With all of the hustle and bustle that is life. With the constant chasing, cleaning and collapsing into bed that is parenthood. With everything that adulthood brings, we too often forget that we ourselves are someone’s child.
As I am learning with my now 20 month old, the push for independence begins early. It’s almost as if once we are cut from the womb, the rest of our lives are spent pushing against our parents to live independently. That is until the scary monsters of our dreams come out or we fall and scratch our knee. Then we go running back to the safety of their arms. To the familiarity that is the warmth of their love. And this, as I have found, is no matter what age we are.
Yes – I am a daughter. I am a child of two parents who loved me. Who did the best they could for me with the tools they had. Who I fought against so many times to be independent. And who I always ran home to when things got scary.
But in 1997, the known arms of my parents changed. They changed in a way I was not prepared for and I had never had exposure to. That year my dad revealed he was transgender. At the time, I didn’t even know what that meant. Transsexual, gay…those where the only familiar words in my vocabulary. And when it was all revealed and understood, I rebelled. I was angry. I was hurt. I didn’t understand. I thought I was being punished for something. I felt like my dad had been taken away from me.
For years I was angry. Even though I was raised in a house where I was taught to accept and respect all people as long as they caused no harm to society, I felt I couldn’t put those morals into place in this situation. This was personal, and my world was completely turned upside down. Despite years of wanting to go my own way, be independent from my parents, I found myself longing for the familiarity of the home they had built together. For the sanctuary they had created for me. For my parents as they were.
Fortunately, I met my now husband who had exposure to a trans friend, and who helped me understand more fully what it was all about. Over years of research, of gaining medical understanding, and of spending time with my father, I finally began to ACCEPT.
I write all of this because education truly is freeing. Transgender is not a choice. It is who the person is. Who they have always been. The way they were born. But because of the lack of acceptance in society for those things which we do not understand; because of interpretations that need a second glance, transgender individuals are not accepted. And it breaks my heart.
As the daughter of a transgender parent, I now want to protect and fight for my father. Just as he fought and protected me as a child. While the safe haven of my father’s arms are not the same, and while deep inside the struggle over the loss of the person I knew growing up never goes away, I am learning to accept the person that my father is today. It was not a choice, it was determined while in the womb.
Unfortunately for my father and for so many other trans individuals, the world is not a welcoming place. And that makes me desperately sad. I was raised with faith, but a faith that taught me to love and to accept and to give everyone a chance at happiness.
And that is why I fight! I fight for equality! I fight for happiness! I fight for love!
I am asking my community to take a moment and to read. To get some scientific facts before you make a judgment. I respect everyone’s rights to opinions, but until you can knowingly do so with the facts, until you walk a day in my shoes, until you understand the hurt you are causing to another human being – you are making a judgment based on the unknown.
I carry so many titles in this world that I am proud of. And daughter is just one of them. But it is where it all began for me, the first title I held. And the one I promise not to forget no matter how old I am.
I am the daughter of a transgender parent. And I am proud of the courage of the trans community!