As the parent of a transgender child, I alternate between mostly wanting to know and understand the transgender experience and wanting to forget about the challenges that Middle might some day encounter as a transgender woman. On transgender day of remembrance I couldn’t bear to follow any of the links about the day, not wanting to think about the hatred that could be turned on my daughter. I find that I have to find a balance between the information that is available and my own sanity. Today, I saw a link to the story of a transgender woman from a Mormon background.
Eri Hayward was born and raised in Utah County, comes from a conservative Mormon background, was raised in the LDS Church and even went to Mormon private school – but something wasn’t adding up. Eri was born a boy and it was a slow, painful journey for her to recognize she is transgender…
I decided to watch and I am glad I did. Please take fifteen minutes and watch too.
Over the past year people have asked me, “Don’t you just wish Middle could be a boy again and not have to go through this?” or “Wouldn’t it be nice if somehow you could get your son back?” As I watched the video, I identified instantly with Eri’s father as he spoke, about 13 minutes in to the video, with tears in his eyes of not wanting to lose his daughter. I feel exactly the same way about Middle. Wishing Middle back to a boy would be wishing my child out of existence. I have come to accept that I never had a son in the first place; I had a baby who really didn’t have gender other than the one we assumed due to her anatomy. I would, of course, support Middle if she ever identifies as a boy again, however, I would never wish for her to be anything other than she is. The thought of Middle changing back into a “normal” boy, devoid of all of her literal and figurative sparkle, fills me with the same deep sadness as the thought of her death.
Tonight we went over to my sister’s house for a little party. We brought a rainbow cake (six layers, each a different color) which delighted Middle to no end and resulted in me being pronounced “Best Mama Ever”. My sister’s roommate painted Middle’s nails, each one, by her request, with a different color. She drew pictures of mermaid fairy princesses and turned my sister’s coffee table into a parking garage for toy cars. Middle demonstrated her gymnastics inspired flips on the couch and led all of us in a dance party to Rihanna’s “We Found Love”, played over and over again. I had so much fun watching her and dancing with her. I love her totally and completely just the way she is.