Together they wrote this essay about learning the true identity of their youngest child, Ellie, and what they want other parents to know about raising a trans. The house was filled with laughter and friendship as our youngest flitted around in fuzzy red Lightning McQueen slippers and a flowing light blue Elsa dress and tiara.
The cake, created by a dear friend, was a beautiful ice castle.
The fact that at this very moment everything was about to change. We got hugs. We saw them make friends. We saw real confidence. But we knew, without a doubt, that we would provide a safe and loving path for our child to realise their own happiness.
As parents, we have an obligation to educate ourselves about the needs of our children and provide them with every opportunity for happiness and success in life. Perhaps it was the 21 transgender women who were murdered that year just for living their lives authentically, many of them people of colour like Ellie.
Over six years later, Ellie is thriving. They love school. Their teachers have been transformative and affirming, and they have a core group of friends.
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They are proud of living an authentic life. We wrote this book for kids like Calvin and Ellie, parents like us, and maybe just as importantly, the people around them: the grown-ups and kids learning to support the gender-expansive kids in their classes, on their teams and in their neighborhoods. Early on, we met with a wise therapist who noted that people are who they say they are until they tell you otherwise.
This is true even for our youngest children. Read articles. Watch documentaries. Connect with organisations like The Human Rights Campaign, which provides resources around trans youth.
The more you know, the easier it will be to affirm your. You are not alone — and neither is your child! Tens of thousands of families supporting their children are here for you. online groups or find a local chapter of an organisation.
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Not sure where to start? Reach out to us — we will use our network to get you connected. Find books where your child can see themselves in the characters. Our book is one such story, but there are many, many others. Explore book lists and find stories that your child will enjoy.
Think about your own pronouns and name. How would it feel if people consistently got them wrong? If you are having a hard time switching pronouns — practice, practice, practice.
If you make a mistake, correct yourself and move forward. It is not the job of our trans children to make us feel better about our mistakes.
Our child came out as transgender aged four. this is what we’ve learned
It is our job to stop making them. Be prepared to ensure your child is respected and safe wherever they go. Schools are a critical piece of the support puzzle. Meet with the school leaders and teachers. Request training to ensure your child knows who they can turn to and what to do in the event they are confronted with bigotry.
Educator support boosts belonging
Access to gender affirming health care is a hurdle many trans people face. You have who knows who they are in a way many of us struggle to articulate.
You have a brave, strong. You have who is changing the world just by being themselves. This is something to celebrate! Lifestyle Chevron Right Icon Parenting.
Our child came out as transgender aged four. Credit: Ford family via NBC.