What is it like to parent a transgender teen? Well, I can’t really answer that question. I can tell you, however, what it is like to parent my transgender teen. It is an emotional roller coaster. For real.
By now, if you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I love my son unconditionally. I am his advocate. I am his biggest cheerleader. I am a walking billboard for acceptance. That said, this is no piece of cake.
Transgender individuals come with a built-in set of insecurities. They feel different and wrongly put together. They walk around believing that the outside world can see the anxieties and mismatched parts that make-up this living, breathing human.
For every “win” we experience numerous hurdles. For every successful step forward, there are many steps backward. For every joyful milestone, there are tears of frustration and sadness.
Most of us wondered, as we were growing up, if we would find that special someone. The teen years were fraught with bad dates, rejection, wistful longings, that first kiss, a homecoming corsage and so much more. There’s a “lid for every pot,” my grandma would say. Try convincing a trans teen of that concept — a trans teen who feels that no one would want to date “someone like me.” This is sobering.
When Hunter first “came out” to me, one of my immediate concerns was, “how hard would it be for a transgender adult to find love.” Ironic, for sure. Now, we are collecting friends who just happen to be transgender and have managed to successfully find love and create a family. These are the role models our son needs to see. There is someone for everyone.
Being the parent of a trans teen boy is exhausting. It is like regular parenting on steroids. I always joke that Hunter was never an easy child…he was a fussy baby requiring special formula, then came night terrors (if you’ve ever experienced someone going through that you know how frightening and exhausting that is), climbing out of the crib too early, eating anything and everything including rocks, dirt, cigarette butts, chalk, markers and crayons, refusal to take a real nap, disorganized chaos at school where each day meant searching for another lost piece of paper, lunchbox or article of clothing, difficulty learning to read, never learning to write in cursive, printing that’s near impossible to read, an ADHD diagnosis, social anxiety up the wazoo — well, you get the picture.
Being Hunter’s mom has never been easy…but parenting is one tough job. Hunter is bright, kind, artistic, quick-witted and musical. He is loving, caring and an amazing friend. Hunter’s philosophy is don’t be a hater. He embraces diversity and is an outspoken ambassador for the transgender youth community. Hunter is compassionate and vulnerable. He fills my heart in a way that no other human being can. He is different and difficult and moody and complicated.
He is my son and I am today’s parent.
I am sooo thankful for you, and your sacrifices. They are without price, rich beyond any human compreshension. I can only place a value on them in this way: when I faced the night terrors, I got spanked, yelled at, and consigned to my door shut and the threat of more spankings if I made a sound…I won’t go on about what that was like.
Just to say this: not one ounce…not one speck of what you are doing is for nothing, for naught. Because even one speck of it, back then, for me…well it would have made all the difference.
When it gets tough, when no one sees or even notices the extraordinary sacrifices you are making and making in extremem love…be encouraged with these words, if you can.
Bless you! Charissa
Boy, did I need that. Thank you so much for your words. The night terrors, even now, are not really understood. They are awful beyond description…and what parent doesn’t want to help their child? Afterwards, he never remembered a thing. That was a blessing.
If he turns out to be a gay, or male-leaning, bisexual trans male like me, he will also face quite a few issues in the gay community; usually we are seen as a fetish or conquest than an actual human being. It’s far easier being a straight, heteronormative trans man, than being a “queer” trans man. There was a LOT of upset in Philly this year when the annual “Mr. Gay” contest was won by a trans man and they called him “straight” because he was “born female”, wondering why he was in it at all!
Thanks, Charlie. He does identify as gay. You offered good insight for us. Hope you are doing ok.
Been doing better, actually! Getting more hours at work, going to file for classes next week, cleaning out all the BS and drama drom my life, yes so much better 🙂
I am really glad to hear it! I like these updates!
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Actually between what I’ve so far saved up and using up some credit, I also managed to invest in a nice soured up MacBook. Should be getting it next week and should be able to pay it all off by the end of the semester 🙂
That’s awesome–nothing like some new technology!
Didn’t even have enough for a base 15.4″ MacBook Pro, but I need way more power than what the Airs offer, going back to school for coding, development, and systems design. 🙂
I don’t know if it’ll help at all, but I’m thinking of you and your amazing child!