Most parents feel the same and will do their damnedest to protect their kids from harm, physical or otherwise. Bears have a fierce protection of their cubs, and you do not cross their path or you will be in jeopardy of losing your life. When a parent steps up in the world for their child and protects them, and speaks out against those that may harm their children, they are often called momma (mama) and/or poppa (papa) bears. I have been referred to as a momma bear on more than one occasion and I have no issues with owning that title. I do not care if you are a member of the government, school administration, next-door neighbor, family member or lifelong friend, if you hurt or harm my child or make innuendo even hinting as such you have made an enemy of me. I have worked hard to help build a local community of parents going through the same situations in raising a transgender child, and a place where our kids can be supported and loved by many. I feel like many of these kids are my own and fight for them all every day.
“WHILE WE ARE PARENTS OF TRANSGENDER KIDS, TO MOST OF THE PARENTS, THE LGBT COMMUNITY AND VERNACULAR IN A WHOLE ARE NEW TERRITORY.”
When parents ask what they can do to support the transgender community or trans people outside of their own kid, I tell them to get involved with another group outside of ours; to immerse yourself in the “culture” is the best way to learn. While we are parents of transgender kids, to most of the parents, the LGBT community and vernacular in a whole are new territory. Much like when we became parents for the first time and sought out books like “What to Expect When Expecting” we are all starting at ground zero and learning new ways to parent in what seems like a whole new world. We seek out support from those that have been through something similar and wish to find that support without being judged or lambasted for mistakes we may make along the way. A journey begins with one step, and no two journeys are the same.
‘Radical patience’ is a term I heard on Gender Revolution with Katie Couric and it came from a youth that considered themself non-binary. It often blows me away to be able to see such wisdom from a person so young, but this just resonated so deeply with me. As parents we are walking a path we have never been down with raising kids and learning new things daily. As parents of transgender youths we are on a path so different from many others and we are pioneering a new generation by expressing acceptance and unconditional love. Many of the transgender adults I know praise the efforts we are putting in for our children and praise us for what we think is just loving our kids no matter what. My response to them it is always a sincere “thank you,” but feel it is just what we do because they are still just our kid.
“DO NOT TEAR DOWN A PARENT THAT IS DOING EVERYTHING IN THEIR POWER TO HELP THEIR TRANSGENDER CHILD.”
Tensions can run high in mixed groups that already feel overrun with emotions and defense modes can be set to high. Building walls, between those that share mutual aspirations and benefits of community, and results of shared actions, only harms those that are meant to be protected. Our paths may not be the same and our choices may be made differently, but a community divided with harmful intent will never reap the fruit of the work done by those fueled with love, passion, and a fierce strength to do what needs to be done. The transgender community seeks acceptance to just live their life wholly and wants understanding. Parents of transgender kids want the same, within the community and world, and this means from the community as well. Do not tear down a parent that is doing everything in their power to help their transgender child. We have a voice and some of us use it for the benefit of all. Much like being a parent of a newborn and feeling like you know nothing, this is often how a parent feels when a child comes out as transgender, overwhelmed, and seeking knowledge. Personally I adore most of the transgender adults I have become friends with and appreciate their experiences and knowledge. Our kids need these people in their lives as well and this is why getting involved in the community is so important in my opinion. There is much learning still to be done and taught, and many more roads to pave, but a great quote I remember daily is that we are “Stronger Together”.