I’m sure all the people who don’t understand trans issues or even try to will probably ask how I ended up with two transgender children.
Well, for one thing, I don’t think it’s anything that I did (or didn’t do.) I fully believe that this is who they were going to be anyway, regardless of how I raised them.
I have some members of my distant family who think that it’s because I didn’t try hard enough to make them cis (or cisgender, the gender of their birth.) They think that if I’d had them in sports and developed their athleticism and my husband were more of a “typical” male (though he’s very straight), they wouldn’t have ever questioned their gender. They think I should have tried harder to teach them how to be a man. I say that’s bullshit.
I wasn’t going to teach them gender stereotypes that I believe are very unhealthy and harmful about what a “man” should be. I intentionally chose not to do that. If that’s what was required to ensure that they would turn out straight and cis, no deal. But I really don’t believe that would have changed anything, since other parents in my in-person trans parents support group did raise their kids according to gender stereotypes and still ended up with trans kids anyway.
With my oldest daughter, I knew there was something different about her from the time she was five years old. At the time, I had almost no awareness of trans issues and just assumed she was gay, although the fact that she had a female alter ego when she was young should have been a bigger clue than I took it.
With my middle daughter, she was never a stereotypical boy. She’s always been more gentle and sensitive. To be honest, it still kind of took me by surprise anyway when she told me she was trans, although it really shouldn’t have. Especially in recent months, she’s dropped some pretty obvious hints, like wanting women’s deodorant because she said it smelled better to ordering an epilator with Christmas money to try to get rid of the shadows of her upper lip hair. (It didn’t work.)
She also didn’t date anyone in high school, though I figured she just might be asexual. That one might actually be accurate, according to what she says now, but I’m curious to see if that may change as she goes through transition. She did say that she has no interest in getting breast implants because it’s her perception that most men would prefer small but natural.
Really, my acceptance of them being trans is entirely consistent with how I raised them from birth. I’m not saying I didn’t make any mistakes because I made a lot of them, and unquestionably they were affected by my years of untreated depression.
But from birth, I wanted to have a different relationship with my kids than my parents had with me. Frankly, I wanted to raise my kids really different from the norm in general. I found a tribe of like-minded moms online way back 22 years ago, when the internet barely resembled how it is in its current state.
I chose very conscious parenting and did very little “just because” that’s the way things had always been done. I breastfed them and wore them in slings strapped to my body, instead of carrying them around in their car seats. I almost never left them in anyone else’s care, though I can also see how that had some detriments. I let them sleep next to me when they were babies and was vehemently against leaving them to cry alone in a crib until they learned how to sleep on their own. (I thought that was barbaric and still do. I think all that teaches kids from an early age is that no one will come when you cry.) I never used physical punishment, for many reasons.
Several of my mom friends from those days now have kids who are gay and a couple of them also have trans kids; we still keep in touch, even if not as often. I don’t really think the fact that we all raised our kids in similar ways is the reason so many of the kids have turned out to be LGBT, simply because I also know a lot of kids who are LGBT who weren’t raised that way.
I could speculate all day about the reasons there are so many more LGBT kids now than there were when I was growing up, but the truth is that it doesn’t really matter.
Most of my mom friends also have similar political views as I do and for us, raising LGBT kids is just another way we put our concern for general human rights into action, only now it’s a lot more personal.
I am actually extremely grateful that I have two trans kids and that they’ve been able to come out knowing that they’re fully accepted by both their parents, just as they would have been if they had been born cis and straight. At least there are two more kids who don’t have to hide or deal with the pain of not being accepted by their parents.
I feel like I was given these kids for a reason. Not that I made them this way but that I was always committed to accepting them however they were, no matter what.