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.

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18 thoughts on “A Mother’s Plea: Love Your (Transgender) Child

  1. You are so right. The LOVE part. I would have scoffed 4 years ago. Even 3 years ago. I wasn’t feeling loving at that time but looking back, as we struggled our way through it all, it was love that made the difference.

    A name is just a name. It really is. I know it might seem like a silly thing for a mom to have a hard time with losing that name but it’s not silly. I was there once. I learned to let go of the name.

    And rocky terrain? Yup. It tends to rise up out of nowhere but then a lot of life is like that so why should this be any different? 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Roz,

    I am in love with this entry. Especially the universality of it.

    Keep them coming as often as the spirit moves you,

    Kym

    Sent from my iPhone

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  3. Hello!

    I’m a young transgender person, I too was born female, and I just wanted to say thank you — it’s amazing coming on here and seeing a blog run by a transgender person’s mom and seeing it so full of love and support like this. There needs to be more people like you in the world. 🙂

    It’s also cool seeing a blog post that I can relate so strongly to. I’m very blessed to have a very supporting and loving mother. She gave me a name laden with significance as well (she’s a poet, so it’s to be expected!) and when I first came out she didn’t understand. But I think the most important thing she’s been able to do for me is listen. She’s listened, she loves me unconditionally, and she tries her best to understand. In the end, the name really wasn’t all that important — what was important was me being happy and true to myself.

    I honestly don’t know where I’d be without my mom. Unconditional love really is such an important thing, especially when a child’s already being ostracized for who they are or having difficulties figuring out who they even are. So thank you for being you, and I’m glad I found your blog!

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  4. Earlier today I read the words of the mother of the young girl (Leelah) who stepped into the path of the truck, and was so angry with what I read. Your post is a wonderful salve for that wound. Thank you,

    Billie

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  5. I’m not transgender or the parent of one. I had responded to a blog post about a week ago that brought me into this. I do have a family with a higher percentage of gay people than most, I think. I judge people only one way – by who they are. Skin on the outside is just the home for the person inside.

    There is a reason I’m writing, and that is about names. I left home at 18 to go to college ( and made a mess of it because of drugs) I’m 60 now and recently had a liver transplant because of it. I mention that only because there are effects to every cause we make. Every single one. We can’t let other people and what they think of us determine who we are and how we are supposed to think ( or what the neighbors think) I changed my name at age 19. My name had to go. It wasn’t me. My parents named me but i didn’t feel I had to keep it to make them happy. I even had the name made legal and it’s on every document I own.

    Two years ago because of being very sick my mother wanted me to move home to find a good hospital. I had seen my family occasionally over the years, every couple years or so, less as time went on. Now Iwas around all kinds of family who absolutely refused to call me by my name. I can understand – to a point. it’s all they knew. My 81 year old mother was distraught because I was upset at being called a name I hadn’t used in 40 years. To her I was her baby who had finally come home. I had lost everything – my home, my business, my life, my friends. She felt she was trying to take away the only thing I had left – my identity. 2 1/2 years have passed. I lived and I’ve softened my anger and she calls me by my name when around other people, and uses my given name when we are together. A pretty good compromise. It’s hard for parents to call a child anything other than the name they gave them. Give it time. Things change. When it comes to parents, some need more time to adjust. It doesn’t mean they don’t love you, they just haven’t found a place to put it yet.

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  6. Sharing this in my next issue of Total Mommy Fitness Magazine. It’s a free resource for moms and the upcoming theme is LGBT, personal stories plus general education and acceptance. If you object to this please let me know. Thank you for sharing your story and helping so many moms.

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