Meeting Carl

The first time I met a transgender person

I was 35 years old, they were 3.

It was a hot July day and we were getting ready to head down to the beach near our house. My curly haired child came bounding into the living room donning his younger brother’s lobster swim trunks and exuberantly announced “I am Carl and you will call me a brother now.”

Carl wearing his favourite lobster swim trunks – Summer 2016

It’s just a phase

It’s just a phase. Those words entered my mind but intuitively I knew that it most definitely was not just a phase. The rest of that summer my sweet baby beamed from ear to ear every time someone called them a boy. “That’s right!” They would declare, “I am a boy.”

Finding his label

Over the next year Carl continued to make it known that he definitely was not cisgender. At this same time, one of my teens had a non binary friend, so I wondered if this identity fit Carl. We started to introduce Carl to different transgender and non binary people through media and books. Carl began using they/them pronouns and started to think about choosing a new name.

Time to name our baby again

Have you ever named your 5 year old with their input? No? You have no idea how lucky you are! Five year olds have the strangest ideas about names. First of all, he chose the name Carl, after the elderly man who greeted us and gave us stickers at our local Walmart. When our dog had a litter of puppies, Carl named his favourite one Blankie, after his favourite object at the time, his blankie. Now I’m a pretty easy going guy but I put a lot of thought into all my kids names and luckily for me, I still had a decent amount of sway with my preschooler so the name Carl was going to go. After much deliberation and trying on a couple different names, Carl and I settled onto what I think is the perfect name for him. I’m not going to share his name in order to protect his privacy and respect his decision to be stealth but will from here on out call him B.

B heads to kindergarten

When B started kindergarten, he was still using they/them pronouns and identifying as non binary, which he referred to as “being in the middle”. We were living in a town of 5000 people, a conservative town in Northern Alberta. With great trepidation I approached the staff at our local elementary school and much to my surprised delight was met with the most amazing, accepting group of people. Admittedly, not many of them had heard the term non binary and they/them pronouns could trip them up but they were going to welcome this innocent child and do everything they could to ensure that he felt safe, loved and accepted. Writing this, remembering this, brings tears to my eyes.

B settled into his authentic self

Throughout his kindergarten year, B shifted into using he/him pronouns. He has settled comfortably into being a boy and resonating with what that means for him. Some days his gender expression can be quite fluid but I personally believe the majority of the population would be more fluid in their expression if not for the expectations we as a society put on boys because of misogyny. More on that topic another day!

Where is B now

B is a happy, healthy, some times attitude filled elementary school boy. In the next few years he will reach puberty and the choice will need to be made whether or not he goes on hormone blockers in order to give him more time to decide what next step he wants to take.

Do you have a transgender child or one who is questioning their gender?

Click here to discover more about how I can support you, your child and your family on this exciting, yet sometimes understandably nerve wracking journey.

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