Being There for our Children!

6 Jul

Each of us desires to be the very best parent we can be! We want to be effective whenever our kids need us most! And because each life brings it’s own challenges, we are certain to be called upon to step up to support our children. Some of these challenges are more painful than others. Some can bring us to our knees! Other challenges teach us more than we ever anticipated!

My journey as the mother of a transgender adult child was one such experience for me. I knew no other transgender folks. I knew no other parents of transgender kids. I felt alone. I feared for my child’s health and future. Initially I groused,  “I did not sign up for this,” but it soon became clear that this would become one of the most important learning experiences in my life. I learned that ‘unconditional love’ is not as automatic as I had assumed. It turned out that I was much more judgmental (yikes!) and critical (sigh!) than I imagined or hoped myself to be. These realizations would later come to inform future interactions and encounters while requiring much needed self-reflection.  My son’s gender identity turned out to be a tremendous gift to me!

Below is a link to a great article with sound and practical suggestions. Please take the time to click on the link to learn more!

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/when-your-adult-child-breaks-your-heart/201703/strategies-supporting-transgender-child

EXCELLENT Article

26 Mar

http://educator.cta.org/i/795366-march-2017/21

What a fabulous article! Consider reading this and passing this along to educators you know!

“Ongoing learning is key. Educators need to engage in regular professional development to build a school climate that avoids gender stereotyping and affirms the gender of all children. Every child has the right to learn in a safe and accepting school environment. And supporting gender expansive students gives schools an opportunity to help all children succeed.”

Fascinating Podcasts- Take a Listen!

5 Feb

My son introduced me to podcast listening! What a fun way to learn from so many different folks about so many different subjects! Several of my favorite podcasts include episodes concerning transgender issues. I highly encourage you to check out the following:

  • Morgan M Page’s podcast One From the Vaults explores the lives of trans men, women, and genderqueer people throughout 20th century history. One From the Vaults is available online on SoundCloud and iTunes.
  • Marlo Mack’s How to Be a Girl podcast discusses her day-to-day experiences of being a mother to a transgender daughter.
  • Stuff You Missed in History Class is also a fantastic podcast, and you can poke around their archives for wonderful episodes on LGBTQ history here.

Happy Listening!!

It’s a Brave New World!

28 Jan

There is a lot to take in when understanding a change in your child’s gender identity -especially when your child is an adult and you have had years of practice assuming you know your kid!  You have raised them by the gender they were assigned at birth and called them by the pronouns associated with that assigned gender. And now you are learning, as I did, that this identity did not ring authentic for them. Your child and mine see themselves outside of that which was assigned. For some it may mean identifying as female when they were born as male. Some females grow up to recognize themselves as male. And still others understand that theirs is a more fluid identity…not the binary we parents were raised to expect, but instead,  theirs is an identity that goes undefined because it can be both complex and dualistic. It may mean not being confined to loving or being attracted to only “opposite” partners.

When I was  growing up, the term, “queer” was considered extremely negative and used strictly as an insult. The many  folks that now consider themselves Queer or Gender Queer use the term with pride. I will not attempt to give the best definition for this identity…instead, I ask you to read a really great article that says it best!

What I have learned during my journey, is that I really knew so little and assumed so much! I had to become open enough to consider that identities involved choices and alternatives. I had to work on being less judgmental so that I could recognize folks deserve to be happy; and what that happiness looks like and lives like- is their call!

I hope you will read the link and consider. It’s not a “black n white-this is how it is and only how it is” world any more. We live in a technicolor time, full of possibility!

Enjoy reading!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nadia-cho/being-queer-means_b_3510828.html

 

 

Hiring Transgender Actors for Transgender Roles

25 Sep

A recent article by Nick Adams, the director of GLADD’s (formerly known as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) Transgender Media Program, was spot on! GLADD holds the media accountable for accurate representation of the LGBTQ communities. Mr. Adams notes,  “— in spite of the critical and commercial success of projects that put trans people front and center — Hollywood is having a very difficult time letting go of the idea that putting a male actor in a dress, wig and makeup is an accurate portrayal of a transgender woman.”

I invite you to read Mr. Adam’s article here! It’s not enough to put out a movie depicting the lives of LGBT folks- Transgender actors and actresses SHOULD be portraying those roles themselves!!

Matt Bomer and Men Who Play Transgender Women Send a “Toxic and Dangerous” Message

 

 

Happening Tomorrow

17 Sep

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Moms take note: Here are WONDERFUL Suggestions!!

8 Sep

https://gendermom.wordpress.com/2016/09/06/dear-ms-s/

One of my favorite blogs, Gendermom (the author and commentator of the podcast, “How to be a Girl”), has a new post that offers excellent recommendations for you moms with school age trans-children. As she sent her MTF daughter off to begin third grade, the blog’s writer shares the letter she has composed to her daughter’s new teacher. As a retired educator myself, I can say that this letter will be most likely be met with gratitude! Teachers (especially in the elementary grades) seriously consider their students’ self esteems and personal needs!

While Gendermom is positive in tone, she is, at the same time, open about the concern her daughter has for remaining “stealth”(not disclosing she is transgender unless she personally so chooses to disclose). This proactive mom’s anticipation of what the teacher should be aware of, seeks the teacher’s support so that potentially awful interactions can be avoided. Let’s be honest, we cannot prevent everything bad from reaching our children, but we can stem the tide by laying the foundation for understanding-especially in our children’s schools!

As we watch this first generation ever have some of its children switch their gender identification with the support of the significant adults in their lives, we can ALL learn how to support and celebrate our transgender youth!

Another Mom- Making Connections

30 May

Every story is a bit different. But it feels great to hear how other mothers are navigating the sometimes treacherous waters of this trans-journey we are on with our kids!

 

Take a moment and enjoy:

http://hismomjourney.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-name-change-begins.html

 

 

Stop Encouraging Your Child to be Trans

17 May

This is a FABULOUS blog from an even more FABULOUS writer! This is the real deal. Honest. Funny. Poignant. Loving. We all need more of this!!

LET THE BOY(S) BE

I wasn’t sure how to title this entry.  The runner-up: Stop Encouraging Your Trans Child, but that would not capture the Trump-sized misconception that parents are encouraging their cis children to be trans. No need to reread that sentence, you read it correctly the first time.

A lot of negative comments I receive revolve around this notion; that parents, in some twisted, gender bending way, are molding their children to be trans.  Here’s an example comment:

“Are you serious? You encourage this in a 7 year-old? This is insane.”

I would liken me “encouraging” my child to be trans to me encouraging my 5-year-old to have autism.  The notion that I had a typically developing boy, who I then encouraged to be trans, or perhaps didn’t discourage enough to not be trans…that, my friendis insane.

Many families of trans children go through a harrowing process of understanding…

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Real Moms= Real Love

5 May

The Trans United Fund released this video in response to the hate rhetoric coming from certain politicians and the hateful anti-transgender legialation they are trying  to pass.

This is what loving mothers of transgender children look like: you are NOT alone!!

Please take a moment to watch!