After several years of “being a lesbian,” and a brief stint identifying as gender queer, Sherri’s son finally figured out he was transgender. They were lucky because Zak talked to both parents for hours on end while he was trying to come to terms with his identity.
Now at 25, he is legally male, married to a woman, has had top surgery and is on “T.” It sounds like there was more discussion and uncertainty about his name than whether he was male or female. Vacillating between two spellings of Zak/Zach/Zachary, the third official name change seemed to stick.
“He was SUPER shy and VERY anxious his whole life and especially in HS. It started getting better in college; there was a big improvement after he started his social then physical transition. He is more anxious than the norm – but his self-esteem and sense of well-being are so much better now. He is less emotional since being on testosterone.”
As far as family acceptance, it’s been a mixed bag. Sherri’s dad, ZaK’s grandpa, gave them lip service. He apologized for insisting that his grandson was really a girl but when he came to visit, he could “barely look at my son.” Sherri’s mom hoped that Zak would “go back to being a lesbian,” but after seeing an Oprah episode about trans* people, seemed to have a greater understanding and acceptance.
The little ones in the family really didn’t bat an eye. When Sherri’s three year old granddaughter was told that “we thought we had a baby girl but realized that we really had a boy,” she accepted the information without question. It was several years later when she realized the “part about the penis.” At that point she asked if he “had girl parts down there.”
When Zak began shaving it was a big deal. Of course, there were issues in finding clothes to fit his changing body; now, he is fully masculinized and knows what fits and what doesn’t.
Living in a small town has its challenges. Either everyone knows your business or they remember when…
You get past the awkward moments with a smile and learn to share just enough with inquiring minds so they are left with either the desire to know more out of morbid curiosity or true compassion and understanding.
Sherri is one of our Ally Moms. This new series profiles an Ally Mom along with her child to share a piece of their journey. In some cases, names will be changed to protect privacy.
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