“I don’t want my child to be transgender because I don’t want them to have a difficult life.” This is one of the most frequent things I hear parents say once they realize their child is transgender.
Parents grieve “the good life” for their child, assuming that trans people all live hard, sad lives of abuse and discrimination, devoid of any normalcy or happiness. While no doubt this is unfortunately true for many, there are plenty of thriving trans people living successful lives, with fulfilling jobs, healthy relationships, and even families of their own. Nonetheless, it is in the general consciousness being trans equals a doomed life and in fact, many children will live up to this belief that they absorb from unknowing parents. Nobody knows how their transgender children would have grown up had they not been transgender so grieve that idealistic life you envisioned for them then release it with a kiss into the atmosphere where it can recycle into something even better.
While we all need to advocate against transphobia, discrimination, and violence, we also need to let go of the assumption that being transgender is synonymous with an inevitable “bad life”. Nobody is destined to have a bad life.
Let’s flip the switch and change the language.
What if your child could live a meaningful, fulfilling life as a transgender human being? What if you, as the parent could be their foundation, their rock, their unwavering support that strengthens them enough to rise above challenge or circumstance?
Happiness resides in the mind. Don’t take away their power of personal choice. Empower your child with belief that they will live a happy life if they choose. Teach them that they are not a victim of circumstance. Teach them that their differences are superpowers. The rest of the world just hasn’t caught up to them yet!
Show them that they have the power to teach others how they want to be treated. Let them believe that they can be the change they want to see in the world.
Think back on something you are most proud of – was it easy? Probably not. Many of our most powerful moments and greatest accomplishments were born out of towering obstacles or deepest sorrows. Naturally, parents want to spare their children from discomfort of any kind. What if that were actually possible? How would they learn to be strong? How could they be constantly pushed to expand their own potential?
Everyday difficulties can bring empowerment and strength; living as transgender can bring empowerment and strength in monumental proportion.
I know many transgender people who have come out, transitioned, overcome obstacles and went on to become successful leaders, speakers, advocates for minority communities, while enjoying marriages and happy relationships. Transgender kids can grow up to be doctors, husbands, wives, and ministers all while moving through life in their most authentic form.
Consciously and intentionally envision the life you want for your transgender child, not the life you are scared of. Imagine your transgender child, happy.
As a newborn baby, you swaddled them. Never stop taking them into your arms. Your child just wants you to see them as genuinely as they see themselves. Celebrating your child’s authenticity is the most precious gift!