I have a private Facebook group for parents of LGBTQ kids. The moms and dads in that group are at all stages in the process of learning their child is LGBTQ. Some are accepting, advocating for their child every day. Others are at the beginning of the process and may be feeling confused, grief or fear. What’s wonderful about the group is how they support one another.
Last week I asked the question, “What is the one tip you’d give to someone who’s child just came out as trans?” Following is the answer from one of the moms.
“Match their smile every step of the way- love openly unconditionally, unselfishly and know they’re on a journey that may be one of the most rewarding yet hardest they will ever be on and they will need you. Mourn if you must or need to however try with everything that you are to realize that although you gave birth to what you thought was one specific gender, our lives are never set in concrete- and everyone sets out and makes many changes throughout. Your child’s choice to be truthful with you -with the world and most importantly themselves takes strength, courage and bravery. As a parent we are given our children as gifts- to love, to protect , to comfort, to guide into healthy, productive-kind, caring adults, it a responsibility, an obligation and can be the single most rewarding position in this world being a parent. What you do with your child, how you respond, how you react is a choice-try to remember always your child being transgender isn’t a choice- it just is. Their transition is a rebirth of sorts just as you embraced that child as an infant, embrace that child now. You must set aside judgment, preconceived notions of absolute. This isn’t going to be easy unfortunately for many reasons and a lot will transpire that won’t seem fair, or just- there maybe losses and changes, however your responsibility is to no other. Learn and educate yourself, surround yourself with those that are filled with love, acceptance and kindness- release any toxic individuals- self-care and know that many, many emotions and thoughts will happen for you, for those around you such as your spouse or partner, maybe your child’s siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles- it may take time for all of you and for some it will never happen. Please for the physical, mental and emotional stability, and strength and safety of your child never let them go, stand with them, never against them over this- they need you -YOU need them.”
I was so taken with the beauty of these words and the love evident in them, I asked if I could use it for my blog.
This is Shawna’s story:
I am wordy individual -short is my down fall. I once was asked to write a short story of our family, my child’s journey- 17000 words later I have yet to finish- as her experience have been many. I wish my child had an amazing story such as one of affirmation, of acceptance, of safety always and that those around her had always been embracing, that all the leadership courses, camps, YouTube videos, social media outreach she so profoundly desired and attempted somehow motivated change but sadly that wasn’t the happy ending or the story that can be told. Unfortunately it has never been that way despite having all the unconditional love at home- drama, hatred, discrimination, bullying, cyber-attacks and death threats is what found my child and to be completely honest until I was told of Serendipitydodah and FreeHearts I had never known anyone like you all. My days were consumed of loneliness, of trying to convince my child that with horrible experience that it gets better- she came to believe I was lying to her and many, many days were spent trying to find someone to help with the hurt, reaching out to advocates, department of education and any and all organizations, agencies, that had the words LGBTQ in their mission statements and hoping that just someone will take notice and come. I was drawling tired, I myself had to dig my way out of suicidal thoughts all while keeping my child a float, my family afloat- convincing her to stay alive. During this journey though I made vow a promise that no child and no parent would feel what we have-ALONE- that although I am not GLSEN, I am not HRC, I am not ACLU, I am not the Trevor Project, I am not rich, I and my child doesn’t have notoriety- If I can help, if I can lend an ear or guide them to a resource, if they are local I will come even if it is to hold their hand or provide them with company, to have someone to just embrace them I WILL. I volunteer for anything that spreads awareness and that brings awareness that helps with all kinds of diversities- I live in a rural community and I am known as “That Mom” and I am proud to known as “That Mom” because I know that the message of love, acceptance and being that mom that will help, advocate that someone is and will be there, that I will be the thorn edged into a school or community event or need- is well worth being known as “THAT MOM” that I am- my children are helping even if it slow- a change and helping with a brighter tomorrow for someone, somehow, somewhere. I am that parent that despite any audience proudly states I have not only one LGBTQ child I was blessed with two rainbow babies- that I am incredibly proud of and that my heart is committed and open to all LGBTQ+ individuals, their families and their loved ones.