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 firstname.lastname@example.org