Portrait of a Transgender Child

final picture

I know I said this story wasn’t about my son, exactly. But I can’t tell you about being a parent of a transgender child without telling you about my transgender child. I think that there is a natural curiosity towards children like my son, children who fall outside the scope of our worldviews. We look for reasons or explanations. We seek to blame someone or to blame ourselves. Outsiders ask questions, delicately of course, like could it be genetic? Do you think you were too permissive when he was younger? Should you have forced him to be more like a girl?

Others make accusations that are not so delicate. You made her be a boy. God doesn’t make mistakes so she must be a girl. You are confusing her by letting her pretend to be a boy. No child can know at 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 or 7 what their gender is. Right now, fortunately, the judgement falls on me. But I wonder all the time when that will change. I’m afraid, all the time that it will change.

Until you raise a child who consistently and repeatedly states their truth, you can’t really understand. Until you raise a child who is told, over and over that the way he feels is wrong, the words he’s saying are wrong, by his parents and his friends and all of the people he loves and trusts, but he says them anyway, you can’t possibly know. What people without children like mine don’t understand is my child was never a girl.

So I will paint his portrait, as best I know how. With words, not colors. To help you understand. When I’ve finished, I hope that you can appreciate the human being that he is, respect the man he will grow to become, and protect the innocent child that he still is today.

The Canvas and the Palette: Part One 

The Outline: Part Two

The First Brush Strokes: Part Three

The Shadows and the Highlights: Part Four

The Finishing Touches: Part Five

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