Avoiding Regret from the Perspective of a Trans Man
Do you ever worry about regret?
My Nana is almost 101 years old. She has been in home hospice for almost two years and most of the time, she no longer recognizes her own children. Her eyes look without seeing; her mouth moves without speaking; and her mind seems to exist without thinking. Rigidly frail. Her children change her diapers.
I started wondering what it would be like to no longer communicate with your children – to never have said goodbye, or I’m sorry. What would it feel like to never have closure over past grievances and pain? What would you want to say to someone if you were on your death bed? And what would it be like if you could no longer say anything? What would you regret? What would you want to say to a loved one?
What are you not saying now?
I often think about the death bed scenario in reference to trans people and their families, specifically the parents or family members who do not support their trans child: Will you regret this one day?
Dear fellow humans who refuse to support and affirm your gender-diverse child,
One day, will you wish you had caused less suffering to your child?
Would it really matter what other people thought of you? How much would their judgements matter?
Looking back over many years of life, how much does it really matter that right now, your child wants to wear masculine clothes, or cut their hair, wear make-up or dresses?
What is holding you back from supporting and affirming your child?
Are you afraid that you may cause them harm by calling them by their correct pronouns and name, by sticking up for them, by having their back when they want to wear gender-affirming clothes?
If this is the case, you’d better be sure you are, without a doubt, right (you aren’t) and you know more than the research or professionals because you are gambling on your child’s life!
Some parents aren’t even as fortunate as you to still have their child; some trans children choose to exit this world.
What could possibly be worse than losing a child to suicide?
Is your discomfort over having a gender non-conforming child worse than the possibility of your child committing suicide?
Is the discomfort of having to open your mind to new possibilities worse than grief you would feel over the death of your child?
Be really honest with yourself: What is your tolerance for discomfort?
You will never have the chance to say you are sorry. You will never get that child back.
You will not be able to undo what you have done.
You think the mindset, anger, disapproval and fear that you feel today will stay the same for the next 50 years? It may. Or likely, it may not. Time changes us. The disapproval you feel today may not always fuel the convictions that cause you to feel justified in hurting your child today. You could look back and regret your actions. What if it is too late to fix anything?
I guarantee that no matter how strong your religious convictions, God will never give you back your lost child. God won’t show up on your doorstep one day, no matter how sorry you are, no matter how many tears you cried.
Having a trans kid doesn’t mean you failed as a parent; it means you have an opportunity in front of you to learn from them – to step up and be bold and not care what people think of you. They are an absolute gift that the world needs to see.
Be the best version of yourself today because tomorrow is not guaranteed.
Be the most compassionate, strongest, most open-minded and vulnerable person that you can be because you may never have the opportunity to fix the hurt you caused somebody else. Support, affirm, believe in the ones you love, because these are actions that you will never regret; actions that save lives.