As Olivia began the journey to become Hunter, she started trimming her hair, inch by inch until the ponytail that hung daily between her shoulder blades became a very stylish, chin-length bob. Just as I was starting to get used to the shorter hair, Hunter began a relentless campaign to go really, really short…right before 8th grade graduation.
I was stopped in my tracks.
“Don’t you want to wait until after graduation?” I asked.
I wasn’t in a place mentally or emotionally to see my daughter at middle school graduation dressed as a boy with a boy’s haircut.
The funny thing is that I had so many people come up to me and gush about Olivia’s CUTE, short, trendy hairstyle that showed off her wickedly penetrating, multi-colored eyes.
In hindsight, I see that once there are words and labels that accompany all of the feelings, there’s an urgency for transgender individuals to take action. Hunter wanted to be at graduation in his authentic skin wrapped in a tapestry of maleness.
Let there be no mistake. I was sad; sad that my child did not look like the other budding young ladies that we’d known since kindergarten; sad that I was buying boys’ dress slacks rather than a dress and heels; sad that my daughter was slipping away.
Olivia was transitioning at a pace that felt comfortable. For that, I was happy and proud and awed. While we were really no where ready for what was to come, we were prepared to let it unfold; to let Hunter emerge; to better understand what it meant to have a transgender child.