“‘Dad can I have three dollars?’
‘Sure, but what do you need it for?’
‘My friend needs a chest binder and his parents aren’t supportive. I’ve been asking everyone for a few dollars so we can get one.’
This is how things have changed over the last few months, since my son came out to me as Trans at 11 years old.
Now he’s proud of who he is, supportive of his friends, and willing talk with me about it. But things haven’t been all that easy since then.
We have some pretty tough talks now. Like when we discuss sexual activity.
‘We have something super awkward to talk about.’
‘Okay, what is it?’
‘I know that you’re in middle school now. Sometimes sex is a thing with kids that age. But I’m worried about it and want you to wait. Because I don’t want you to experience sex for the first time as the wrong gender and have it hurt you.’
‘I know. I don’t think I would enjoy it with the body I have anyway. So I want to wait until I’m older.’
On the one hand I am very proud of the strength my son has shown on being who is. But our life lately has been much more complex and a lot busier. Between correcting friends and family on his gender, doctor appointments, and counselor appointments, our life has been pretty hectic. He’s dealing with a lot inside of his head and heart on daily basis. Much more so than I ever did as a 12-year-old child.
There are days that I’m so tired and weak I can’t help but cry. I carry a lot of weight for my kid, in support of who he is now. But then he tells me about his friends, who are either gay or trans, and whose parents aren’t supportive. This reminds me of how much harder things could be on him without my love and support.
I remember when I was growing up. I’ve struggled with my weight, high sensitivity, and anxiety my whole life. My parents were great in a lot of ways, I love them, but they didn’t really know what I was struggling with. They were there for me in the big ways, but not in the little small ways each day.
We have our awkward conversations now. Like while we were in the car and he told me that he has a boyfriend.
‘So I have a boyfriend and we spend a lot time together.’
‘Do you like him? Does he make you happy? He’s nice?’
My son tells me about his boyfriend, whose parents aren’t supportive, like it’s no big deal to let me know and is happy to tell me what’s going in his life. It makes me realize there are communities of children, and adults, with no love and support who are afraid to just be who they are. My son doesn’t have to be afraid of that and knows I’m there for him. This is the best feeling in the world.
Life is hard. We can feel weak, alone, sad, and fearful in so many ways. I know that I do. Those of us that are parents have one of the most important jobs in the world. To love the kids we are given. To support them, teach them to be happy and take pride in who they are, and raise them to be kind, loving and supportive of others.
Those days of tears and loneliness still happen, I am human. However I also take great joy in being a father and knowing my son will experience many less of those days – even though he is a member of our society’s must vulnerable people – because of me and the others who both love and support him. That makes it all worthwhile.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Elisha Zaugg. You can follow his journey on his blog. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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