About Non-Conforming Mom

I clearly remember the moment I realized something was different about my child. We were in the car headed to Target and my twin four-year olds were talking about growing up. Murphy was talking about being a daddy, growing hair on his face, and working for the same company as my husband. Conner was telling me that he wanted to be a mommy and carry a baby in his tummy. When I told him that boys didn’t carry babies in their tummies, he began to cry and tell me that he wasn’t a boy. When I gently reminded him (again) that his boy body parts made him a boy, he began to cry and said over and over that he wanted them to go away. Up until that point, I thought maybe Conner was going to grow up and be gay. But then he told me that he didn’t want his penis.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t know any gay man that doesn’t love his penis.

Thus began an evening of google searching terms like “my son wants to wear dresses” or “my son tells me he’s a girl” and reading scary terms such as transgender, transexual, gender non-conforming. I read the stories online and cried my eyes out that evening as I recognized so many of the stories in my own child. Conner had always gravitated towards all things pretty and sparkly. He ran around the house in my high heels, purse across his body, towels on his head like hair. He identified with Dora instead of Diego, he always played the mommy in his preschool pretend time, and when he discovered that girls had different body parts than boys he immediately began asking when he would wake up to be a girl.

At the time, I was a nurse and a huge LGBT supporter though I had NO idea what the “T” stood for. I didn’t even know that someone could identify as something other than their biological sex. I spent weeks calling specialists from one coast to the other. I found a therapist who specialized in children with gender issues and our family drove 6 hours to meet with her. Conner was diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder (now called Gender Dysphoria) just before the age of 5. I will share lots of stories of our lives since that time as I was starved for as much information as I could find when everything was new, unfamiliar, and terrifying.

I created this blog for you and for me.

If you are the parent of a child like mine, I hope this blog helps you realize you aren’t alone. That first night, crying into the computer screen, I immediately thought of every terrifying story I’d ever heard about gay kids getting bullied and even killed. I felt frightened and alone. I want you to know that we’ve had amazing love and support. You have likely heard some bad stories, but I have really wonderful stories to share with you. Most of our stories are wonderful.

I also wrote this blog for me. This journey hasn’t been easy though it is immensely rewarding. It helps me process some of my emotions when I write them down.  It’s important for my sense of community to be open about the choices we make in our family. I hope it helps build acceptance for gender nonconforming individuals and their families as more and more of us become transparent about the way we allow our children to be who they are.

Feel free to reach out to me personally at

10 thoughts on “About Non-Conforming Mom

  1. Lisa Magel

    Thank you for publishing this very personal part of your life. I worked with Mike at Trader Joe’s in Bloomington. I enjoyed talking to him about his family, but never knew the process you both had to go through to arrive at the place of acceptance that you are at today. I know that your words will help other parents in their journey. Tell Mike I said hello and God bless your family. Lisa Magel

  2. Rebekah

    I seriously love that you’re doing this. Just from your first entry I can tell that this has been a rough journey but I know that you are raising your children the right way. My thoughts and prayers are with you as you continue on this journey. I have all of the love and support in the world for you.

  3. Tammy

    I am so happy to have found this site. I have identical twin boys, and one is now expressing he is transgender. I am so very happy to find a blog for which I can directly connect to.

    Thank You!

  4. Lori Q.

    I commend you on your parenting! You truly deserve a medal. I read a few of your posts and I think you are such a good mother.
    I was born too early lol. I was raised in the 60’s and 70’s. Didn’t have a good childhood at all. My mother kept reminding me I was a boy not a girl. I wasn’t allowed to skip rope, wasn’t allowed to skip at all, wasn’t allowed to rollerskate on the street because all of that was for girls and I’m not a girl she would say. I couldn’t even have GI Joe dolls because they were dolls and dolls are for girls. My mother died when I was 10 and she was 44. I eventually had to live with a man that I was told was my father. Found out later on in life he was not my biological father and I don’t know who he is. But this man that I was told was my father abused me in everyway you can think of.
    Anyway, I have been living as a woman now for 20 years. I live in an area where people are very judgmental and do not like to see change. People avoid me like the plague in my neighborhood. When I drive out of my town, I have no trouble with people. People see me as the woman I am and always use the proper pronouns. I have no problem using the ladies room or trying on clothes in stores. I love wearing makeup but even if I am not wearing any I am still seen as a female. I just wish I had a good genuine friend living close to me you know? I live alone and it gets lonely let me tell you.
    Well, I just wanted to send you a compliment and tell you a little about myself.

    1. Melissa McLaren Post author

      Lori, I hope you are able to find supportive friends, a support group, a new place to live, or a community to get involved with. I’m sorry that your childhood was so awful. As a parent, I can’t understand how your mother could demand that you be unhappy. I’m glad that you are living as your authentic self but wish you had more support.

      1. Lori Q.

        Thank-you for your warm reply.

        I think the reason why my mother was the way she was was because of the times. My mother was born in 1928 so she was raised in the 30’s and 40’s. I think she was afraid I would turn out gay since there was no father in the picture. Not that I think being gay is wrong but back then that was how people thought and back then people thought being gay was wrong.
        I do go to counseling and my counselor formed a support group for transgender people. The only thing is is that my counsleor is almost 2 hours from me and the members of the group is spread all over the area so it’s hard to connect with them outside the group. So I really don’t have support except while I’m at group. The group meets once a week.
        I was married to a woman for 26 years. We had a set of twins together. A boy and a girl. They are 27 years old. My son told me he would never accept me being transgender. My daughter had always said she accepted that part of me until she was in college and told me she didn’t. She told me she wished I was a “normal” father. Now I’m not sure how she feels about it. My wife died in 2012.

  5. Lisa

    Today must be my day…for the past few weeks I’ve been looking for resources and any kind of support for parents who find themselves on this journey. Today I found you and one other. Thank you for doing this. It is wonderful to have a source of information and support, to help me learn how be the best parent to my child.

  6. April Case

    Great site!! I have a boy who is a girl. Liz is her name and I wish I knew about her earlier. My hubby discovered that Liz wanted to be a girl. My other kids are open minded and this Halloween, all of them are going out as girls.

    Tell Conner she isn’t alone…

    1. Melissa McLaren Post author

      Hi April! That’s great about Halloween. The most important thing is that you know and that you love and accept her. Good job, Mom and Dad.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *