Kelly. And so happy for you that you found your happiness. Your parents were way ahead of their time!

  28. LOVE THIS…teaching tolerance and unconditional love as family values. Jessie is extraordinarily lucky and you and your family are remarkable. I wish Jessie the best as she continues her transition–having support from a loving family is half the battle. I think she’ll be just fine.

  29. I am lucky to have two good trans friends. I met both of them in their 30s when they were in the very early stages of coming out as trans. Some of the stories they’ve told me about their preteen, teen, and early adult years ‘in the closet’ and in denial are harrowing. I can’t help but imagine the trauma they might have been able avoid had they been raised in such a supportive, positive family like yours.

    • True – it can be nightmarish for these kids. No matter where my child lands, I will do anything in my power to avoid nightmares of any sort.

  30. Hi. Came across this blog via Huffington Post (Canada).

    Your family is on quite the journey. Jessie sounds like an amazing girl; you are certainly blessed to have her in your life – and vice versa, of course. I wish you all well as your journey continues.

    Regards, Marie

  31. Hi Julie: My wife and I are the parents (I am actually a step-parent) of a 17yr old who just told us she is a boy trapped in the body of a girl. Never have we noticed any signs of her being transgender. We have no problem with our child being transgender except for the way she is handling it. Many of the articles we find are focused on children who reveal that they are transgender at an early age. Our child does not communicate well with us. Any advice?

    • I could never do this without the aid of therapists – one of my kid and one for me. Also, look into PFLAG support groups in your area. The one I go to has been a G-dsend. Go to http://www.pflag.org. Oh, and fasten your seatbelt 😉

    • Thus far we have been totally blessed with undying support. I know that we are not necessarily the norm, but hoping that things are moving in that direction.

  32. Dear Julie,
    I came across your blog via an article (from Huffington Post I believe) that a friend of mine posted on Facebook and have been reading through it for the last few hours.
    Let me just say that Jessie is very lucky having a loving and supportive family like yours.
    I believe you are an example to so many parents out there, so thank you for sharing your blog with the world. You are a great writer by the way.
    I wish Jessie and your entire family all the best in the world!
    Hugs from Munich, Germany.

  33. So glad to have found you via the Huffington Post! I am also a mom of a transgender child – F to M – and have my own blog – if you are interested you can find it at: http://www.transparenthood.net. You can also find contact information for me there – drop me a line and maybe we could chat offline. Love your blog … please keep writing!

    Leslie

  34. No one wrote a book to reference when your kid announces something like this. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story and for loving your child as she is.

    • That’s for sure — there are plenty of books out there, many are excellent, but no two situations are exactly the same and this is, indeed, complicated stuff. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

  35. You made me cry at work!!!! Not sure if it was your strength, the strength of your family or the power of that wonderful daughter of yours, but I am proud to know you and I dont know you (if that makes any sense at all) Reach for new heights, aspire to greater goals, and by all means tell the world. You are what I hope to be as a parent! Thanks for sharing your story…..All my best for you and your family
    Jim

    • Aw…I am kinda touched that I made you cry, but I hope it didn’t turn you into some sort of blubbering mess. lol

  36. I just read your article on the Huffington Post. Thank god for parents like you. Jessie’s story made me well up with tears. I am a successful trans woman in her 30’s and I know Jessie’s story all to well. I am sure she will grow up to be a wonderful, caring and happy person because of your love. Bless you both!

  37. FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC! I am a gay man in my early 30’s (although not the same as identifying as transgendered) and the best thing my parents ever did for me was to support me in my every move with regards to my sexuality. WAY TO GO JULIE and MOM! I hope you’ve discovered already how much your support is going to forever change for the better, your daughters quality of life, self esteem, and self identification. I’m so proud of you for having the courage to do what you do and support your daughter (because so many parents don’t), and for Jessie for having the courage to be herself.

  38. Thank you for this blog. This is exactly what my family is going through and we are having SO many similar experiences. I freaked out last summer when I realized that swimsuits would be needed. I ended up finding a cute bikini with a skirt that has so far worked well. My daughter came out at age 8 and we transitioned in school in 3rd grade. There have been days when I have come home from the playground crying and days when I come home so happy because another mom ‘gets it’. This is an adventure and wow – it’s a bumpy ride! As I sat today and read your posts I keep smiling because the posts mirrored my life. So, thanks, for helping me remember that I’m not the only mom going through this!

  39. I have to say Julie you are an amazing mom. As a mother of three girls and one boy on the way i find it refreshing to see parents that have the same views as me and my husband. We have always said since the day our oldest daughter Bella started saying her friends (girls) were cute to the moment she kissed one, that should any of our children decide they are gay lesbian bi or transgender we will treat them the same and help them in any way. A parents job is to love and do the best for our kids and you have done this for Jessie. I only pray that more parents try and understand their childrens needs as well as you and your husband have. God bless…

  40. Julie, the HuffPost article led me to your blog, and I have subscribed. Jessie is fortunate to have a mom who is so aware, so vigilant, so perceptive, so honest, so open in mind and heart. Your writing reflects all this.

    My wife and I have been married 25 years. We have three grown sons, and often grapple with how to best advise and support them. I get what you say about your family making its way one day, one hour. As you say, it’s often a challenge but who could trade it for anything?

    I wish you and your family all the best!

  41. No Blubbering!! Although I did have to “conveniently” use the mens room right after reading the article and some of the blog!!!!! LOLOL!!!

    …..the part that finished me off was your story about the pj party at school!!!! What a great visual, I can see her bounding into school with the weight of the world lifted from her!!!
    Thanks for making my day
    Jim

  42. Hi Julie, I’m really impressed by your family!!! I have three children of my own, and I don’t care what sexual orientation they end up having. I just want them to love and be loved, accepted and know that as long as they do the “right” thing by everyone in their lives, then that’s good enough for me. Your story is inspirational. There’s much that many can learn from your family’s grace.

  43. I read the article posted on AOL’s site today, and found your blog. Wow, Jessie is so lucky to have you two as parents! It’s wonderful that you’re so open about the whole situation..so much healthier I’m sure for Jessie and easier for you to not have to worry about keeping secrets or being careful about who knows what. The only thing I feel sorry for you about is that now you have to go through the teen years with a girl instead of a boy! Good luck with that! lol.

  44. Dear Julie and Jessie , I just came across your article this morning , WOW !!! It is wonderful to see so much love and understanding .Jessie your are a very beautiful and brave young girl .Bravo to you and your family .

  45. “The consequent of movement swim inside all of us.”

    I wrote this sentence 13 years ago as a boy. I’m am still a boy. I am a happy boy. I am a lost boy. I see the dog run. I see the cat meow. I see the branch fall, deep, singular, beside the trunk of a elm tree. But unlike many boys–boys who became men–I see through the mirrors and the gloss. I see what I was supposed be: fractured and complex… best taken from many angles. I see what I am not. I see that I’m still here.

    Alone again.

    I saw your article while toying with a friend’s computer. Like a red light, it popped up and I had to stop. Southwestern heat and a moth infestation brings pause. I’ve been told that the position of stars can do the same thing. I can blame many things… A flicker… An understanding… A lure by a porch light.

    What breaks my heart is that people can’t see through the glass. What breaks my heart is that people can’t see that we’re not a product of choice or circumstance. What breaks my heart is impact: an acknowledgement of HOW a person IS……….

    “There are physiological malfunctions that can lay dormant inside human circuitry for decades, gurgling upward like a gaseous bubble that disrupts the surface of a well. Replications of rouge cells and aneurisms persuaded by faulty vessel walls. Metastatic tumors. Organs that spontaneously swell. There are other abnormalities, equally fatal, equally loving, that exist beyond the realm of medical definition. A threadbare in a hidden chamber of the heart. The germinal states of such “defects” are often untraceable, existing well outside the boundary of memory or thought. But memory means nothing. Love is the key. Understanding is the key. Standing up every morning is the key.”

    … other things I’ve wrote, printed but never read last year.

    I don’t speak straight no more, but I speak loud enough to hear. Louder… an echo in Iceland, perhaps. I speak to you and your daughter (a daughter who was once a son)… I speak to one of the most incredible families in the world. I speak, while you move forward.

    I move forward.

    The world moves forward.

    You have the bravest child in the world.

    Thanks ❤

    Andre Ross

    But this is what love is like: unforbidding, unabashed and unashamed.

  46. Hi Julie! Thank you so much for your amazing blog!!! We are on a similar journey with our 13 year old. One of the hardest things is the feeling that we are making it up as we go along..Being able to read about your experiences, and finding so much that is familiar, is wonderful! I would love to talk with you about creating a forum or q&a site for parents of transgender children….some place to go when you are trying to find the right path (Do we change her legal name now – what kind of repercussions could that have? What is the best way to tell her pediatrician’s office? What is the best way to deal with the school?). I’m very interested in reaching out to other families in our situation and putting a forum of some sort together…what do you think?

    • Molly – email me privately – would love to be in touch. I have already tackled some of the issues you mentioned, but there are tons more ahead!

      Stay strong – you can do this!

  47. Among the unanticipated consequences of sharing Jessie’s/you story with my family has been a variety of thought-provoking questions and comments from my daughters. Yesterday, 8-year old Laura was commenting on how she wanted to construct some sort of private area for her to use at a beloved day camp which lacks private dressing areas. In the midst of the ensuing conversation, she and her 10 year-old sister, Elizabeth, wondered what Jessie do.
    “What about bathrooms?”

  48. …oops, I hit the “enter” too soon.
    We discussed how private bathrooms were probably no trouble, but pools and locker rooms could be tricky. In the midst of our discussion we recognized that the pool where we go in the summers has a set up which would likely be very tricky for a person like Jessie. The locker rooms are for “women” and “men”. Boys who are older than 6 yrs. of age are to use the men’s locker rooms. (Intriguingly, there is no such notice about girls in the men’s locker room.) The showers are open; there’s no place for someone who wants to shower in private can do so.
    In short order, we realized that we needed to tell the (privately owned) pool club that they should do something about this. “They could have a family locker room!”
    So, on our to-do list is to make this suggestion to Michael Phelps (who owns and trains at the Meadowbrook Swim and Tennis Club).
    Good luck to you all this summer!

    • Yep, we have forced many parents into conversations such as this one! In terms of our pool there is indeed a family changing room. Suffice to say, it gives me great relief to know that it is there. That said, it remains to be seen how the summer is going to flush out!

  49. Personally, I don’t feel like you’ve *forced* any conversations in our home. As far as I am concerned (and suspect my kids would agree) it’s more of an example of, “Gee, I’d never really considered that…That could be tricky…What should we be doing to make it easier on everybody?” On the subject of bathrooms (and similar locations where privacy may be appreciated) I think our society needs to think a lot more about accommodating *everybody*. It’s not just about accommodating transgendered persons; it’s about being able to help an aging parent or a disabled friend. (Okay, I’ll step off my soap box now…)

  50. Just started following your blog (after reading the Huff post article) and am enthralled. What an amazing mom you are. I admire your reflections, your openness, and your strength and your ability to eloquently reflect on your journey. Any of us who are parents could be in this situations (and if not transgender issues, a whole host of other curveballs which raising a child throws our way). Thank you for having the strength to go through this openly and let the rest of us have a little glimpse of not only your challenges but your ability to work your way thru which is very inspiring. Jessie is a very, very lucky kid to live in this healthy and supportive family.

    • This was a wonderful way to start my day (I am reading this at 7 a.m.). Thank you so much for taking the time to send it along!

  51. I loved your May 4th post. Your (presumably) honest self-reflection is beautiful. Whether its called a journey, challenge, ordeal, odyssey, hajj (my adviser once referred to the dissertation process as a hajj)… I find your “travelogue” inspiring.

  52. I’m so glad I found your blog via Scary Mommy. I’m not a mom (yet), but I am a teacher and I care deeply for children. I look forward to reading your older posters and the ones you’ve yet to write. If you haven’t already, check out http://raisingmyrainbow.com/. Another wonderful family with a gender non-conforming son who is nothing less than delightful to read about, much like your Jessie. Thank you for sharing your life with all of us readers!

    • I am at once flattered and a wee bit “insulted” (for lack of a better opposite…) as I am still comfortably in my 40’s. Okay, late 40’s, but 40’s nonetheless. LOL. That said, if you are not too concerned about that we can certainly discuss.

  53. Your love for Jessie is just palpable. What a loving, wonderful mother you are. She is so very lucky to have you as her guardian, guide and best friend.

  54. Darn it. I just finished reading your blog, it seems that I have finally caught up to the times. Thank you for sharing your family’s journey beginning with George’s revelation and family’s realization to your recent market memories. Some moments I could completely understand and relate to how Jessie felt and at others times, with you as a parent, facing the challenges of raising children. The thing though that impresses me the most is the courage, Jessie’s to stick to her guns to be who she is no matter what the other kids and adults wanted George to be; and yours, allowing your child to take the lead. As a parent of two boys I have always felt more secure showing my kids the way, leading through my life’s experiences; I cannot imagine the uncertainty I would feel if I couldn’t fall back on what I thought was true.

    I have great admiration for kids who have the courage, like Jessie, to be her authentic self. I could never muster up the strength to speak those words as a child, I thought I was the only one and that what I knew and how I felt was somehow wrong. But there again it was different times. Transition for me was a life saving treatment, I am fortunate that my family see it as ‘healing’; it was. One thing I learned since beginning my transition is that I’m not the only one who transitioned. In our family everybody is transitioning, my parents, my wife and our children. They didn’t choose to transition they sort of had it forced upon them through mine; it was equally hard on all of us. The hardest part was the in-between when I was there (and I was in a flash, like Jessie) and they were just getting started (like you,Rich and Harrison). Anyway, i just wanted to tell you that I think you and your entire family are doing great under some challenging circumstances; keep the faith, keep taking it one day at a time and before you know it you’ll wake up one day and all this will be a non-issue.

    All the very best,
    Paula

    PS. Oh yeah, almost forgot, keep writing, not only is it awesome for us to read, I’ll sure bet its therapeutic too.

    • Thank you, Paula. I have heard from many adults who have transitioned long after one would ever “expect” (not that anyone ever expects it, but you know what I mean) them to. I am actually in awe of people such as yourself who were able to be true to yourself even though it was going to be incredibly difficult to do so.
      I am so glad that you found me and I look forward to hearing more from you as this story continues to reveal itself.

      All the best to you and yours.

      • You know, Julie, it can mean whatever you want. I’m giving your blog kudos and telling my readers to check you out. The ‘rules’ are that you ‘pay it forward’ by writing a blog with a thank you and a link to me, plus links to 7 other blogs and write 5 random facts about yourself….. Now, that said, we’re all busy people and I hate rules so if you don’t want to do anything, I’m ok with you just knowing that I’m enjoying your fascinating, honest, beautiful blog.

      • Thank you for the kudos. I hate to admit, I don’t (faithfully, anyway) read a lot of other blogs. I guess that is one random fact about me! I do so appreciate your kind words!!

  55. I really, really wanted to be a girl for a time when I was around Jessie’s age (I’m 28 now). I wanted it so badly that it was almost intolerable sometimes. Still, I never told anyone. Eventually, though, pretty much right when I started high school, the desire faded. And, though I feel absolutely content now with being a man, I still think about it quite often and wonder– did I not listen to the calling of my actual self? Would I be so much happier now if I could live as a woman…Or back then, as a little girl? I am happy being a male, I can feel that much, and that’s enough for me; for this life. I realize that what I experienced is very different from what Jessie is experiencing, but I still identify with your daughter’s journey, and the very palpable and poignant way you write about it is inspiring and thought-stirring. I wish your family much peace and happiness.

    Jeremy

    • I love your story (albeit the Reader’s Digest version) as I have often remarked that I am aware of the fluidity of this situation and have (tried to) prepare(d) mentally should the road take a different turn. Thanks for taking the time to share!

  56. Thank you so much for your wonderful, exciting, tear jerking and straight from your heart insight that lets me know that our family is not alone. My son Aron made just such an announcement to us and his Principal 10 months ago. My husband and I, not to mention our other son, have experienced each emotion and anxiety you have written about. Bella (Aron) has always been one who challenged society and its conventions and now, she teaches the world about how being different makes us special. Her brother just says he’s the coolest kid in the neighborhood because he has two Dads and a boy sister. We look forward to sharing our journey with you. Andrew~

  57. I just read about a young adult novel called Being Emily. It’s a fiction story with a teenage transgender protagonist. I haven’t read it, but it has been nominated for a GLBT award.

    I just wanted to let you know, in case you hadn’t heard about it.

  58. Hi! I go to baker school and in Jessie’s grade. She is an amazing girl with a true heart! I know some people are mean to her, but let her know that Or really does like her.

  59. So I don’t know if you follow the blog Raising my Rainbow, but Lori is giving a talk about parenting transgender children in Northampton this Thursday .
    And that’s sorta kinda close to you…just thought you might like to know!
    I apologize if this seems creepy or weird, seeing as you don’t know me.

  60. Your daughter is a very lucky girl to have such wonderful parents and such a darling mother. Your about is touching and wonderful to read especially to those who grew up with parents who forced their child to stay in the closet. There is a special place in heaven for a mother like you.

  61. I am a school nurse in a high school, and I can’t even begin to tell you how thrilled I am that you are so supportive of your daughter. I have worked with several transgender children and I am so surprised by the varying amounts of support parents give them. The more supportive, the more well adjusted and happy is the child. They should never be forced to feel that there is something wrong with them, because there is nothing wrong with them. It angers me when I see parents that are not supportive and shamed by the child. I try and make up for it by providing the student with al the support I can give them in the school setting. God Bless you and your family!!

  62. I have been reading through your blog here for the last couple of days. I came across it in my unending search for information on transkids and the process of raising them through this, strong, happy and healthy. My child showed signs very young of being incredibly feminine, but having absolutely no knowledge of transgender people, I simply thought maybe he’s gay. Shortly after starting kindergarten, that proved to not be the case. My kid was not as fortunate with school as your daughter. After being unable to continue school as a boy, she returned from spring break as a girl. The school handled it poorly, there were some unpleasantries, and she is now being home schooled. Transitioning has ended a lot of the negatives, the nightmares, hearing a five year old scream she should run away and die (because she heard it at school) and she is now happy and thriving. But I do so appreciate your honest words here in these web pages. There are so many unknowns, and they seem to be coming faster than I can prepare for them. It is nice to know there are others navigating the same sometimes scary waters and managing just fine.

    • Samantha,

      One thing your child is going to know is that they are safe at home and that they are loved by you, trans* or not. Being trans* isn’t easy but sometimes that knowledge can carry you through the tough times!

      Love to you and your family!
      Debby

  63. Wonderful meeting you!!! I agree that you need a “start here” link/button. I can’t wait to read everything here and see you guys next week!!

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