I can’t remember where I read this information originally. I’m horrible for remembering stuff then forgetting completely what article or blog it came from. Although, to be fair, it was over a year ago. Anyways, I read an article (somewhere) on transgender children and how they all did much better when their parents listened to them and respected their wishes.
The vast majority of the kids stayed firm with their gender but a few went back to the gender they’d been announced at birth. Those few also were happy and glad they were listened to, they felt confident they were loved and accepted by their parents.
Around the same time that I read this article, Emma came out as bisexual… for a day. I wasn’t surprised by her announcement but for different reasons than with Jeremy.
With Jeremy there wasn’t any surprise because he’d had crushes on boys for years, only stopping when he realized his peers’ negative opinions. Emma, on the other hand, came out at her father’s baptism into the Mormon church.
We arrived at the church with no small amount of nervousness. I was meeting relatives and friends of their father whom I hadn’t seen in a decade, Jeremy stayed silent on his worries, and Emma had heard a fair bit about the Mormon church through the media and had her own concerns regarding parental love.
Their father greeted us in a full length white pant and shirt set. His rumpled, ill fitting garments gave him the appearance of someone who’d just entered a hospital with secured exits and staff who were deeply concerned with his feelings and moods.
“Mom. Dad looks like he’s in a mental hospital,” Emma muttered. Apparently we were both on the same wavelength. They’d even taken his shoes.
None of us were allowed to witness the actual baptism, which was a disappointment. Their Dad has an extreme water phobia. We were all set to eat popcorn and enjoy the show. Instead we got ushered into a small room with stacking, but padded, seats to watch a bland and generic VCR tape on the Mormon religion.
I looked over to see Emma’s head bent over her cellphone, furiously typing a text message. I opened my mouth to tell her to be respectful and put away her phone when she handed it to me and gestured at the screen.
Mom. I think I might be bisexual.
She took the phone back then backspaced and handed it back to me, the blank screen ready and waiting.
Emma. I love you always.
She smiled when she saw it then backspaced and tucked the phone into her pocket. I squeezed her hand and we settled back to watch the rest of the video. After the whole baptism was completed, we stood and I gave Emma a hug. She bent slightly to rest her head on my shoulder.
“Thanks,” she whispered into my ear. “I love you Mom.”
“I love you too sunshine,” I whispered back.
She called me the next day. “Mom, I’m straight. I don’t know why I said I might be bi, I don’t like girls at all.”
I laughed. “It’s okay either way sunshine. You’re a teenager, being confused comes with the territory.”
“But I really don’t know why I said that,” she blurted.
“Hon, what does the Mormon church think about same sex relationships?”
“Umm… not good…” she replied hesitantly. “Oh, so I was testing you and Dad. You both passed by the way.”
And that was it. I’d like to say it was smooth sailing from then on but she’s a teenager with Borderline Personality Disorder. Life’s not that easy. But it did help.
As for why I accepted Emma’s backtrack on coming out and not Jeremy’s, that would be because Emma has never once mentioned any interest in girls. Whereas Jeremy and I have conversations like this:
“Mom? What are you and Lenny talking about?”
I looked up from Facebook in surprise. I hadn’t realized he was reading over my shoulder (again).
“Lenny and I were looking at some pictures I posted on the blog and we both think he’s cute.” I flipped through the link and clicked open the picture.
Jeremy studied the picture intently then shrugged. “It’s okay if you like him but I find him a bit too feminine for my tastes.”
I didn’t think he looked feminine at all but everyone’s got their own personal likes. That being said, I dare you to read that sentence then say (and honestly believe) the phrase, “Yes, Jeremy’s 100% straight”. So far I haven’t managed although I’m faking as best I can. Jeremy says he feels loved and accepted so hopefully I’m doing a good enough job. He also thinks I ask bizarrely random questions but he should be used to that by now.