Hi McKenna Pipher, thank you so much for reading and for your kind, heartwarming thoughts. It truly brightens my day to hear from people exactly like you. I will absolutely pass on your lovely words to my kiddo; they always LOVE to hear from slightly-older-than-them people who are travelling this journey and somewhat further along.

I think it helps them to see there’s hope for the future. I’m so thankful for these people in mine and my child’s life. I think that’s what/who keeps them going, honestly. It certainly isn’t me — my child may be on puberty blockers, but the only thing blockers pause is the physical stuff; I’ve already raised a cishet boy and a cishet girl through adolescence (one is now 19, the other 17) — to know that my youngest is definitely in the midst of roller coaster emotional swings, and the kind of exaggerated embarrassment, of me just being Mom, that only comes with something like adolescence. Fortunately, all this is offset with my child’s underlying, unconditional love, which always outshines their worst mood on their worst day.

You say you didn’t transition as early as my child — it’s funny, but I hear myself saying that to other moms of much younger children all the time. I founded & run a group at my local LGBT Center for TGNC kids ages 12 and under and their parents. We have 4 year olds who come to playgroup who are socially transitioning to enter kindergarten “stealth.” (I know that’s not a great word and many people resent it, but that’s the word preferred by some trans folks I know, so… not sure what the best option is?)

Anyway, entering school “stealth” is something my child will never know, unfortunately, because (like you) we didn’t know transitioning (of the social kind) was a thing, either. My child very bravely and with persistence and determination, socially transitioned over the course of their 5th grade year… at the same school where everyone knew them as he/him/a boy for years and years.

It wasn’t until my child was in the thick depression and anxiety of pre-pubescent gender dysphoria, around age 9, that we fully began to understand (and are still discovering things about) what it is to be a trans kid in today’s world.

Even entering 6th grade middle school, attempting “stealth” at a totally different school, a school where we thought no one from elementary school would possibly show up, was impossible. There was one girl from my child’s 5th grade class there. I think she waited all of ten minutes to inform the rest of 6th grade of my child’s trans status.

Oh well. My kiddo is brave and strong, even on their hardest, saddest, loneliest days. I mean, gender is kinda public, as much as we’d like it not to be. It’s pretty impossible to transition genders without anyone noticing. And, if anything, our child has learned it’s nothing to be ashamed of, and it doesn’t have to be some giant, looming secret that nobody can find out — that’s just too much fear to live under. Plus, we learned real quick who was a true friend, and who wasn’t. So I guess there are benefits to transitioning later (with “later” being all relative!)

Thanks so much again for reading and for your kind words of validation. It helps. More than you know. ❤ Standing in solidarity with you.

Dismantler of gender norms. Political news junkie. TikTok aficionado. Mom of 3. Work seen/heard @ HuffPost, Scary Mommy, NPR, SiriusXM, LTYM, TIFO podcast, etc.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store