The hard decision…

Emma sees her doctor tomorrow about starting hormone therapy. The thing is, she’s not sure she wants to. Or, more specifically, she wants to but also wants to someday have a baby of her own. And this is one thing I can’t help her with.

It’s a hard choice at twenty to have to decide whether to make yourself infertile. It’s even harder when you’ve wanted to be a parent for your whole life. I reminded her about adoption but she wants to have a baby, not a child. I pointed out that they could go to a sperm bank to impregnate her future wife and got silence in return. And I brought up the fact that hormones work better when you’re younger and got a curt “I know”.

Emma has school tomorrow and I have a social recreation group. We’re going to meet up after both and walk to the doctor’s office. With any luck she’ll have come to a conclusion she can live with.

Update: Emma’s doctor sent us home with information about sperm banks and some places to call. Her next appointment is in two months.

Standing up…

When Jeremy was little, he was mistaken for a girl on a regular basis.jeremy-easter-2010

“What a cute little girl!”
“You’ve got such a lovely daughter?”
“How old is she?”
“What’s her name?”
“She’s so sweet!”

I didn’t bother to correct them. Jeremy didn’t mind and it simply embarrassed people. Besides, he was cute, lovely, adorable, and sweet. Even when his hair was short, he still got “such a lovely girl” comments. He was sweet.

Back then I knew nothing about trans people. I wondered why Jeremy only played girl characters in his games and played dress up right into his preteens with his sister but figured he was just imaginative and liked the way the dresses felt.

jeremy-in-2014Then he became a teenager and started experimenting more with his hair and, to a lesser extent, his clothes. The comments changed slightly to include “ma’am” and he was still, to the mildly unobservant, feminine.

He still didn’t mind being called her and she, in fact, sometimes it seemed to bring him joy. And I still had no idea what that could mean.

Now he’s almost 20 years old with mitts for hands, size 12 men’s feet, and a deep bass voice. Now he’s talking about transitioning. And I’m so scared. I belong to enough groups to know people aren’t kind to 6ft 3in women with deep voices and adam’s apples. I read the posts on Facebook. I know there’s been seven trans women (and one colin-and-laratrans man) killed so far in the States this year alone. I haven’t heard any statistics for Canada.

Jeremy talks happily about buying a bikini with a skirt and how he’s always wanted a frilly dress with lots of floofy layers. I will do everything I can to help him achieve his dreams but I can’t do everything.

Please be kind when you see my child on the street. For all that he’s 19 years old, he’s still my child. He bought a Minecraft book today and jelly beans then laughed over bathroom humour in a YouTube video.  He’s still young. He’s not a joke. He’s not a freak. He’s a person with feelings and thoughts.

One day he’s going to be stepping out that door in the dress of his dreams. You might see him or, more likely, you will see someone like him. Someone who, for whatever reason, just isn’t fitting in 100%. Please be kind, be helpful, and let him come home safely with his heart intact. Stand up for him. Stand up with him. Don’t let him feel alone against the bullies and please, please don’t let him be a statistic.

But I wasn’t worried

Years ago, Jeremy was invited to a birthday party. He had a great time and his friend’s Mom made sure to take several pictures on Jeremy’s camera so I could see the fun too.

I stopped by their place several weeks later and we sat, chatting in the living room. After a while the conversation turned to her son’s birthday and she commented that they’d watched some sort of sporting event during the party and there’d been cheerleaders.

“Jeremy was absolutely glued to the screen when the cheerleaders came on,” she assured me, entirely unprompted. “You don’t have to worry about him. He’s not like that, he likes girls.”

I don’t know which was worse, that she thought I was worried or that she made it sound like this was a long standing conversation of ours, one where I was frantically worried about Jeremy’s sexual orientation. We weren’t the only two in the room, she had another friend visiting who, as a lesbian, was like that. So there I was, trying not to yell at my friend while also trying not to give her friend the impression that I was dancing for joy over my son’s apparent straightness. I ended up in a stammering, tongue tangled mess.

Okay, it couldn’t have been that bad of a mess because I ended up staying friends with both of them, but it felt like it at the time. It was one of those “please let a hole open beneath me and swallow me whole” moments. Entirely awkward and entirely unnecessary.

Over the years I’ve had several such conversations regarding Jeremy, where someone’s taken it upon themselves to try and reassure me that I shouldn’t worry. Unlike my friend, they don’t actually come out and say what they’re worried about but it’s pretty obvious. They also make this announcement in a tone usually reserved for one that ends in “… it’s probably not fatal”. It’s obvious they’re expecting me to be worried and figure I have pretty good reason.

And they’re right in one way, I am worried. But it’s their attitude that worries me, not Jeremy. Their attitude is the one that says a teenager shouldn’t come out because they’re just confused. Their attitude is one that would never let their boy paint his nails or wear pink flip flops or pull on a dress (even at home). Their attitude is one which thinks it’s normal and a sign of affection when a man and a woman hold hands but a political statement if two men or two women do the same.

I love Jeremy just the way he is. I agree with him that he’s completely fabulous. I just wish the rest of the world could be a little more welcoming.

I did a little light reading this week and found a blog entry with similar concerns as mine, titled It could be worse, and an article on Huffington Post titled 10 Ways to Support Your Gay Kid. Both are worth reading.