Transgender Q&A

Rainbow HeartWhen it comes to the subject of transgender and the LGBT community, I think that there are three different types of people.  The first (and the fastest growing) group of people are the fervent supporters….YAAAAA!  These are our “peeps” and we love them!  Then there are the (I like to think smallest) group of people who are convinced that being gay or transgender is an abomination….BOOOOOO!  These are NOT our “peeps” and I personally prefer to avoid these people!  Then, there is the third group of people, the group of people who aren’t really sure exactly how they feel because they have never really thought about it or haven’t personally known anyone in the LGBT community or maybe they were taught that being gay or transgender was a sin or wrong but aren’t really sure if they believe this or not.  These are the people that I am most hoping to reach.  Through exposure and education, I am hoping to inspire this particular group!

I am not a therapist or a doctor or a transgender specialist but I have done a lot of research on the subject and I am definitely an expert on my family so I thought I would address just a few of the questions that have come up since Ashlyn’s transition.  These are not clinically, medically or psychologically based answers, they are simply my beliefs from having researched the subject and, of course, having lived it.

What is transgender?  Let me start by answering what transgender is not, transgender is not sexuality, they are two completely different things.  I want to stress this because I think that is where we get into a lot of trouble, especially when we are talking with and to children.  Parents are often nervous to talk to their children because they are thinking of this as a sexual issue and therefore inappropriate for children.  This is also where educators often get confused and nervous.  Teachers need to understand that this is a protected class just like race or religion and with more and more individuals transitioning as children (as opposed to transitioning later in life) this is a subject that is going to come up in the school setting.  It is not inappropriate, it is not sexual, it is simply a matter of gender.  I actually looked up the definition of transgender and I think it explains it pretty succinctly.

trans·gen·der – denoting or relating to a person whose self-identity does not conform to conventional notions of male or female gender.

Exactly, does not conform to conventional notions!  If society did not dictate so strictly what it means to be male or female, there may actually be no such thing as being transgender.  But, I am not someone who believes that we need to create a gender neutral society, we just need to get our heads out of our butts and realize that the world is not black and white, there are many wonderful shades of grey (and pink and purple and green and blue…etc…etc.)!  Our genitals are not the only factor that determine our gender.  I know that this is what some people want to believe but then how do they explain people who are born intersex, which is by the way, about 1 in every 1500 births?  And for those of you who aren’t familiar with what it means to be intersex, here is a brief explanation courtesy of Wikipedia:

Intersex is a variation in sex characteristics including chromosomes, gonads, or genitals that do not allow an individual to be distinctly identified as male or female. Such variation may involve genital ambiguity, and combinations of chromosomal genotype and sexual phenotype other than XY-male and XX-female.

I share these facts in the hope of shedding some light on society’s narrow definition of gender and what it means to be male or female.  In EVERY way, with EVERY fiber of her being, in her heart and soul Ashlyn is a girl through and through, she just happened to be born with male genitalia.  It may sound controversial to say, but if it helps you to understand, you could think of it as being born with a birth defect.  I am NOT saying she is defective in any way, I am just saying that some may say that a girl being born with a penis could be considered a birth defect.

Why let Ashlyn transition so young?  This is probably one of the most common questions we get.  “She is so young, how do you know for sure this is the right thing?”  Just like any decision you make as a parent, you do your research, learn all of the facts, take all of the factors into consideration and follow your gut.  And, in doing my research I have come to believe fully that this is the right thing to do.  First of all, I had to feel sure that this was not a “phase” as some people sometimes think.  I am sure of this not only from knowing my child her whole life but also from the research I have done on being transgender.  Now, having said that, I also thought about the worst case scenario.  What if, a week from now, a month from now, a year from now, she all of a sudden says to me, “You know, I don’t think I am a girl, I want to be Trevor again.” what would I do?  Well, first of all, I doubt VERY seriously this would happen but if it did, ok, we will deal with it, it wouldn’t be the end of the world.

Now, knowing in my heart that she truly is a girl,  there are so many advantages to her transitioning earlier rather than later.  Letting her transition now, we (me and Todd) are taking on a lot of the burden and stress of her social transition.  If there are any haters or critics, they are going to hopefully be focused on us, not her.  Let any of those haters think that we are horrible parents and she is just a poor innocent child, I am fine with that!  I am not saying that she will not have some anxiety and stress as a transgender child, just that it will not be nearly as much as she would have if we did not support her, if we made her wait until she was older.  I also truly believe that the amount of stress and anxiety she may feel as a transgender child pales in comparison to the stress and anxiety she would feel if she were not supported and was not able to truly be who she was born to be, right now!  By the time she is 18, she will have lived half of her life as her true authentic female self which is going to make life so much easier for her!

How do I tell my kids about being transgender?  This question has come up with some of our friends and with parents at school and it’s not really a question I can answer except to say that it depends on your child and it depends on your relationship with your child.  As a parent, it is really up to you to decide what is appropriate for your particular child. I can tell you that kids are the best!  They are so accepting, not yet having as much social conditioning as we have had as adults.  All of our friend’s kids and the kids at school have been amazing!  And, again, remember, this is about gender, not sex.  We told some of our friends that they may want to simply tell their kids that Ashlyn was born with a boy body and so was living as a boy but once she was old enough to really know who she was, she realized that in her heart and mind, she was really a girl so she changed her name to Ashlyn and is living as a girl and she is so happy now.  Some kids may be totally fine with this and of course, some kids are going to want to know a little bit more.  Now, again, what you tell them is going to depend on how old they are, how mature they are and how comfortable you are.

I will say that I was surprised when a few of our friends, who are totally supportive of us, told us that they were afraid to tell their kids because they didn’t want their kids to think that this was an option for them.  To this I say, quite simply and without judgement, whether you want to accept it or not, it is an option.  If your child is going to be transgender, they are going to be transgender and not telling them about it is not really going to make difference.  We have also had people tell us that they were worried that if they told their kids, their kids would be afraid that they were going to want to change their gender.  I don’t think that kids would really think that but if they did, I would hope that you would see it as a learning opportunity to let your child know that this is something you are born with and if they don’t feel that way now, they most likely won’t in the future but, if they did, you are always going to love and support them.

Will Ashlyn be put on hormones?  Yes, but not until she is much older.  When she does start showing signs of puberty, she will actually be put on hormone blockers which will delay puberty.  The hormone blockers will give us time and get her to an age that she (with our help and guidance) can make a more mature, informed decision about then being put on female hormones.  This is one of the more controversial aspects that people sometimes focus on but I truly see it as any other, say, medical condition that a child may be dealing with.  We do our homework, weigh the options and follow our hearts.  I have read that one of the most stressful things that any transgender youth can go through is puberty in the “wrong” body.  Imagine as a women if, all of a sudden, you started growing facial hair or your voice deepened or as a man, you started growing breasts!  That is what it is like for a young transgender person who is not given the option of being put on hormones.  In my opinion this is the biggest advantage of transitioning younger, Ashlyn will never grow facial hair or have an adam’s apple, her jaw and shoulders won’t widen and her voice won’t deepen.  Her life, particularly socially is going to be so much easier living in the “right” body from the start.

I recently did a post about a Leelah Alcorn, a transgender teen who took her life and this is one of the things she actually mentioned in her suicide note.  Her parents did not support her and therefore, hormone therapy was not an option for her.  She was going through puberty knowing how much harder her life would be trying to live as a woman with her more masculine features.  I know that there are many happy transgender people out there who did transition later in life but I am sure that they will all agree that their transition and their lives would be a lot easier if they had transitioned before puberty.

Will Ashlyn have gender reassignment surgery? I’m not sure.  This is something that although she is only nine, she is aware of,  but is something that she will have to decide for herself when she is much older.  I would imagine that she is going to want to have the surgery but I also know that she is very comfortable in her body so, who knows?  When she gets older, we will do more research and discuss it with her in more detail and ultimately let her make the decision for herself once she is an adult.  We will, obviously, support her in whatever decision she makes.

What can we do to help?  There is a change happening and I feel fortunate that I get to be personally involved and help in any way that I can.  As our friends, family and supporters who want to help with the “cause” I simply ask that you continue to love and support us and one another.  As simple as it sounds, it is all about love!  I don’t like the fact that there are still people out there who hate and discriminate but I don’t think that the answer is to fight fire with fire.  I don’t think of this as a “fight” at all, I think it is a movement and it takes each one of us to keep moving forward, whether that means continuing to ask questions and gain knowledge, spreading your own message of love and acceptance or simply setting the example by choosing to live your lives and raise your children from a place of love instead of a place of fear.

I hope my Q&A has helped to shed a little light on the subject and I encourage you to keep asking questions, I am happy to answer what I can.  I think the more we can keep the dialogue going and the more light is shed on the subject the closer we can get to the kind of society and world that I want to leave for my children, one of love and acceptance for every wonderful shade of grey and pink and purple and green and blue…etc…etc.


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Leelah, Rest in Peace Sweet Girl

Today, I heard about the suicide of transgender teen Leelah Alcorn.  I am filled with sadness at this horrible tragedy but in the sadness, I have also found the inspiration and bravery I needed to speak out.

I started this blog about six weeks ago and I have been struggling ever since then with how “public” I wanted to be with sharing mine and my family’s story.  I have shared my blog with close friends and family but other than that, I have yet to share it in any sort of forum that is more public, even my own Facebook page.  I am actually not even sure why?  Well, that’s not true, I know why, I’m scared, plain and simple.  I believe that there are only two choices in life, we can come from fear or we can come from love and I know that in not sharing my blog more publicly, I am still coming from a place of fear.  Even though I am strong and secure in my love and support for my beautiful transgender daughter, sadly, I don’t think I am yet that secure in my love and support for myself.  I do worry that people will react negatively to me, that people will judge or criticize me.  And, I also worry about putting my daughter “out there” in the public.  I don’t want to expose her to the hate, fear and prejudice that I know can show up in this world.

I am afraid of being criticized but I have decided that, more than that, I am afraid of the kind of world my children and my children’s children will grow up in if we don’t get our shit together and start realizing what really matters.  So, late at night on this New Years Eve, I am in my office, writing and when I am done, I will bravely be posting this blog to my Facebook page!

I want to share my story in the hopes that I can help change society and help educate and inspire people like Leelah’s parents who were obviously coming from a terrible place of fear.  I want to be brave in the hopes of inspiring other parents to be brave and come out publicly in support of their beautiful transgender and/or gay children!  While I consider myself an activist for the entire transgender community, I feel I have a special calling to talk to the parents of transgender children.  Parents, it all starts with you!  With much power comes much responsibility and no one has more power and influence than a parent has over their child.  Do not take this responsibility lightly!  It is your duty as a parent to first do no harm and to me, this means love and accept your child for who they are, period!  Leelah said in her suicide note that her parents would tell her that she would never be a girl because god doesn’t make mistakes.  I am sure you have heard this said before, “god doesn’t make mistakes” and to that I say, EXACTLY!!!  Your child is not a mistake!

Leelah’s parents are the ones who made a horrible and tragic mistake and they are paying the highest price any parent can pay, the loss of a child.  I am SO angry and sad about how Leelah’s parents treated her, it is absolutely terrible.  But, I don’t believe that Leelah’s parents are evil, I truly believe that they are brainwashed by a society and by a religion that told them that their perfect child was somehow flawed and needed to be fixed.  I am angry at Leelah’s parents for not loving and accepting their child for who she was but I am more angry at the fucking systems that perpetuate these horrible lies!  It all comes from a place of fear!  I believe that Leelah’s parents were afraid of being rejected, afraid of being criticized, afraid of being ostracized and afraid of their child going to hell but what they didn’t realize was that in doing what they did, what they most feared, they created for their own child , SHE was rejected, SHE was criticized, SHE was ostracized and SHE was put through hell.  So much so that she felt the only way out was to take her own life.

I have often thought about the amount of pain you must be in to take your life.  I have often thought about it because I am a suicide survivor.  Both my father and my brother committed suicide.  When someone you love takes their life, not only is the pain and grief unbearable, it changes who you are.  I can never again fool myself into thinking that “it can’t or won’t happen to me”.  And, now, I have a transgender child who is statistically 4 times more likely to attempt suicide by the time she is 24 than a non gay or transgender youth.  Although, I am comforted in knowing that this rate decreases significantly for teens who come for a home where they are accepted.  Although, I have had a personal experience with suicide, the fear of suicide was never a factor in me accepting my transgender child.  You love and accept your children (and anyone for that matter) for their soul and for who they are as a human being.  No, suicide has never been a factor for me, but we are all at different places and this may be one of the gifts that Leelah and her legacy will leave us.  You may be a parent of a transgender or gay child who is scared and isn’t sure what the “right” thing to do is BUT the one thing you do know is that you don’t want to lose your child to suicide.  If this is what it takes to get you to accept your child for who they are, hey, I will take what I can get….. for now.  My goal is for all parents to love and accept their children for who they are because that is just what we should all be doing as parents (and, again, as human beings) but, if for now, your motivation needs to be that you don’t want your child to commit suicide, at least it’s a start and it will save lives and buy us some time while we continue to work to change society and eliminate the fears that are preventing us from loving and accepting each other to begin with!

I don’t wish the pain that suicide causes on anyone and I think about the anguishing thoughts that must be going through Leelah’s  parents heads, keeping them up at night,  “Did I make a mistake?”  “Should I have done things differently?” and now, sadly there is nothing they can do to save their daughter, she is gone forever.  But, I also know that there are parents of out there who are, right now, rejecting, criticizing, ostracizing and putting their children through hell who are, at times,  hearing a little voice in their head asking them, “Am I making a mistake?”  “Should I be doing things differently?” The answer is YES and YES!  But, the key here is “AM I making a mistake?”, not “DID I make a mistake?” “Should I be DOING things differently?”, not “Should I have DONE things differently?”  The difference here is present tense!  If you are asking yourself these questions in the present tense, there is still hope!  I know you are scared, but I have faith in you parents, do the right thing!  I pray that Leelah’s parents see the light and do the right thing as well.  Even though they can’t bring Leelah back, I pray that they will some day come out as supporters telling their cautionary tale and helping other parents.

The end of Leelah’s suicide note reads:

The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren’t treated the way I was, they’re treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights. Gender needs to be taught about in schools, the earlier the better. My death needs to mean something. My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year. I want someone to look at that number and say “that’s fucked up” and fix it. Fix society. Please.


(Leelah) Josh Alcorn

Leelah, I know that I am just one person and I am not sure what kind of affect I will personally have on society but I am going to try to do what I can and I am going to start today by being brave and telling my story!  I am filled with sadness for the pain you had to go through and I will continue to do what I can so that we can fix society.  I know that you said that the only way you will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren’t treated the way you were.  I know that you felt this way while you were here on earth and in pain but I know that the god I believe in has finally taken away all of your pain and granted you the peace that you so deserve!  So, rest in peace, sweet girl and we will continue to do what we can to make sure your that your death does mean something and that your legacy is one of inspiration and change!

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Blissful Moments of Validation

8fce569cca7365024896858952bf0fa0Parenting is not for the faint of heart!  As a parent it is our responsibility to prepare our children to become fully functioning and happy adults who will take to heart the lessons that we have tried so hard to instill in them, children who will take those lessons into adulthood and into their own lives and their own relationships.  Being a good parent is an arduous and thankless job!  There is no handbook to tell you how to do it, no boss or supervisor to guide you and tell you if and when you are doing it right!  As a parent, it is our responsibility to consistently be looking and evaluating our “results” so that if we are off course, we can do what we need to do to “course correct”.  It is also important to look for those moments that let us know we are on the right track and we should keep going in the direction that we are going.  Anyone, who is committed to being a good parent is going to live a large part of their life, holding their  breath, wondering if they are doing it right and often fearing that they are somehow screwing everything up, which in other words, really means….THE ULTIMATE FEAR….that we are permanently screwing up our kids and scarring them for life!  Parents, I think that it is so important for us to look for those moments that let allow us to, if for only a brief moment, finally exhale!  Those Blissful Moments of Validation that let us know that we are doing ok, everything is going to be ok and most importantly, WE are ok!

This becomes even more relevant and important if and when you have a child who is “different” in any way, a child who doesn’t fit into the “perfect child” box that society has created, whether that means you are raising a child who is transgender or maybe simply just having a child who is on the shy or anxious side.  While I am very strong and confident in my beliefs and decisions in raising a transgender child, I would be lying if I said that I was 100% confident in all of my decisions and actions 100% of the time.  I would be highly suspect of anyone who would ever claim such a thing.  I think that once we think we have it all figured out is when we shut ourselves off from growing as a parent or as a human being, for that matter.

I am fortunate that I see these moments quite often in my children.  They are genuinely happy and joyful most of the time!  But, every once in a while, there are those extra special moments that really catch you off guard, I love those moments!  There have been a few moments since Ashlyn’s transition that have really stuck with me and I wanted to share those with you.

Like the time when Ashlyn totally out of the blue and with joy in her voice said to me,  “You know, being a girl has made me feel a lot closer to God.”  Ok, what???!!!  First of all, we aren’t even a religious family.  Our family is what you would call “Spiritual but not Religious“…..I know….I know…the term is over used, often criticized but it really is very applicable.  And as a spiritual person, those beautiful, profound and innocent words from my 9 year old little girl blew me away!  When we are willing to love and accept ourselves, to truly be authentic and let the world see us for who we are, it does make us closer to god!  WOW!!!

Or, the time that she announced very matter of factly, “You know, being a girl is pretty much like being a boy.”  YES!!!!  Yes, it is!!!!  That is because we are all human beings first and being a boy or being a girl is just such a small part of who we are.  Dang, this girl gets it!

Or recently, when I found out that someone at school had made a silly and ignorant comment about being transgender.  I was concerned with how this would affected Ashlyn so, I began explaining to her about how sometimes people don’t know about things and they say silly things and how we need to just know who we are and be confident in ourselves, how we need to forgive people who may hurt us….etc…etc….insert touching, very meaningful speech here….I mean really good speech people, this was Mother of the Year award winning stuff here!  When I was done with my moving life lesson, I asked Ashlyn if she had any questions or wanted to say anything, to which she replied, “Can we have Pizza Hut for dinner.”  Seriously?!  No “Oh mother, your wise words have touched me.”  or  “Mother, what would I do without your guiding force in my life.”  NO!  Can we have Pizza Hut?  I couldn’t help but start laughing hysterically.  Ummmm, ok then I am going to take this as an indication that she is just fine and everything is A-ok!

And sometimes, I have wonderful moments of validation from other people in my life like when Tyler (my 18 year old) came home from the dentist recently and told me how the hygienist (who hadn’t seen Ashlyn since she became Ashlyn) had asked him,  “How is your brother?” to which he replied, “Great, but she is actually my sister now.” He proceeded to tell me how he talked to the hygienist about Ashlyn’s transition and how the hygienist thought that was really awesome!  Now, while Tyler is one of the most loving and accepting people I know and I have never doubted how he feels about Ashlyn being Transgender, he is still a teenager and with that typically comes the intense need to fit in and be accepted.  So, to hear him so confidently and matter of factly say “Great, but she is actually my sister now.” was such amazing validation that this kid is growing into quite the confident and capable young adult!  Good job Tyler, you rock!!!

And finally, although they are not at all any indication of my parenting, I love those moments when I am reassured by people who I don’t even know that the world is a good place and there is hope yet.  Like the hygienist who thought that Tyler’s story about his sister’s transition was awesome.  YES!  It is awesome!  Or, like when, just last week, I picked Ashlyn up from school.  She jumped in the car and I started my usual, “How was your day?”  “Did anything interesting happen?” to which she typically replies, “Fine.” or “No, nothing interesting happened.” and depending on my mood, I either leave at that or prod a little more.  But on this day, Ashlyn perked up a little bit when I asked if anything interesting happened at school, “Oh yeah, there is this kid Christopher in my class and he asked me today if I was a boy or a girl.”  “OH” I said, “And, what did you say?”  “At first I just said, I’m a girl.” Ashlyn replied. “But, then I said, Well, I am a girl but I used to be a boy.” “Ok.” I said.  “Now you know sweetie, that’s great you said that but you know that you don’t have to tell people that you used to be a boy.”  “I mean, you can tell people if you want, it’s up to you, but you don’t HAVE to.” I told her.  “I know.” she said, “I wanted to.”  “And, when I told him, he said, “Oh, that’s cool!””  “Isn’t that awesome mom, he thinks it’s cool!” she said.  “That is totally awesome!”  I said.  “Yeah” she continued “When he said that….I went, YES!” she continued to tell me as demonstrated how she turned her head slightly to the side, made a fist and thrust it inward towards her body in a gesture you would make after good news or a victory of some kind.  And this is a victory!  It IS cool when someone is willing to un-apologetically be who they are truly meant to be.  It IS cool because it is what we should all be doing and it IS cool because when one person does it, it inspires and invites others to do the same!  You got it Christopher, it IS cool, you little love-muffin!

I live for these moments and I would like to make my Blissful Moments of Validation a regular feature so, look out for more of these stories from me in the future.  AND, I encourage all of you parents out there to tune in and take the time to look for your own Blissful Moments of Validation.  Parenting is the hardest thing you will ever do and if you let it, it can sometimes lead you down a road of fear and insecurity.  You owe it to yourself and your kids to have a reserve full of Blissful Moments of Validation that you can draw from when you need to be reminded that “Everything is going to be ok.” And, my darlings, it is!


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My “Coming Out”

What we look forHey there, my name is Gina and I am the mom of an amazing 9 year old transgender daughter, Ashlyn and an 18 year old (straight and also totally amazing) son Tyler. Ashlyn transitioned about 6 months ago and while there have been a few bumps along the way, I have found the whole experience to be one of the most positive and amazing experiences of my life! I have learned so much about myself and have grown so much as a person through this journey and Ashlyn is my inspiration! She is happy, joyful, confident, authentic, loving, forgiving, funny and beautiful inside and out!  She loves herself and has nothing but love for absolutely everyone she meets! I am 46 years old and I want to be her when I grow up!

I know that many people in the trans community and their families have had negative experiences and have had to face criticism, judgement and discrimination, I know that these things are out there but for our family, this has not been our experience.  Our trans experience has been overwhelmingly positive and I believe it is because first and foremost,  we have made a conscious choice to not have these kinds of experiences.  I believe that we are all responsible for our own experiences, that it really doesn’t matter what happens to you, what matters is how you relate to it!  I also believe that our experience has been a positive one because that is what we are putting out there.  We are not looking for a fight, we are looking for love!  We believe that there are very few truly evil people in the world and that most people are just scared or ignorant or most likely, both.  We choose to treat these people with compassion instead of hate or fear.  Now, do I want to go have coffee and hang out with these people?  Ummmm…..that would be a NO! But, we are all trying to find our way in the world and there are a lot of very misguided and scared people out there.  I just choose to forgive and love (from a distance) and mostly I choose to not give their fear or hate any of my precious time or energy!

People in my life have been urging me to start a blog for years and there are a few reasons why I hadn’t up until this point #1 writing does not come easy to me and I don’t think I am very good at it AND I don’t like to do things I am not good at #2 one of the issues that I am still working through is worrying what people will think of me.  The funny thing is that I am not worried at all about being judged for the whole trans thing, not at all!  My issue is that I worry people will misunderstand me and where I am coming from!  I worry that people will think that I think I am better than them or that I just don’t get it or I am some kind of Pollyanna without a grasp of how the world really works!  The third and final reason that I haven’t started writing a blog yet is that I am just really friggen busy!  Along with having two kids (oh yeah, and a husband too) I also run my own business.  But, I think it’s time! So, when it comes to me not being a good writer, fuck it, I am just going to write what I am thinking and feeling even if it isn’t eloquent or I am sometimes all over the place (which I tend to be sometimes) or even though my writing is not always grammatically correct or it’s filled with expletives (which I love, BTW) and, as far as worrying about what people will think, well…fuck that too!  I want to get over this fear and I guess there is no better way than to just jump in.  Finally, as far as the time goes, well, I guess I could watch one less “Real Housewives of Wherever” episode once in a while!

My reasons for wanting to write a blog are finally outweighing my reasons for not wanting to.  What are those reasons?  Well, first of all, I feel that I have a lot to share and maybe a different way to look at things.  I have been through a lot in my life, a lot of things that many people would see as a very legitimate excuse to be bitter or angry or depressed but I am none of those things!  I am happy, really happy!  Of course, I have my bad days like everyone else, I have my issues (actually MANY issues) but I choose to work through those issues instead of ignoring them or using them as an excuse.  I see every challenge in my life as an opportunity to grow and learn more about myself to try and become a better, more loving person and it seems to be working pretty well so I like the idea of possibly helping someone else by giving them a new way to look at things.  I am also writing this blog in hopes of helping parents out there who may be dealing with issues of gender with their child and who may be scared.  There are so many sites and blogs and articles out there telling the horror stories about the struggles and the adversity of raising a transgender or gender non-conforming child and I worry that parents may come away from reading these blogs fearing that the world is out to get them and/or their child.

I want to let people know that you don’t have to be afraid!  You can raise a child who is transgender or gender non-conforming or is “different” in any way who is confident and happy and truly loves themselves and if you will just let them, who will completely change your world and your perception and bring you more joy and happiness than you could have ever imagined.  This awesome kid who was brought into your life for a reason could end up being your biggest teacher and your greatest inspiration if you will just let them!  I want to let those parents know that not only is it safe to let your children be who they are but there is a whole world of love and support out there.  That having a child who does not fit into a “box” can be an amazingly liberating experience and can help you to begin to look at what boxes you have placed yourself in and how being stuck in those boxes may have gotten in the way of you truly being authentic and finding true peace and happiness in your life.  Are you going to face challenges?  Sure, but isn’t that just a part of being a parent?

I am starting this blog to share with the world some of our Happy Trans Family experiences but I suspect that it may end up being a whole lot more than that!  I have watched in awe as my amazing daughter has “come out” to the world and has been celebrated and loved for who she is.  So, with this blog, with my family by my side and with Ashlyn as my inspiration, I am finally ready to show up in the world and be authentic!  I am finally ready to have my own “coming out”!  So, if you’re ready world… I come!

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