When I got pregnant with my 5th child it shook up my family a bit. My youngest (my only son) was 7 years old and it felt like forever since there was a baby in the house.
M was different from day one. As soon as he could speak it was evident how unique he was. He refused to dress in anything that said "girlie girl" and instead was fixated on baseball caps and jeans. Getting him in a dress was a fight.
During the early years of school he had very few female friends and instead seemed to pal up with boys. He was strong-willed, obsessive and so much more self-confident than my other children were at a young age.
Looking back there were signs that something just wasn't right but at the time I knew nothing about being transgender.
With all the self-confidence and lack of worry about what others' thought about him I felt this child would be set to take on life. Even though he never seemed to be able to "fit" in I felt that it didn't matter. Then around 8 years old everything changed. Suddenly my child had fears that overwhelmed him.
The years from 8 to 17 were a nightmare of psychiatrists and therapists as we desperately tried to help our child cope with anxiety and depression. There even was a suicide attempt. Then a realization occurred that changed it all. My child born into a female body was really male.
Some people just don't get it. They seem to think that he is just "confused". I remember talking to my dad about him several years back when we started to realize that maybe he was born into the wrong body. His advice was that sometimes you just need to accept the mistake and live with it. I thought to myself at the time that how could anybody live like that?
My child needs to be who he is.
I always encouraged all of my children to be who they were meant to be. I wanted them all to discover their own special gifts and pursue what gives them joy. My three oldest daughters might all be girls but they are all different. They were raised together but they are each unique.
Some might argue that my youngest is just a tomboy. That is so not true. He might have had no interest in girly stuff but he was no tomboy either. Some might say that this is just a ploy for attention. No one would be so miserable just to get attention. My son tells me how awkward he feels in his body. It is not the kind of awkward many go through during puberty. I know that awkwardness- this is different.
I want my child to be who he is. I just wish the world would try and understand. Being transgender is not about sex. (a HUGE misconception among a LOT of people) Being transgender is about gender identity. I don't know why it happens but it does. It happened in my family and believe me, I wish it didn't. I fear for my child as he goes about transitioning into who he should be.
I just wish others would try and understand and give him the support he deserves. People fear what they do not understand. Others are so caught up in what they think their religion says that they won't even try to understand.
My child knows I stand with him. I dream of him being able to go out into the world and feel accepted but I know that is only a dream. I hope someday it will be possible.