A parent’s love for their child is probably one of the strongest bonds we as humans can ever have with another person. If you are a parent, you know in your heart of hearts that it’s a bond that is created long before you ever met your child. It’s a bond that should be unbreakable. It’s a love that should be expressed in all we do.
I use to fear how my parents would react when I told them that I was transgender. I had grown up in a very conservative environment which included a Baptist church, a dad who worked at and managed a Christian radio station and a mom who worked at a conservative Christian college. Fear of their reaction was something I had grown use to.
I should never, and I mean Never, have been surprised by their reaction. Unfortunately the sad truth for transgender individuals and especially for those who come from Christian families is love and acceptance has not exactly been well documented. But my parents broke the mold and are ongoing examples for other parents to look to. As my mom has said repeatedly, “You love your child, period.” Even as an adult, the love of our parents is something we crave both in the good times and even more in the those times that try our resolve.
Those times that try our resolve is exactly where I found myself last week. I sat on the witness stand to tell my story. My legs were trembling both from the chill in the room and nerves on edge. My head spinning to what I was hearing from those who took the stand. Tears falling down my face from the raw emotions flowing through my soul.
But the difference between collapsing in a heap on the floor and actually getting through those days was in large part the love and support of two people, my mom and dad. There was no hesitation in their voice a few months ago when I ask if they would come to Chicago to help me through this ordeal. Even when my lawyer asked if they were willing to testify, there was no wavering in their support.
There were moments in those days where I was thrown back to the times of skinned knees and monsters under the bed. When the emotions got the best of me and the only thing my body could do was sob uncontrollably, my parents hugged me and held my hand. I can’t remember all the words of encouragement but I will never forget feeling the love in their voice.
When it came time for them to take the stand, a very strange thought crossed my mind and, for the moment, calmed my fears. As the lawyers asked their questions and as the court reporter typed away, recording every word spoken in the proceedings, I realized that the words of love coming from my parents were now a part of the public record. In the days, months and years to follow, everyone who wishes to read the transcript of this case will read the words of unending love and undeniable support.
It’s not that I needed any proof of the love my parents have for me, I see and feel it all the time. It’s not that anyone who knows me or any part of my family would ever question the love my parents have for my brother and myself. But in a day when transgender youths and adults are still facing rejection and even violence from those who should be the ones bestowing love and protection on them, having my parents’ love as part of the public record goes beyond just an encouragement to me.
Right now there is a great need for examples of how parents need to treat their trans children. The love of my parents is a shining light for other moms and dads facing the same situation.
It is my hope and prayer that someday, examples like my parents are no longer one of distinction but one of common occurrence. I hope that in the near future, people like my parents,the love that they show is the rule and not an exception.
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