So here is Part 2 of my first year...
In my Part 1 post, I shared how I spent a lot of time trying to convince TN it would be ok (and better) to just live the life of a butchy woman. That wasn't working...so I focused on understanding things more and needed to focus on my own mental situation with this.
I'm a very social person and very extraverted. I get my mental energy from being around others, helping others, and sharing with others. It was tough for me to be around people, talk with them about my kids but not be able to be honest about what's going on.
I was so conflicted. I was raised Christian mostly in non-denominational churches. I spent a little time playing a Catholic as well. I grew up believing that being gay was a choice and a sin. Many years ago, I came to the realization that being gay was not a choice and I've struggled with the idea of it even being a sin. Frankly, I've struggled with my beliefs in general. That's a whole other blog topic! Suffice it to say, I was worried enough about confiding in friends and family about TN, but I was really worried about confiding in my Christian friends and family. I knew what they would say about it.
Slowly, I started sharing with close friends and family. These were the people that I was pretty darn confident would be there and support me no matter what. Fortunately, I was correct with that assumption. Honestly, I am so incredibly blessed to have some really awesome friends in my life. I mean, seriously. If any of you are reading this, you rock!! :-) My friends are my rocks and they have helped me get over some hurdles, and this time scale a big wall, many times in my life.
As far as family goes, I shared it with my sister first. She's a very strong Christian so I was a tiny bit worried about her reaction, but I also know that she leads her life with love, so I wasn't too worried. She was totally there for me and wanted to learn more. Honestly, her biggest concern was that TN didn't believe in God (again, that's another blog post! haha) rather than TN being transgender.
Next, I told my mom about TN. My mom's a very open person with her thinking, but is also very conservative as well. Her radio has been tuned in to Dr. Laura, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity all these years if that gives you a little glimpse into those who sway her thinking! My mom also had the reaction that we love our kids no matter what. Mom didn't totally understand what transgender is, so I tried to explain it as well as I could. She still struggled with it and, to this day, thinks that TN just needs to be a tom boy. My mom would go on and on about how she (my mom) was a tom boy, liked to wear pants, etc. But it's much more than that - it's how someone feels in their inner core. Regardless, I'm fortunate to have a mom who's there for me and isn't judging or pushing us away because of it.
Through my church, I was part of a small group that met every Monday night at a friend's house. This group of women were always supportive whenever anyone brought up issues or concerns. The group was comprised of new believers all the way up to your life long super Bible smart types. :-) It's sad to say, but since the transgender topic is so taboo, I didn't know how to bring it up with the group. Each Monday, we would write down a prayer request on index cards and toss them in a pile. Everyone would grab one randomly and then pray for that person for the week. Every week for about 5 weeks, I simply wrote down "Please pray that God fixes my daughter." And I even would tell the group I was dealing with something with my daughter and just want prayers.
Well, after the 5th week, my good friend (and the woman who hosted the group) pulled me aside. She told me that for some reason (I'd call that a God moment), she randomly chose my card EVERY week for the past 5 weeks. That I didn't have to share if I wasn't comfortable but she wanted to know she was there if I wanted to talk. So I opened up. I told her everything and told her I was just so confused. She was awesome. She's one of those people that loves on everyone no matter what, would give you the shirt off her back, and is an incredible listener. She wasn't surprised when I told her because she could see TN's transformation. The next thing she said is what blew my mind. She told me there was another mother in our church going through the same thing with one of her kids. She asked me if she could share my info with the other woman to see if that mom would be ok with my knowing about her (and thus connecting us together!).
A week later, my friend told me that the other mother was open to talking with me and, are you ready for this? The other mother was another woman in my Monday night group!! For realz!! I'm not lying to you. Seriously. All this time, I'm meeting with this group of ladies and neither of us had mentioned this to the larger group. This is one of the issues with "church" in my opinion. There's too much taboo so people with issues are afraid to talk about them with other church people. Of course that's a whole other blog post....but back to this. I ended up getting together with the other woman outside of the group and we talked a lot. Our situations were slightly different. Her son felt he was a woman and my daughter felt she was a man. Different but the same.
My communication to and reaching out to friends and family was slow but turned out more positive than I could have hoped.
It just goes to show that if you are willing to take that chance and reach out to someone and share your story, good things can come out of it. Yes, sometimes it won't be good, but we need to be there for one another. And I have found through this journey that there seem to be WAY more transgender teens out there than anyone even knows. So don't feel alone. You are not alone.
Let me work on Part 3 of this and also talk a bit about TN and dating...