Mom Of Trans Son Asks Reddit For Help, And The Replies Are Awesome And Uplifting
The story of Leelah Alcorn, a trans teen who committed suicide after years of disrespectful and demeaning treatment from her parents, went viral last month and still haunts me. I cannot imagine how painful it must have been to not be accepted by the people who are supposed to love you the most.
So it was encouraging to come across this thread on Reddit, from a mom trying to process her feelings after her daughter – now son – came out as trans. She is struggling and grieving, and unsure of how to proceed. But she clearly loves her son and wants to do right by him, and just asking for help is a step in the right direction. The Reddit community’s reaction and advice is awesome, and they bring up powerful parenting points that all of us should read and remember.
Her original post reads:
My kid came out to me as trans and I’m having a really really hard time accepting it. I never wanted to have any boys. I actually refused to have bio-kids b/c I didn’t want to leave the gender of my kids to chance. So i adopted my daughters instead. A few weeks ago my middle child came out to me as trans. Since then I’ve been trying really really hard to hide my disappointment from my kid. I’ve been trying to be supportive and everything but I’m struggling so so much. I don’t want a son. I really don’t. But i love my kids and i want only the best for them. If this is who she is on the inside I will be supportive. I just don’t know how to get over my feelings. Especially since my kid wants to transition so quickly. My kid has already began living as a boy and gets very upset with me whenever I forget to use the chosen name or refer to my kid as her or anything like that. But I’m having a hard time adjusting and I’m messing up a lot. I just don’t know how to even begin accepting this. Every-time I see my ‘son’ I get so so sad. I hide it as best I can but my emotions are usually very obvious and I know my saddness is apparent. I don’t want my reaction to negitively effect my child but idk how to be happy about this. How can i get over it?
Redditers take her to task for the strange “I only wanted girls and only adopted girls” thing, but also give gentle, encouraging feedback. Below are some of the best comments.
It is fine to be disappointed, to see it as a loss of a daughter, and take time to accept it/grieve. However you need to be there for and support your child. It’s not just a struggle and adjustment for you. You should not feel ashamed for grieving and your child shouldn’t be ashamed for being trans… Additionally it doesn’t matter that you don’t want as son even though you went through adoption so you didn’t end up having one. You raised a daughter that became an individual who identifies as a boy. He is still the child you raised, just not a girl.
No parent ever gets to choose what their child will be like. Whether your kids are bio or adoptive, they grow into real people with desires and choices that are not the desires and choices you have. Some people are confronted with this reality right away – special needs parents, for example. Or in my case, two extreme introvert parents realizing that they’ve given birth to a massive extrovert. At some point you have to be able to let go of that ideal vision of what you thought/wanted your child to be and accept them for who they truly are. And in truth, that reality is so much more wonderful and beautiful than if they had simply chosen the path that you wanted and expected of them.
As far as your difficulty with having a son, well I would suggest that you look into why that is and work to resolve it, preferably with some sort of professional help. Part of the whole parenting deal is loving and accepting your kids, regardless of how different they are from what you had wanted them to be. My daughter is autistic. Totally not what I signed up for, and not something that would show up on any prenatal testing. But you know what? She’s still my child, and don’t love her any differently. Yes, it’s natural to grieve the loss of the child you thought you had, but at the end of the day, your child is still there, you’re still his parent, and he still needs you as much as he ever did, if not more. I’m not saying that being trans* is in any way similar to a developmental disorder, because it’s not. I’m just saying that when you become a parent, you’re that child’s parent. They could end up being physically or mentally disabled, converting to a different religion or giving up/choosing religion, have or refuse to have children, move across the world… You name it. If you have an idea of what your child will or won’t do, chances are they’ll throw it out the window.
You can be the most supportive person in the world and still struggle with change. And this is a huge change–you can cut yourself some slack. I agree that it’s weird for you to not want a boy so much that you adopted to ensure you only have girls, but it is what it is. Just goes to show that your children will be who they will be. My dad wanted me to grow up to be a senator, but I don’t like politics. You wanted your kids to all grow up to be women, but one of them is a boy on the inside. It’s okay to struggle to accept it, as long as you do your best to be supportive and come to terms with it. When your son is bothered by your missteps just tell him “I’m sorry. I support you fully; it’s just a big change. Please be patient with me.”
It’s hard because you see this as a tough future and path your child has chosen. Try to focus on the fact that is actually the path of happiness for your child, and try to focus on helping them explore that path safely.
Something simple to consider… How did you feel about your kid a day before they told you? Now realize that they didn’t change since then. In fact, it’s really you who did any of the changing in that period of time.