My child was 3 years old when they confidently expressed to us who they truly were and the fact that this did not line up with who we were expecting them to be.
I was a seasoned parent, guiding my first set of children through their teen years into adulthood and my youngest three out of diapers and into preschool. I was confident in my role and felt that I knew all of my children inside and out until the day I met my transgender three year old.
Most people who know me know that I am transgender but what they don’t know is that I learned to love and accept myself because I first loved my transgender child. My child came out a few years before I did and I never for one moment doubted, questioned or considered not whole heartedly accepting them for who they knew they were. I wasn’t nearly as affirming with myself when I began my gender journey. I don’t think that I ever doubted myself but I certainly questioned myself and every thought and decision I had regarding transitioning. I expect everyone to love and affirm my child but I don’t ask the same for myself. I advocate for my kid in a way that I struggle to do so for myself.
Advocating for myself has never come naturally for me but I’m learning to do just that. I want to empower my child to push for what they want. In a world where trans people are encouraged to be patient when they’re misgendered, to take crumbs of tolerance from anyone whom they want in their lives, I want my child to expect more. I expect more for my child, for all my children. I do not tolerate transphobia when it affects my child, whether blatant or subtle. I do not sit back while my kid is being misgendered. This wanting for my child has created in me a desire for every transgender person to expect more which in turn has finally fuelled a realization in myself that I too deserve so much more.
I don’t love or accept my child in spite of their being trans or even because they are trans. I just simply love and accept them. I celebrate the uniqueness of each of my children. I am inspired by my children and their knowledge of who they are and their ability to show up in the world as their unbridled, individual, unapologetic selves. I strive to be more like them and push myself to show up authentically which requires me to love and accept myself and I am learning to expect the same acceptance from those around me.
I don’t love or accept my child in spite of their being trans or even because they are trans. I just simply love and accept them.
Learning to love and accept myself is an ongoing process oftentimes two steps forward one step back but I continue to have grace with myself trusting that I deserve the same love and acceptance that I expect my trans kid to reap.
Do you struggle with self acceptance? Do you lack boundaries in regards to how others treat you? I want to embolden you to accept and love yourself and expect no less from others in the same way that parenting my transgender child has empowered me to seek this for myself.