As a transgender person myself, I find that it is only appropriate that I speak on my personal experiences in that aspect of my life.
The life of a transgender person is like running a race. We can easily get sore or run our of breath, but no matter what we have to keep going or we lose. Despite that, we still need to take care of ourselves and remember that winning isn't as important as having the courage to try. People will constantly find some reason to beat us down whether it's physically or emotionally, but if we keep getting back up those will eventually move on and find something better to do. If they don't, then that's when we have to fight back. We have to tell someone and get some help; no matter what there's always someone out there for you.
In most cases a person being transgender is noticed by parents and other family members at a young age. In today's society toys, clothes, etc. are created in a very binary gendered way. Since girls are mainly taught to grow up to have babies and be mothers, the most commonly referred girl toy is often a baby doll. Boys are mainly taught to be tough and toy firetruck is often considered a boy toy. Suppose you're walking through a toy store with your children and your daughter is more drawn to a firetruck than a baby doll. That could possibly be a sign that she is transgender, but you should not assume that from this one detail. You should continue to observe her over a period of months. Does she look unhappy or uncomfortable wearing skirts? Is she often wanting to get dirty or play sports? Does she seem more interested in playing with boys rather than other girls? All of these things have to be thought about but treated delicately. If you notice these signs on your daughter, the first step is to talk to her about it. The most important thing in any aspect of parenting is making sure to be open with your children and be thinking about what they want. Listen to them.
I'll admit that it tends to be harder for young boys who might have feminine tendencies such as liking the color pink, playing with dolls, or even putting on makeup or girl's clothing. As I said before boys are taught to be tough and all of those things are considered to make you "soft". Boys being different is more frowned upon than women being different since boys are viewed as superior. Therefore it may be harder for your son to open up to you about these things, but just be patient with him and continue to observe his behavior. Once you notice these differences within your child, you should try to make accommodations the way you would for anyone else. If you know your daughter is uncomfortable with having long hair then you should take her to get it cut so she can feel more comfortable. Teaching your son how to put on makeup if he's curious shows that you support him and his interests.
The last thing you want to do to your child is tell them that their differences are wrong because that will only cause resentment to build within them, both towards you and themselves. People don't want to believe that words can hurt but they can and if you continue to say those negative things, the anger and frustration will just keep building up until it explodes. Once a child gets pushed too far they can be led to drinking, drugs, unhealthy relationships or sex, or worst of all self harm and or suicide attempts. You have to watch over your child and be careful of how you respond to the things that make them who they are. There should be open, calm conversations about what they're feeling with no judgement and when the time is right, you should seek help from a professional. Even if you think your child may be transgender, no one really knows for sure other than a professional and your child themselves. But they may not even know what it means to be transgender which is why they need to see someone.
I wasn't lucky enough to know about my gender at a young age. For the first 15 years of my life I was happy in the body I was in. At age 13, I came out as bisexual. It was during this year that I first learned about the LGBT people. Learning about all of that made me take a good look at myself and it was then that I realized that the signs of me being bisexual have been there my whole life but I just never noticed. Once I came to this conclusion, I came out immediately to my friends who were all supportive.
Over the next two years I tried to focus more on gender rather than sexuality and learned what it truly meant to be transgender and what the signs were. It took me a long time to find the right label for myself because just about every gender label I learned about didn't feel right. I felt dysphoric being referred to as my assigned gender but I also felt dysphoric as the opposite binary gender. After an eternity of confusion and crippling frustration I finally learned about what it means to be Non-Binary. Since I felt so dysphoric at the opposite ends of the gender spectrum, non-binary was the label that made the most sense to me and eventually I came out. But I got a lot of backlash from straight people and fellow LGBT community members as being "between a boy or girl" isn't something most people understand. Family members thought of me as confused and other people just called me a "freak" or a "weirdo".
I am currently still going through my transition period and it will be a long time before I am finished as there is a lot of changes I want to make to my appearance to feel more attractive and more like myself. But I realize now that no one has the right to downplay or delegitimize my gender just because my appearance is more masculine one day or more feminine one day.
Everyone has their own definition of Non-Binary or Transgender and no one has the right to take it from you. This situation is no different than slavery, black people spent centuries trying to stand up to their oppressors and live their lives peacefully. Transgender people have to do the same and make this world a better place whether the haters like it or not; otherwise who there will be more and more people like Leelah Alcorn (1997-2014). She gave her life to get her parents and all the other Trans haters to wake up and stop the torture. All she wanted was for her death to be the beginning of a better world for Trans people. But sadly it appears that life for Trans people is only getting worse and if she were here to see this she would be heartbroken.
Elliot Page recently came out as transgender and I was so excited when I heard that I literally screamed. But when I saw the backlash he was getting my heart sank. Ben Shapiro took it upon himself to make an entire video dedicated to insulting this beautiful human being who did nothing but be honest about who he was in the most gentle and inspiring way possible. I've also noticed that a lot of lesbian women have been attacking Elliot and trans men everywhere by accusing them of being women haters and trying to back that up with lies and facts that don't even make sense. I really find it funny how people who are constantly discriminated against for being different take it upon themselves to tear down other minorities just because they have nothing better to do. How dare they?
In conclusion, trans people are human beings just like everyone else. There will always be haters and abusers trying to drag us down or even wipe us all out. But we will never stop fighting. We cherish our beautiful children as they are the warriors of the future. Some day trans people will be able to live in peace. Then Leelah will not have died for nothing.
© 2020 Hayden Reese