Trans Forming Families - Excerpts

Tell Grandma I'm a Boy
by Florence Dillon

Steve just turned eleven. His life revolves around rocketry, soccer, and improvising stand-up comedy routines in the kitchen. Still enjoying the comfortable androgyny of childhood, he's in denial about puberty being just around the corner.
As his parents, we're concerned about the changes puberty will bring, because we know how distressing it will be for him to begin to develop breasts in middle school. And we're sure that, unless something is done to postpone or stop it, he will develop breasts and begin to menstruate, because this child, who feels and behaves in every way like an ordinary boy, has a normal female body...
Sarah tested my resolve to set her free in a way I had never imagined. On her third birthday, she tore the wrapping paper from one of her grandmother's gifts and discovered a pink velvet dress trimmed in ribbons and white lace. I knew she wouldn't want to wear it. She hadn't voluntarily put on anything but pants since turning two, and this dress was totally impractical for playing the way Sarah played. Nevertheless, I was surprised by her reaction. She looked up, not unhappy, but puzzled and confused, and asked, "Why is Grandma giving me a dress? Doesn't she know I'm not the kind of girl who wears dresses?" Then, with an air of great satisfaction at finding the solution to her problem, she added, "Just tell Grandma I'm a boy." Initially, I assumed Sarah's announcement was simply an attempt to communicate a clothing preference in language she thought grownups would understand...

Mom, Dad, We Need to Talk
by Anne Samson

Ever since I can remember I've felt something was wrong, but it wasn't until about a year ago that I figured out what it was. Our first-born son, Paul, home from his freshman year in college, began for us the painful and rewarding journey of being trans-parents and this is how we reacted. Our responses to our child were probably predictable, and probably less than praiseworthy. Are you sure (this is not just your overactive imagination)? ... .... So many almost unnoticed incidents that we dismissed because they didn't make sense at the time began to fall into place... .... No one tells you that when a child turns out to be totally other than you assumed, it is very much like a death.... So many feelings accompany a parent's initial adjustment. There is the fear, What will this mean for my child and her future? There is anger and sadness that you didn't know and didn't guess. There is grief at the loss of dreams; the future becomes a blank ...The hardest task was telling family, immediate and extended. Endless questions bubbled up. ... I can now report that it is possible for both children and parents to survive that difficult first few years of trans adjustment. As parents, we may have lost a son, but we have gained a daughter who seems much happier and more spontaneous than she ever was before.

More Than "Standing By My Trans"
by Trish Nemore

...Pat and I have been married for three and a half years, and he is "out" to the whole world. I had known Pat as a possible partner for fourteen days when he told me of his transgenderism. I was dumbstruck. I recovered words a few days later sitting on the beach at Nags Head, North Carolina. Quickly arranging with friends to watch my 11-year old son, I raced to the motel room and wrote Pat to say that if I am going to deal with this, I have to see you dressed. That did not actually happen for several months. It was nearly five years ago. The road from there to here has been pretty interesting... If I were going to love him, I wanted to love all of him, not ask him to take a piece of his soul and put it on a shelf in the closet until I was not around. I needed solid factual experience in learning about and accepting transgender. I read a few books and articles, but mostly I did other things. I decided to shop for Pat. I felt quite awkward at first, looking for feminine things for my 6'5" husband. I also felt weird...

Love You, Daddy, No Matter What
by Emma Rowe

... Dear Dad: I have thought a great deal about it all and I want to tell you, in this letter, what I find hard to say to your face. I am trying hard to understand what you are going through. I suppose I could never understand completely, but I know for a fact what you must do, what you need to do. It will be very hard for me, but I think I may be able to come to terms with this (I am speaking on behalf of myself. Mum and I haven't talked properly as of yet.) I am going to find it very hard to face you; it will be very difficult with you not being my dad. I love mum dearly, but I suppose you could say I'm a daddy's girl.
I have decided you should carry on with the treatment, because I know how important this is to you, and I want what is best for you. I will be able to get through this, with your love and support and with the help of family, friends and counsellors, but if you stopped treatment altogether -- will you get through? You may be able to get help, but the feeling is always going to be there, do you want to go on living a lie? I believe you and I both know the answer. I would also have to carry the guilt of not letting you have what you want, what you need. And as you said before, once a transsexual always a transsexual. All I want is for you to be happy, and seeing you happy , will make me happy. Please, will you get me professional help to get me through this? Love you always, Emma (N.B. Emma is the 15 year old daughter of an mtf, in an English family.)