I have a confession to make: I forget my son is trans.
I remember once, about three years ago, talking on the phone to a grandmother from Washington. Her grandson was trans and her job was to vet prospective members for a discussion board. She was the first person I had spoken to about my son, I mean really spoken to. Not the front we had to put on for family. Not the support we had to adopt for school and community. I mean, someone who didn’t judge me for crying and grieving. Someone that understood how much I missed the child I thought I had, and how I didn’t know if I could parent the child I did. Or maybe, didn’t know if I could be a strong enough or good enough parent, for the child I did have. Someone who was in exactly the same place that I was.
Only, she wasn’t.
She was where I am today: Secure, confident, educated on important issues, surrounded by supportive family and friends, allies and advocates.
She told me then, almost three years ago, that one day, one day, I would wake up and I wouldn’t have a trans son anymore. I wouldn’t “used to have a daughter”, I wouldn’t mix up pronouns, I wouldn’t remember birth names. He would simply be my son. My son.
I thought she was crazy. I thought she was absolutely wrong. I thought she was cruel for saying it, out of her mind for thinking it.
How could I ever forget my son was trans?
My son being trans was my entire life. My entire being. I obsessed about it daily. Nightly. So much that I wrote about it for Listen to Your Mother. So much that I travelled all the way to Philly to a conference, to meet other trans people and parents and children like mine.
So much that I started this blog, in the hopes of sharing our own journey. Our joys and our challenges and our hopes of finding other parents like me. Parents who were isolated and afraid and grieving and hurt. Parents who were confused and afraid and…maybe searching for me too.
And I did find them. I found so many of them.
But I found parents like that grandmother from Washington. Parents who were in the media, parents who were changing laws and marching in protests and putting themselves out there in a million different ways.
I found parents who were proud and out and outspoken. And parents who were proud and stealth and quietly advocating. And parents who were at all places in between.
As time passed, weeks into months, I learned so much. So much about how important it is to fight for equal rights for trans people. So that teens aren’t brutally and intentionally slain and their murderers are not found guilty of a hate crime. So that laws are passed that protect trans people, at the highest levels of government and at the lowest levels of schools and districts and local towns and communities.
So that trans women, and especially trans women of color, can move through our world without fear. So that my son, if he wants to be visibly and openly trans, doesn’t have to fear repercussions for being himself.
And I know that there is so much work to be done. So many battles to be waged, fights to be fought, people to be educated. And I want to do it.
Except I hardly remember my son is trans anymore. It simply isn’t a large part of our lives, in our quiet town, in our liberal communities and groups that we move through. His being trans is not a part of his identity. It isn’t something we think about anymore.
I feel a little like I’ve lost something special. Something that consumed so much of my time and energy. Something that was such a large part of the past three years of my life.
But I also feel a sense of relief. Like I can breathe again. Feel again. Live again.
Which is crazy, considering the political climate, I know. And it’s a privilege that far too many trans youth and trans adults aren’t afforded. I recognize that.
I will keep fighting and advocating. But right now? I want to breathe. I want to let my son be my son and not my trans son. I want him to be himself, and part of himself, at this time in his life, isn’t being trans.
I want to let it go, to lay it down, for a little while. Only a little while. To enjoy this moment, these days, this time. To watch him play with other kids, without the worry and fear that has dominated our lives…
…my life, for the past three years.
I want to let it go for a little while.
Only a little while.
Because I know this battle isn’t over. I know this war has only begun. But I need to cherish these moments, in order to remember what we’re fighting for.
Only for a little while.
This post was written as a part of ChicagoNow Blogapalooz-Hour Volume 56. "Write about something in your life you once obsessed about but now rarely, if ever, think about"
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Read Portrait of a Transgender Child to learn more about my son.
Read my latest post here: Trump's military ban on trans people tells me he has no plans to relinquish power. Ever
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