In a different place


When I take the time to think back, I am startled into the realization that a mere eighteen months ago I was in a very different place. Our family was in a different place.

Somehow I’ve managed to brush aside the memories of that overwhelming urge to google every iteration of gender identity disorder that I could come up with. Simultaneous to this desperate search for knowledge, my husband wrestled with the possibility that this was a phase; many adolescents go through an exploration stage, he insisted.

Deep down, I knew he was wrong. I knew this was not a phase. I knew that our child was clear headed in his convictions. This was about much more than shopping in the boys’ department. CONFESSION. Though I was avoiding the inevitable–what I knew down to the core of every fiber of my being, I was seeking out a therapist — not just any therapist. We (Richard and me) wanted someone that would act as “Switzerland.”  FEAR. We were desperately afraid that the wrong therapist would polarize the situation rather that remain neutral. We were terrified, really, that if we chose poorly, the outcome would be devastating.

At this point we are “pre” everything; pre-male pronouns, pre-name change, pre-purging of all things girlie, pre-public awareness, pre-full understanding. When Olivia* initially asked to buy a chest binder I put her off. When I found the remnants of clothing layers shed before bedtime the previous night, my heart began to break. Sports bras, t-shirts and a home-made device looking something like a prototype of a strapless chest binder, heaped onto the floor taunting me to LOOK at what my child was going through. Then, upon discovering that Olivia took it upon herself to order a binder and have it shipped to a friend’s house, a strange mix of tangled emotions reared up at me.

It’s one thing to say, “OK. We accept you. We are with you. We support you.” It’s another to actually feel comfortable with a shift in mindset. I completely understood that my child, my DAUGHTER, wanted to look male. I understood that in order to look male, breasts needed to be camouflaged. What I couldn’t wrap my head around was the use of a binder. I read all the articles that said compressing breast tissue was “harmful, could cause cancer, might cause shortness of breath, and so on.”

It was strange to log on to my computer and see google and amazon searches for chest binders available in a variety of colors, styles and sizes sold by Chinese companies that guaranteed discreet delivery. Hunter was hopefully searching for solutions that would aid his transition and help him “pass” as male when out in public. This garment became a lifeline.

I’ve gotten pretty comfortable with the place we are in. We’ve come a long way over the last year and a half. That’s the good news. The downside is that this is just a temporary stop along the way.  Every so often, I need to remind myself that over the next eighteen months we will be in a very different place than we are in right now. I am not really ready nor prepared for moving on in our journey. I know that moving on means letting go of what has become familiar and comfortable. I am not really ready for the unknown.


*Olivia is “pre” name transition

11 thoughts on “In a different place

  1. Yeah, I know the feeling. I remember finding the spreads of clothing from my own child’s attempts at making his own binder. Since surgery isn’t happening any time soon, binders have become commonplace in our house.

    We hit the 3 year mark last month and I still feel like just when we reach a certain level of comfort, we are confronted with more change. This is definitely not easy!

    Liked by 2 people

      • A binder? I don’t know how Kris does it! He isn’t really big chested- maybe a B cup, if I’m remembering correctly. Of course you can get tighter or not as tight binders. It definitely took Kris awhile to get used to it.
        He has lost a little more weight so he needs to wear the tighter one when he wears closer fitting clothing.


  2. Tomorrow talking with my caseworker in charge of hooking me with a therapist. Looking for a trans specialist in this kind if thing is totally new for her. Tomorrow is the day we may finally find one (because I could not google one myself). I AM FREAKING OUT.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I play advocate every day, especially at work. One of the guys at work (I work for Starbucks now, and this group is VERY much GLBT and allies) in particular is very curious. So far hasn’t asked anything “inappropriate”, but I’m less reserved in what I answer, far less than most people. He tries very hard to use correct pronouns, and always apologizes when he messes up. The others just fix it and move on.

        I love them but plan to put in for another location by November that’s closer if I don’t start picking up hours tho. That, or move closer while still living in county so I can still qualify for the lowest tuition rates possible for college when spring hits.


  3. Hiii…oh…just ohhh…you have my deepest compassion and earnest desire that you would above all stand firm in love. When all else fades away, triumphs, trials,whatever…we have our love. The mystery of it…why is there love…where does it come from…our children are born, and it is just…just THERE.

    Your love shines thru above all. Those feelings of fear, uncertainty, the sort of hot-faced numb alarm that goes thru us when we realize that our children are making decisions and taking actions that are beyond our knowing at times, and beyond our control at all times…that helpless plea that goes off inside us when we understand that the only thing that will keep us connected is if they choose to stay in relationship, and we plea with everything that we have loved enough and been present enough to sustain our bonds with them when they find out they can choose…

    I am a parent, and while I am not a parent of a transgender child, I am transgender myself, and recently begun this journey…so in many ways I am like a 14 yr old girl just entering puberty inside this person I have become over 5 decades…it does give one a unique outlook LOL!

    I just want to encourage you…your love is enough, and it will be enough. Your darling child, precious beyond expression, is still just that. Hold him in your heart, and if you can cultivate a sense of amazed appreciation for the wonderfully strange package he came to you in…the adventure you have been chosen to shepherd him on, and yourselves.

    I have a document I wrote on this sort of thing…Kat can tell you if it is any good or not…but I would be delighted to send you the link to where it has been published at on line.

    Bless you, bless you for loving, and not just turning into your child’s most hurtful bully and enemy.

    Charissa Grace


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