Trans Man Chooses death. Those four words captured my attention and broke my heart. As I read the story I was struck not only that this man had chosen to end his life, but that he never felt the love of a parent and that, in it self, might have saved him, I know it saved mine.
The article, written by Joe Morgan for GayStarNews.com, told of a trans man, Nathan, from Belgium that chose to commit suicide after his bottom surgery was showing signs of rejection.
“I was ready to celebrate my new birth, but when I looked in the mirror, I was disgusted with myself. My new breasts did not match my expectations and my new penis had symptoms of rejection. I did not want to be a monster.’ - Nathan
The article also told that Nathan had never felt the love of his mom. After his death, his mother told a Belgian newspaper, “When I saw [Nathan’s birth name] for the first time, my dream was shattered. She was so ugly. I had a phantom birth." and "For me, this chapter is closed. Her (still referring to the birth gender) death does not bother me. I feel no sorrow, no doubt or remorse. We never had a bond.”
Any lose of life is beyond tragic and when someone chooses that road, my heart can not help but to go out to them. I’ve been there, on the edge – ready to take my last breath.
Approximately 41 percent the transgender community have said they had attempted suicide, compared to a rate of 1.6 percent for the general population, according to the survey by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality.
From personal experience from talking with many transgender women across the world, I will say that many of those that have attempted suicide have a key stressor in common – lack of support with in their family.
I am beyond thankful for the love and support I have in my parents. I don't tell them often enough how much I love them. When it came to conversations about my transition, through all my tears they took the time to listen to me. They not only took my word but they took the time to educate themselves. They have also defended me to others about the decisions I needed to make.
Many of you know the story, but for those that don't, in September of 2009, I made the 460-mile drive to Omaha to tell my parents that not only was I separated from my wife and that I was homeless, but I also needed to tell them the reason why. Just two days before, I had been sitting in a Walmart parking lot with an open jar of pills on my dashboard. I was at the point, I was seriously contemplating taking my life.
If it were not for a phone conversation with a long time friend and a conversation with my dad, God only knows what those distraught actions would have led to. Through many conversations over that weekend in Omaha, I could feel the love that my parents had for me.
I knew that from the moment I was born, my parents have prayed for me. I knew that when I skinned my knee as a child (I did that a lot) that my parents were there to wipe my tears. They were at my side as soon as they could be here when I nearly died from meningitis. In the past few years, my parents have gone above and beyond to help me keep going after the separation.
For those of us that grew up in loving homes, we sometimes take all of that for granted. I always knew that I was loved, but it wasn’t until adulthood and the trials of transitioning that I truly understood the love my parents had for me.
I can honestly say that if I ever had a shadow of a doubt of the love and support my parents had for me, I would never have survived the drive back to Chicago that September weekend. I am confident that my car would have ended up off a bridge, driven into a tree or slammed into a viaduct. Their love was one of the key things that kept me alive.
So when I hear that anyone is faced with growing up with out that foundation of love in the home, my heart breaks. When I hear that a transgender man or women sees that there is no other alternative than to end their life, my heart breaks even more. When one is tied to the other – I am left speechless and in pieces.
Today I cried at my computer when I read article that I mentioned. The pain that individuals like Nathan have gone through is unimaginable.
I am exceedingly blessed to have my parents, not only in my life, but to truly know and understand their love for me. I can not fathom a life with out the love of a parent.
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