Just One Call to Make a Difference (in a trans man’s life)

respectI got a call the other day from a young trans man. He spoke hesitantly at first and then, as if his engine needed revving, built up to a crescendo as the words came tumbling forth.

He was lonely. He was shunned. He felt alone and unloved. He needed human contact. He was stuck. Stuck in a house without love. Stuck in a room by himself connected to a virtual world and the soft purr of his nuzzling kitties. Confined to a geography he could only navigate on foot.

So strong is this trans man’s identity that it didn’t seem to matter that he isn’t yet on hormones nor that he only owns a few articles of clothing that were purchased in the men’s department. He knows that inside, where it really matters, he is male.

Now, as a mother, it is hard for me to hear that this human being does not have a single family member that he can count on; that his mother is ashamed of him; that he doesn’t have a winter coat; that he desperately craves the feel of a real hug, of arms wrapped around him silently saying “I love you.”

“How can I help you?” I asked.

I told him about my new friends who have a group called FtM Detroit. This is a support network and community run by some of the nicest young men who just happen to identify as trans* masculine. With my caller’s approval, I called one of the FtM Detroit guys and told them about the situation. Now here’s the really good part — the next FtM support group meeting was 24 hours away. This community is just amazing. They found someone who lives near my caller and was willing to pick him up and drive him to and from the meeting. So, this transgender man, who has been alone, isolated, without resources, is now connected to an amazing group of like-minded/bodied individuals.

I have withheld the name of my caller to protect his privacy. He is one of thousands out there. How brave was he to make that one call? He took a chance and reached out to an Ally Mom. He wants a future that gives him independence and freedom to live an authentic life.

One call. That’s all it took to make a difference in someone’s life.

___________________________________

To read more about our journey check out the other posts. For more about me, click here.

UPCOMING EVENT: You are NOT alone for transgender youth and families on March 10.

(Trans) Parent Support

Hunters artworkThis is for all you parents out there who are struggling to accept your child’s coming out and desire to transition. As a parent of a transgender teen (FtM), I feel that I am “qualified” to share these words and sentiments.

Do you know…

Parental Support Matters? Only 15% of trans youth without parental support described their mental health as “very good” or excellent, compared to 70% of trans youth with parental support. (source)

Transgender people are more than 25 times more likely than non-transgender people to attempt suicide some time during their life?  (41% vs. 1.6%) (source)

78% of transgender youth in K-12 had experienced harassment? (source)

Recently I asked my son how our support has affected him since he came out to us two years ago. Do you know what he told me? “I feel confident about who I am. I don’t feel ashamed to be me.”

WOW. Isn’t that what we want for our kids? How are they going to grow up to be healthy, productive adults if we don’t love, support, accept and advocate on their behalf. The more we speak out the more understanding there’ll be within our communities.

I get it. This is not what you envisioned for your baby as you gazed into that sweet face. Ask yourself this. Would you rather have an angry, sullen, beat down, bullied, suicidal child who is covering up their true gender identity or one that can walk with their head held high? Would you rather your child live with shame or with the self-confidence to live authentically? It is much less costly to pay for medical expenses related to hormone treatments than to pay for a lifetime of therapy.

Please — let your children know that it is ok to be who they are meant to be. Let your children know that you will love them no matter which gender they affirm. Let your children know that you will be there for them as they traverse this journey.

Please — don’t let  your children walk alone. I have seen with my own eyes what happens when a child is accepted and allowed to transition. The transformation goes far beyond gender.

When you choose to be there for your transgender child you are changing the course of their life. Please share this message.

xo

 

 

 

Call him Hunter

It is my pleasure to share today’s post with you. The story is written by my friend Ronelle Grier. The article appears in this week’s Detroit Jewish News on the cover. A must read. Thank you to Ronelle Grier for writing this and Keri Cohen, Story Development Editor at the Detroit Jewish News for publishing this. Read the entire story here. Detroit Jewish News Call Him Hunter

Enchanted Photography by Marla Michele Must

Enchanted Photography by Marla Michele Must