What Do You Say?

The distance between making it “better” and finding “acceptance” is short. The ability to find one’s way on this road less travelled often is a journey akin to climbing earth’s highest peaks.

A year ago, I wanted to make it “better.” I am not sure I knew how nor even where to begin. The task ahead of us hadn’t yet been mapped. The footprints of those before us left a faint trail delivering dead ends and hope interchangeably.

What do you say when your beautiful daughter tells you that she wants to be a boy? In fact, that she is a boy. That even though “I have boobs and a vagina, I am male.” What do you say when your long-haired, hazel-eyed barely 14 year old teen holds a steady gaze and says, “I want to get ‘T’ – I’ve done the research and I need therapy first. So, how soon can we start?” For those uninitiated, “T” is testosterone — a necessary hormone for FTM transition. (FTM=female to male) Did you know that the suicide rate is above 40% for transgender individuals? That’s about 34% above the general population. Did you know that trans teens are at greater risk for self-harm, getting involved with drugs and ending up on the street?

The path to acceptance becomes clearer. We are navigating tumultuous, uncharted territory with the help of some incredibly smart, compassionate pioneers who had the foresight to embrace differences; the insight to understand that we are not all the same. Lucky for us, for our son, for those yet to be born, great strides on this journey are being made.

Whomever coined the phrase, “love conquers all” had it right. What do you say when your child opens up to you and is brave enough to come out and reveal who he authentically is? You say, “I love you.”