Thank you to everyone!

Over 9000 readers from 51 countries read Call Him Hunter in 2014. Thank you for reading, commenting and sharing. xo Hunter’s Mom

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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A Mother’s Plea: Love Your (Transgender) Child

We’ve had a rough few months. Lots of ups and downs. Poor choices. Risky behaviors. Destructive decisions. Mood swings.

LOVE. It’s what makes the world go round; it’s what builds self-esteem in children; it’s what our kids need above all else. Parental LOVE.

trans loveRecently, I had the honor of speaking with a woman (I’ll call her Colleen) whose teenager just came out as transgender (FTM). This woman needed a friend. She needed some insight into her son’s “secret” world. She wanted to understand, from my perspective, how I reacted to the same news. How, we, as a family, are handling things. She also asked to speak to Hunter. To her credit, she was really trying to be open. I have to say that I was surprised by what seemed to be the most upsetting to her; her mother (the grandmother) had chosen her baby’s name at birth. Colleen was devastated at the prospect that her teen wanted to walk away from this name; this identity.

I certainly can understand the sentiment attached to a name. In the Jewish religion, we often name our children after a loved one who has passed away. This is a beautiful way to honor their memory. However, parents, our children are so much more than a name. What good is the name if they are living a lie? What good is a name if they can’t live authentically? What good is the name if they are depressed, isolated, unsupportive, suicidal, …?

This morning I read a story about a transgender teen (MtF) who jumped in front of a semi-truck because her parents couldn’t find a way to love her unconditionally. This is the second story in about a week’s time. Parents need to wake up and realize that you cannot control, choose or change gender identity or sexual orientation. Can I tell you something? My world is so much richer because of my son. I have made new friends. I am more open-minded. We have a stronger parent-child relationship.

I have trans teens private messaging me and friending me on Facebook because they need someone to talk to. I don’t know these kids. I’ve never met them. But, I am here for them; a stranger who is giving support and a safe ear to listen. One teen told me that he can’t remember when his mom told him that she loved him.

At the beginning of this rant I shared that we’ve had a rocky few months. We never would have made it through without LOVE. Maybe this sounds corny to you but I really believe that without showing my son how much he is loved and supported and accepted, we wouldn’t have made it.

Our journey is far from over. I am positive that we will encounter rough terrain in the days, weeks, months and even years ahead. We will get through it. We will do it together. To all you parents out there who are struggling…please open your hearts; love your son or daughter (or fill in other identifier) for who they are and for who they want to be.

The Hard Choice: Supporting Your Transgender Child

transgender symbol and flag

I was invited to be a guest blogger by Dara Hoffman Fox. She is a gender therapist and runs a site called Conversations with a Gender Therapist.

Here is the link to the blog that appeared on her site.

http://darahoffmanfox.com/parent-of-a-trans-teen/

A while back I wrote another post on the concept of choice also. Remember, please, that we don’t choose our sexual orientation, gender identity or eye color. We do choose how accepting we are. We choose whether to support our children. As a parent, I cannot imagine not being there for my child, regardless of who they love, how they dress or what gender they affirm.

I look forward to hearing from other parents of transgender individuals. How are you coping and handling things in your world?

 

Beyond Grateful

gratitudeAs we wind down the year, many of us take the time to reflect, take stock and in general, look in the rearview mirror. It is so easy to let all of the daily crap beat us down. Some days I don’t even realize that I am not standing up straight; it’s not until I stop and look in the mirror that I notice the hunched shoulders and defeated appearance. I have to remind myself to STAND UP STRAIGHT. Isn’t that what our mothers always told us?

I had no idea that life could be so complicated. I have to admit that there are some days when the thought of putting dinner on the table is just too much to navigate. Those are the times I am relieved that my son is not much of an eater. I could give him a bowl of cereal and a scrambled egg for dinner and he would be just fine. Of course most days I am stressing over the fact that he is too skinny. Our daily routine includes the question, “Did you eat (lunch) today?”

I worry about my business. I worry about paying our bills. I worry about everyone’s well-being. I worry about Hunter’s future. I worry about his school work. I worry about his mental health. I worry about my daughter on a big college campus without a support network. I worry about my dog getting loose and dashing in front of a car. I worry about my husband’s night vision while driving. I worry about solving a client’s marketing challenge. I worry about the fact that I am not exercising. I worry about the extra pounds I’ve managed to accumulate.

STOP IT.

We all have worries. I am not special, by any means.

What I can tell you, however, is that I am beyond grateful. I have a hard-working, loyal husband who is home with us every night and is here every morning when I wake up. I have a smart, funny, beautiful daughter who lights up my life whenever I am with her. My son is kind and caring and brave. He knows who he is and is learning how to go after what he wants. We have a dog that snuggles and plays and provides endless entertainment and love.

It’s been a year since we’ve been asked by our son to “call him Hunter…” A year of finding doctors and therapists and resources. A year of learning and growth and setbacks. We’ve taken baby steps forward. We’ve struggled with the outcomes of poor choices.

Through it all, we’ve stuck together as a family. We survived a tough year. I am looking ahead but not without appreciating where we’ve been and how far we’ve come. I am grateful.