Coming out to your family can be a stressful situation. You never truly know how someone will react when you tell them you are transgender. Though you may have an idea of how you think they may respond, you really will not know until you go through it.
With Mother’s Day coming this weekend I have been thinking about my own experience with coming out to my mother. I remember being worried that she wouldn’t understand what I was telling her. I am not sure why. I mean I always knew she was open minded about everyone else. She always accepted my friends, and believe me when I tell you that my friends came from all walks of life, but this time it was different. It was me who was looking for acceptance.
“I always dreamed of having the ‘mother daughter’ relationship with my mom.”
I always dreamed of having the “mother daughter” relationship with my mom. I wanted to have that bond, the one where we always talked and did things together. Though my mother accepted me when I came out, I became a little distant because I was having a hard time dealing with the accidental mis-gendering. The “he” instead of “she”, or even worse, my old name. With Mother’s Day coming I knew this was something I wanted to change, so I called my mother and told her I wanted to interview her about the whole experience. I figured it was time to finally sort this issue out, and that hopefully by sharing the experience, maybe it will help someone else. My mother quickly said yes and here is how it all went:
When I first came out to you as transgender, what was your initial reaction?
I wasn’t really shocked. I couldn’t say that I thought you were transgender before you telling me though. To be honest I really didn’t see that coming, but you were always really sensitive. I was always able to talk to you in ways I couldn’t with the men in the family. I remember just wanting you to be happy. I wasn’t shocked, disappointed or sad about it. I was glad that you were finding your happiness.
So you really didn’t see it coming?
I really didn’t. But I knew our relationship was different. Usually boys, or sons, don’t want to discuss some of the things we were always able to discuss. I always loved that about you.
It is often said when a family member transitions, the rest of the family feels a sense of loss. They go through a period of mourning. Did that happen with you?
No. Because you were still there. The person is still there. I see it as you are becoming even better. I know that this will make you happy with yourself, and I want that for you, so it makes me happy.
“I remember being excited that I was having a daughter.”
I remember when I came out you told me the “Freckle Patch” story. Would you mind sharing it with our readers?
No, not at all. When I was pregnant with you we didn’t have ultrasound scans or anything like that. We did not know the baby’s sex until it was born. I already had a boy in your brother, but your grandmother kept telling me I was definitely having a girl. When I asked her why, she pointed out that I had a new freckle patch on my face. She told me that in our family, this freckle patch would occur when the mother was carrying a girl. I also looked so different compared to my first pregnancy. I carried you differently. I remember being excited that I was having a daughter. It didn’t turn out that way as far as we knew at the time, but I have my girl now.
So were you disappointed when the doctor told I you I was a boy?
No. You love your children no matter what they are. But looking back, the story is amazing. In the end, your grandmother was right. I had that girl that was in my mind the whole time. I did have her.
Is there anything you worry about with me being transgender?
The things I worry about most are your happiness and your acceptance from everyone. The family has been pretty great. Even your grandmother is very supportive. She is going to be 88 years old and she accepts you. She is loving. I almost feel like she probably picked up on it previously more than anyone else. You both also had such a bond.
Has this whole experience changed anything for you?
I have always tried to be open about everything in life. I have so many friends in the LGBT world, I was always a supporter and you were always exposed to it. As your mother, I will always love you. It is an unconditional love.
So let’s talk about pronouns, the he’s and she’s along with getting my name right. What is the hardest part of doing that for you?
The hardest part is that I always called you the old name and used the old pronouns for almost your entire life. It is hard to break the old habits and I find I keep correcting myself. It doesn’t mean I don’t accept you. It is just hard because I am so used to the old way, but I will get used to it.
I understand that it is going to happen, but I sometimes avoid coming around because It is hard for me to go through hearing it. Do you think that by not being around so much that I am making it harder for you to adjust to the name and pronouns?
I think so. You need to be around the whole family. They can’t get used to something if it is not around them.
What advice would you give to the other mothers out there that may one day have a child that comes out to them as transgender?
I would say to accept them. They are still your child. They are in pain and just want to live a happy life. You have to be accepting of it. You have to be loving and supportive. They are still your child. Unconditional love.
Thank you for talking with me. Happy Mother’s Day!
Thank you! I love you! Happy Mothers Day to all the moms out there!
“I need to be around for her to get used to seeing me as who I am, otherwise I leave her just with the image of who I was in her mind.”
My mother and I poured some wine and talked all night after this. I realized how lucky I actually am. For many, they are not accepted by their parents. Some even lose their families. I realized my mother and I had that “mother daughter” relationship all along. It was always there. We always had that connection. I also realized when it comes to being gendered properly, it is a two way street. I need to be around for her to get used to seeing me as who I am, otherwise I leave her just with the image of who I was in her mind.
As for the “freckle patch” story there is honestly no scientific basis for it, just a family legend or a theory. To be completely honest what means the most to me about it is that my mother thought of me as her daughter when I was in her womb. She waited for me to come. It took me almost a lifetime to get here, but we both got what we wanted in the end.
So I would like to wish my mother and all the moms out there a Happy Mother’s Day. Mom I love you, and thank you for accepting me for who I am.
Stay safe and keep fighting for all of us!
Love and peace,