Archive | Personal Experiences RSS feed for this section

We are Moms That Step Up: No Matter the Challenge and No Matter What!

15 May

It’s not easy being a loving and supportive mother-period. That’s why we all celebrated one another yesterday! From the infant years with feeding, diapering and nurturing to the feeding, raising and nurturing for the next 18 PLUS FOREVER!! We NEVER stop being mothers! We never stop thinking of our children first!

I know that it is not always a pleasant journey to accompany your child through transition. It is scary and downright painful at times! We help our children (no matter their age) face family and friends who may be not be knowledgeable and who may lack empathy. We stand by our children even when we may harbor secret fears about their decisions. We question our ability to stay the course. And we continue to love- and love no matter what!

We realize that our love may be the link to our child’s ability to see themselves as worthy of love and success. Our encouragement is contained in the most important words spoken to our children. We support. We sustain.

Here’s an uplifting article about another mother who has chosen to do the same. Please read and remember:

We are NOT alone! We are among a growing number of loving mothers that recognize the authenticity in their children and accept them for the awesome humans they are becoming! Give yourself a big hug today and everyday!

Meet the Kansas mothers who say having trans children is a blessing

Impactful Educators- and Yes! They Just Happen to be Transgender!

14 Apr

As an educator myself, I was especially moved by the words of fellow teachers who make a difference through their authenticity. Let’s be honest: coming out a transgender is a huge risk! Frequently, in the school setting, this leads to greater scrutiny from parents and administrators. Despite beig put in positions that cause these transgender educators to prove themselves when their colleagues do not have to and to risk working against bias, these teachers stand in front of their students bravely each and every day knowing that their authenticity is what truly makes a difference! As one teacher said,”My gender adds to these skills, rather than detracts; my experiences have taught me sensitivity to differences, the importance of representation and inclusivity in education and the importance of practicing empathy in the classroom.”

Check out this article and other links at NPR by clicking here:
Transgender Teachers: in Their Own Voices

Raising Trans* & Gender Expansive Children WITH LOVE, UNDERSTANDING, AND SUPPORT : A FREE EVENT!

28 Jan

 COME TO LISTEN AND LEARN FROM MOTHERS, ADVOCATES, LIFE COACH, AND ADJUNCT PROFESSOR ON GENDER STUDIES ON TOPICS SUCH AS:

*TRANS 101

*PARENTING

*RESOURCES

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY, 15, 2018     6:30-8:30 PM

COMMUNITY UNITED METHODIST CHURCH6652 HEIL AVENUE

HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA

 

THIS IS A FREE EVENT! EVERYONE IS WELCOME! CHILDCARE WILL BE PROVIDED!

RSVP TO : transparentinglife@yahoo.com

Terrific Free Movie to Stream!

19 Sep

It’s not too late to sign up for free streaming of our award-winning documentary, “STRAIGHTLACED- HOW GENDER’S GOT US ALL TIED UP” in honor of Ally Week 2017!! “Straightlaced”, explores the pressures that ALL teens face when it comes to dealing with gender norms and sexuality.

Please take a minute to watch this AMAZING trailer, then GO TO: https://groundspark.org/9360

Supporting Our Gender Fluid Children 

5 Aug

Recently, a loving and concerned mother wrote in to share her journey while supporting her gender fluid child. My first reaction was one of incompetence: my FTM son identifies as male. I felt that perhaps information I shared or my experiences as a parent with a transgender kid might not be “legitimate” or “enough”.

However,  I realized mothers of transgender children who identify with the binary (the concept of the two traditionally recognized genders; male and female) share insights and experiences not so very different than mothers of children who identify as gender fluid (identify as neither or both female and male and experience a range of femaleness and maleness, with a “flow” between the genders). Mothers of binary and fluid children both have to learn to accept and embrace our children regardless of how they present themselves! We each have to field questions (often very private) about our children from family, friends, and perhaps even strangers. We mothers all may struggle in knowing just how to best support our kids. We may feel disappointed and even grieve the loss of our personal dream for our child. We all worry and fret. The struggle IS real for each of us! 

The message: 

1-To the mother that wrote in, like so many of you, you are doing a GREAT job of supporting your child! You are pushing yourself and finding strength to be an advocate!! Even though you may experience pain along the way, you are trying to wrap your head around your child’s new reality-kudos to you! 

2- It is so important to respect non-binary gender identities, and it sounds like the mom that wrote in completely understands this! For those of you still struggling, Hey! It’s a BIG process to understand a new paradigm; something that is not what you have grown up expecting! You get time to learn to bend. It’s okay not to automatically be on board- but know that your kid needs your love and don’t give up your journey!! 

3- The medical establishment is slowly coming around, but it is true that it may be harder to find professionals who can competently work with non-binary folks. There IS hope though, as the WPATH Standards of Care now recognize non-binary gender identities, and people CAN access medical care (hormone therapy, surgery) as non-binary under the Standards of Care. 

4- What may be most helpful is helping the young adult connect to other non-binary/genderqueer folks, even if it’s just online. There are so many non-binary folks who have accessed hormone therapy, surgery, etc. and it might be nice for your child to get to talk things through with other people, especially if their current doctors don’t “get it.” 

5- My son shared with me that he has friends with non binary gender identities (genderqueer, Two Spirit, etc.) who haven taken hormones for years, stopped taking them, and have no regrets. They continue to be non binary-identified. 

6-The best thing anyone can do is support people in having access to all the information they need to make an informed choice…and keep supporting them no matter what their decisions are down the line!! 
* Here are some resources that may be helpful:

http://darahoffmanfox.com/ask-gender-therapist-can-transition-im-non-binary-genderfluid/ (or you can just link right to the youtube page of the video)
http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/07/myths-non-binary-transition/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/a-non-binary-perspective-on-top-surgery_us_58d27b27e4b062043ad4ae76

https://thebodyisnotanapology.com/magazine/transitioning-while-non-binary/
http://www.teenvogue.com/story/what-is-non-binary-gender

http://www.transequality.org/issues/resources/understanding-non-binary-people-how-to-be-respectful-and-supportive

As always, my best to you as you advocate and continue to demonstrate unconditional love! 

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

 

 

Happening Tomorrow

17 Sep

dodger-1dodger-12016-08-26_19-34-10

“10 Things Trans Men Want You To Know”

25 Jan

 

I loved this article from current Winter 2016 issue of FTM Magazine! It’s a short, easy-to-digest no-nonsense list of things to consider from a Female-to-Male guy to all of us cis-gendered well-meaning folks.

As the mom of a FTM 28 year old, I know I can use all the help I can get to check in with how supportive I am. Honestly, I do not always think of these types of questions to ask my son, so I appreciate someone throwing out these possible topics to discuss!

I encourage you to read this and consider!!

http://www.ftmmagazine.com/blogs/articles/100321479-10-things-trans-men-want-you-to-know

 

 

Grieving the Loss

18 Nov

I was re-reading a newspaper article that I had hung onto from last July. The author shared her feelings of loss in an Op-Ed piece. Her husband of 13 years had transitioned to female. The author explained that the “weirdness” of her situation didn’t appear to easily dissipate. She said that strangers asked personal questions. While she was grieving the loss of her husband, her former spouse was celebrating a new identity.

We moms of transgender kids often experience the same thing: our children often are thrilled with the actuality of their new found selves. They are “all about them”; the world revolving around all things new and free. Suddenly no longer held captive in a dishonest narrative, many of our children can become…well…”over the top”. Not all, but many may flaunt the new “them”. This hurts us as we try to stand by and support them. Among all their joy, we are missing what we thought was a perfectly wonderful and acceptable previous identity. It’s  hard to take be in the midst of such joy when we alone are grieving and aching.

The writer, Lisa Jaffe Hubbell, shared that we join a club of sorts…”those who have lost husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers in a way that can only be compared to death but isn’t. All we can do is manage the pain, ignore the wide-eyed stares and inconsiderate comments, and hope for grace and serenity.  We are forced to applaud with so many others what it takes to come out as trans, to live an authentic life. But we only know the courage it takes to redraw what gets erased.”

But the pain DOES dissipate. Since it has now been more than four years since I learned of my (now) son’s new identity and transition, I rarely consider my own loss. Instead, when reading or hearing about this very REAL and COMMON experience for the parents and loved ones of transgender children, I stop to measure my own feelings: while I am aware that I no longer experience the pain and grief of the loss of the child I once knew, I instead, recognize where I now find myself on this journey’s continuum:  acceptance and  gratitude.

My son lives two states away, so our visits are rare and always far to brief for this mom! I just saw my son and his family this past weekend. Any angst I felt in leaving were because I long to see him more frequently and leaving means another long stretch without the connection sharing the same physical space can only bring. I left my son knowing (and relishing in this realization!) that he made the right decision to transition! My son is healthy in a way in which I have never before seen- regardless of gender! He takes care of his health and lives an incredibly balanced life: making time for his passion (reading), carving out spiritual time, challenging himself with work, planning joy-filled activities with family and friends; building a relationship with a fabulous partner. He appears very present in his everyday actions and decisions. He inquires earnestly about others and has become an active listener. But most of all, he appears HAPPY! To say I am impressed with the way in which he conducts his life is an understatement! I am so incredibly grateful for his well-being!

So, my dearest mothers, take all the time you need to grieve for your children. My prayer for you is simple: May you find courage to stand in the pain as your support your transitioning child and reap the joy of his or her successes down the road!

Guest Blog: Fabulous Mom Sharing Her Insightful Experience!

13 Oct

There is a fabulous parent support group in Los Angeles. They completely rescued me 4 years ago when I felt so alone during the first months of my journey! While I no longer attend monthly parent meetings (while the kids and their sibs attend groups for their ages), I continue to stay connected through frequent e-mails.

This is how I found Cyndie Klein! She is, like you, a loving and supportive mom, standing up for her child and learning along the way. Her family attended the recent 23rd Annual Models of Pride conference on the campus of the USC in Los Angeles. I am so pleased to share wonderful Cyndie and her articulate reflections with you:

Hi Everyone,
 
We went to Models of Pride yesterday and wow….what a great day!  It was our families first time, in fact it was our first time at anything like this for the LGBTQ community and we were overwhelmed with emotions at the end of the day.
 
I’d like to share a story of my revelation this morning…its a bit long so continuing on is completely up to you:)
 
I was going through my bag from yesterday’s event and throwing away the papers I don’t need and rereading some of what we heard.  I was finishing up when I came across our lanyards lying on the table.  You know those necklaces you get with your name on it when you check in?  We received the black Models of Pride lanyard with our name tag hanging off the bottom as our pass to be there for the day.  We also received another lanyard for participating in a panel where we discussed some challenges we have faced with our Trans son and where we could share a little of our story with others.  This lanyard was bright in color with the LGBT and rainbow insignia on it.  I picked up the lanyards off the dining room table but I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of them.  This was the first event we had ever been to for the LGBTQ community and we were very proud to have been there.  I tried to think of a place I could keep these lanyards for now so as they hung from my hand, I walked through the house looking for a spot.  When I got to the den I saw the board on the wall with all the pegs on it.  I thought, “This is perfect”, so I looked for an empty peg.  You see, all the pegs had my husband’s medals from his many marathons hanging from them, 24 to be exact.  As my eyes fell on the last peg I had to laugh.  I saw that my husband had the same idea and had already hung his lanyards there.  I hung mine on the same one.  I started to leave the room but when I got to the door I glanced back at the peg board to look at the lanyards again and immediately halted and starred at all the lanyards hanging from the board.  All of them with these beautiful medals representing the incredibly disciplined, hard work one does for a marathon.  The ones from yesterday, however, didn’t have bright shiny medals but instead they had name tags in plastic sleeves with our hand written name and designated pronoun on them.  As I stood there I became aware of the fact that out of all the lanyards hanging there theses are the ones that mean the most.  These simple lanyards without the pretty painted lettering and polished medal like the rest of them.  These simple lanyards represented so much more.  This marathon was much longer and much more grueling than any of the others.  This marathon was not a mere 26.2 miles but instead, this one took years.  There were many trips and falls before finally reaching this finish line, but arriving as we did yesterday was one of the biggest achievements of our parental lives.  As I turn and walk from the room and through the door I hear the bang of the start gun in my head and I know that we are off again as another marathon begins.  So, this is not the end but the beginning of yet many more to come.  But just like any workout done over time, all the hard work that got you through the first one gets you in better shape and prepares you a little more for what’s to come in the next one and I feel like we are in the best shape we have ever been in.  So as my husband an I start this new run with our incredible son, we feel like we will breathe a little easier, be a bit more prepared and maybe a little less tired and worn out by the time we get to the next finish line to receive our next lanyard.