Giving Birth to a Unicorn: When Your Child Comes Out as Transgender

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Because my child is still the remarkably kind, patient human that they've always been, they were patient, and understanding. Godallmighty, were they understanding. When I said it feels wrong to say he, it upsets me that you're looking for a new name, I'm trying to get my head around this but it's harder than I would have ever believed, they were kind. I said, it's like you can see colors that I can't and because you can see them, I'm supposed to see them, too, but I just can't. I told them that I find it incomprehensible that they not only identify as a male, but a gay male. They tried to explain the difference between gender and sexuality, and they were kind about my ignorance. They then said, don't worry about pronouns. Other trans people get upset about them, but it's okay, this is new. You're okay, they said. I said, when I think of you, I think of a girl, to stop that thinking makes me feel like you're leaving me, that the girl is dead and gone. I'm here, they said. I'm here.

Do you see? She's taking care of me, when I should be taking care of her. I'm cold comfort, because all I can say is, I love you, but I'm struggling with this. My child keeps saying it's okay, mom, it's okay. No one in the entire universe ever had such a child full of light and love and endless, endless kindness.

I'm trying to be better than this. I'm trying to be as good as they are (I want to say, as good as she is, it sounds so right to me; I cannot, cannot say, as good as he is... maybe someday, but not now, not today). I owe this child, at the very least, equal patience, equal kindness. Saying "I love you" over and over is well and good, but when it's constantly followed by "but I'm having a hard time with this," yeah, not so lovely.

In a storm, you shelter under something solid, you hold on to permanent things. So I'm holding fast to what I do know, what I understand in my heart, my bones, my very skin: I love this person more than life. They've been a gift from day one, a treasure, an unexpected blessing beyond compare. There is nothing wrong with them, nothing lacking in them, the only lack is in me. I had a sea-change once before, I've got to believe I can do it again. I damn well will do it again. I'm going to get there, because the alternative is hurting my child, and I promised I wouldn't do that, twenty one years ago.


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