So now, my transgender child has been living like a girl in every capacity for five years. Long hair, pierced ears, all girl clothes…day and night, purse and accessories to a tee. After relocating from my divorce, and remarrying, we were living in a different part of town. No one knew that I originally had two girls, two boys…they only know about my three girls, and now two sons plus my stepson. Once I had the experience to share our journey in a book called, “Girl Nutz”, I had some wonderful opportunities to discuss having a transgender child. But sitting my daughter down to discuss these opportunities and how she felt about them, she simply said, “I just want to live like a girl”. Not a transgender girl, just a girl. It was all she needed to say. It was a done deal, we lived like a girl. My book could be put on hold and promoted under a less identifiable promotion process. Needless to say, it was what my daughter wanted, just to be a “normal” girl. This is not something I took lightly. My daughter has always been proud of who she is, transgender or not, she is confident and secure and so healthy but she wanted to be recognized for being a girl, 100% only girl. So we did.
When it was time to now focus on getting my transgender daughter hormone blockers, there were hoops to be jumping through. And as her mom, I would jump through an infinity amount of them. I did my research, I joined discussion groups, I asked around on everything I needed to know about the hormone blockers for transgender youths. The first requirement was to see a therapist. I, as an adult, understand the reason behind the therapist approval is to check in with the youth and confirm that they are not “confused” or misunderstood. I, as a parent, hated that my child now has to be labeled with gender identity disorder. Disorder? Is it? Hardly…but as a parent, if I had to jump through the therapist hoop, I would. Luckily for me, I found the one therapist who specialized in transgender youths and she was fantastic. So I explained to my daughter that this was a formality, a means to an end, not something that was to define her, not a disorder to label, but just another hoop to jump through, a very necessary hoop in the transgender world. So we made an appointment to see the therapist.
After years of my youngest living as a girl, while being born a boy, the term transgender began to surface. I never questioned what was happening, I simply supported it. She was a full fledged girl in every way…even girlier than my biologically born girls. Transgender was surfacing, people were talking, researchers were studying. This was my child, to a tee. Now we had a name, she was transgender. Once I divorced and moved with my new husband across town, no one even knew that my daughter was originally my son. We weren’t hiding anything, she simply was a girl. She did dance class, gymnastics, theater, etc. She didn’t live as a transgender child, she lived as a girl.
When my kids were little, living in the country, I had dogs in the house too. In order to distinguish if I was fussing at the dogs versus the children, I would add a ma’am or sir at the end of NO. When it was the dogs in trouble, a simple “NO” was called out but when I was fussing at one of the kids, they would hear, “No ma’am or no sir”. This way it was a clear understanding of who (dog or child) was being fussed at and in trouble.
Well, as silly as it sounds, this was one of the hardest transitions for me during our transgender transition. Once my son began using female pronouns, she and her, we all as a family made the switch pretty immediate. It was somewhat easy to remember to say “she” or “her” when you are calming talking or referring to your transgender child. But when there was an argument or bickering going on, either among siblings or a disciplinary squabble, it was much harder to remember to switch to the feminine pronouns. With adrenaline running while fussing, the “no sir”, out of habit, came out almost every time, instead of the requested, “no ma’am”.
This was one of the harder changes for me as a parent during the transgender transition, not for lack of support or desire, simply the routine of habit. For two years, it had been, “no sir” and now for my son, it was “no ma’am”. While my little one never let a pronoun go uncorrected, it was the one area I struggled with just due to habit. Often times it came out…”no sir, I mean no ma’am…no sir…ugh!” But with some patients from my two-year old, we got it to become our new habit very quickly.
My little one spoke very confidently about being a girl. He didn’t doubt his feelings or question his decision at the tender age of two. While we were experiencing this transition, my two year old became the epitome of femininity. He chose anything and everything that represented girl. Everything chosen, from silverware to accessories were the most feminine you could get, the pinkest of the pink, the girlest of the girls, the epitome of femininity. I believe this was done so that there was no confusion whatsoever as to what gender he was identifying with now. And to this day, my little one is the most feminine of all my girls. With six kids total, my girly girl is the girlest of the group, beginning even at the tender age of two….with a crew cut.
My 2 year old son had now officially switched to girl underwear underneath all his clothes. At this point, we still wore boy clothes out in public but wore girl clothes at home. Not because of any resistance but rather more because of habit. He still sported a crew cut and was built like a linebacker…my little precious little boy. If I had a dollar for every person that told me he would play football…while on the inside, I am thinking, “more like he’ll be the cheerleader!”. It was my own personal laughter and joy that knew my son would be happier to cheer than play football…and to this day, she is a beautiful 13 year old ballet dancer…best of the best, honestly!
So from the beginning of our experience of transiting with our transgender youth, I documented everything. I later turned this into a book, “Girl Nutz, the epitome of femininity” by Anne Smith. Not for money sake, not for promotion sake, not for publicity sake but rather to help any family that may be experiencing the same journey that we were at the time. We didn’t struggle with the transition as many families do but we definitely had our share of confusion and doubts along the way. Our story began with my son, only being 2 year old, deciding he wanted to be a girl. This book outlines our journey, decisions, and experiences. It has helped some parents along the way and I home it continues to do the same in years to come.
After months of girl clothes at home, just not in public yet, I was riding the wave. The wave of transgender…unknown and a little unsure, we continued to allow and support the girl attire at home. I had a 16 year old boy babysitter at the time who was there experiencing the entire wave with me. Although my little one wore girl clothes throughout the day, we (meaning my babysitter and I) were committed to supporting this stage…if it was indeed a stage. Then one day…I had my babysitter, Vincent, come over for me to break the news that my little boy was now wearing girl underwear underneath the girl clothes. For some reason, this was much more final for us. This meant business. We knew for sure, this was no longer a stage, and experimental process but an actual a way of life. See, previously my 2 year old son would wear girl clothes in the day (only at the house) and favor all things girl but underneath he still wore boy underwear. Until the final day, when he switched to girl underwear. I knew in this moment that there was no turning back. We had a transgender youth on our hands. So I embraced, prepared, researched and loved my little one to the core!
So my little one, my youngest, my son ran over to a Sleeping Beauty dress at Disney World and said, “I have to have this!”. Do we spend the $65 on a disney princess dress for my 2 year old son? Knowing in my heart that this isn’t just a phase but also recognizing that this new stage could waiver across genders, back and forth, do we encourage, commit, accept. Yes! I bought the dress! He wore the dress every second in the hotel room, from the moment we got back to the room, slept in it and kept it on until we were literally walking out the door to go back to the parks for the day. He was glowing! He was in heaven in the dress!
My youngest boy was favoring all things girl…the epitome of femininity. He wanted anything pink, anything girly, anything feminine. The doctors said it was a phase, it would pass, it was temporary and regular but I knew different. I saw my little one put on a girly dress up accessory and spin….feeling beautiful…while no one was looking. When a child finds such joy in something that is solely done when they are alone for their own enjoyment, that shows me it’s not a phase, not a stage, not temporary. This was who my child was…was becoming, no it’s who she was on the inside. I have a transgender youth and it all began at age two. I couldn’t be more comfortable with it, more loving about it, more supportive of it. She is my most girly girly of the bunch.