October is LGBT History Month, in which we, as a country, celebrate and observe the history of gay rights and related civil rights movements, as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history. This year, it means a whole lot more to me than it ever has before. My son transitioned socially last November, taking on a new name and pronouns, but still being the same amazing child he’d always been.
Our own history is just over 8 years long, including the pregnancy. I have shared it in Portrait of a Transgender Child, a five part long essay in which I paint the color of my child’s life. Even such a brief history is an important history.
To honor him and all transgender people this month, I want to share other’s histories. Histories of parents like me, of children like my son. Histories of trans people who have successfully reached adulthood. In a world where trans people are committing suicide, being harassed and discriminated and in many cases, violently attacked and murdered, it is more important than ever that we continue to raise awareness.
For the next thirty days, I will be featuring parents of transgender children and transgender people, who have honored me by sharing a small part of their history. Some talk about their experiences as a trans person, some share their child’s transition and how they handled it. Others express the change that has happened in their lives, since transition. Others still simply share a brief glimpse into a small portion of their lives.
Every story is beautiful. Every story is touching. Every story shares a piece of history, something to be treasured and cherished and honored. Every story helps to raise awareness, to give voice to a marginalized population of people that desperately needs one.
Help me to honor the history of these people. I urge you read each of them with an open heart and an open mind. Share them if they touch you. Comment if they move you. Each writer that I feature takes a risk in opening themselves up, in sharing their stories. Help me to show them that the risk is worth it.
For some, that risk is still too much. Exposing themselves or their children is not something they feel safe or comfortable doing. Hopefully, by sharing histories from a variety of people, we will help to give those people a voice too. One such mother took the time to write a beautiful poem that she wanted to share anonymously:
In 2000, I had a child.
“Girl” they said.
“Daughter” I thought.
In 2013, He said “son”
“But I wish I wasn’t transgender.” He said.
If only she wasn’t transgender. I thought.
My girl could have a life uninterrupted.
I could go back to having my daughter.
“I wish I had been born a boy.” He said.
“Like I was supposed to be.”
I never had a daughter.
I only thought I did.
I have a son.
Thank you for celebrating LGBT History Month with me. Thank you for honoring these people who still struggle for so many basic rights that the rest of the world takes for granted. Thank you for helping trans people have a voice and be heard.
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Special thanks to Mary Tyler Mom who inspired this unique and beautiful way of honoring LGBT History Month.