Melissa Ballard

by Melissa Ballard

As they say hindsight is 20/20, right? Once the kid had come out as lesbian, I knew a support group of kids would be a great place for them to get involved. I mean I knew we were not going to find much support at the Baptist homeschool group we were a part of, and how correct that thought was! I found a small local LGBT youth group and started taking them to the meetings. After a couple meetings, the kid said, “I want to go by another name”…and I lost it. Mind you, the kid was a lesbian at the time, and had not told us they were trans yet. I was baffled, and a bit angry and I knew it would hurt my husband, as he is the one who picked the birth name for this child. I did not then understand that this was probably our first glimpse into what was to come shortly down the road. Of course we were not on board with calling them a different name, it was silly to us. We named you your birth name and you will go by this name, period. The end.


Unbeknownst to us, the people involved in the youth LGBT group were using this new name, Kasey. They were accidentally outed when the adult who ran the meetings used Kasey in front of me not realizing this was not an agreed upon idea. Sometime around this point in time I remember driving down the road in the car and the kid tells me “I think I am transgender” and I blurted out “You do not even know what the f*ck transgender means!” I know, a fabulous ‘Christian parent of the year’ award for that one! Anyway, it was an honest reaction, as we had never spoken this word in our house. Why would we have? The kid just learned what gay meant a few months before. Needless to say, they were well versed on the terminology and it was Mom who was not. Smart phones have made the world an easy place to navigate under the radar for these kids trying to find their way without anyone knowing. Looking back, this reaction probably made them spiral into further depression and self-harm and I now wish I had handled it better.

Flash forward to December 2014 and the first name chosen was put to full use. When you have a kid who finally verbalizes they are trans and so unhappy, you do what you have to do make things better for them. We used the new name, introduced him to the family at Christmas and we began the adjustment of new pronouns and that new name. I never really cared for it. He was keeping a K name because he felt he needed to since the birth name had been a K name, and both his dad and sister were also K names. Eventually, he figured out Kasey was not the name for him and he and dad sat down to figure out a new name. After many were tried on, Ashur was settled upon. He has since been our Ashur or Ash, every day. This name just fit for some reason. I think for myself it was easier to use because it was so different from the birth name.


Although we did not rush into legally changing Ashur’s name, he has gone by only that name since 2014 and we finally decided it was time to make it legal. After living as a male and with the new name for 2 plus years, we went to court on April 6th, 2017, and Ashur now has a legal name change AND gender marker change deemed by the courts. He’s a boy! While we have known this for a while now, his identification documents will all line up soon, well, as soon as mom gets the court records to the appropriate entities to have the official changes made!

Through all the changes we went through once Ashur came out as trans, one of the most difficult realities was losing that network and friends we had built in the church community we had been a part of for so long. Ashur struggled with his faith in God along the way because of the things Christians he had looked up to did to him and said about him. It was hard to watch and deal with. I felt his spirit get crushed and watched as he turned completely away from his faith. I hope that one day he will come back to what we truly know, that God loves him, and he is fearfully and wonderfully made! When we learned the meaning of his new name it just seemed meant to be; Ashur means Happy, or Blessed. Indeed, we felt blessed to have this child still be with us, considering the struggle he faced in order to become his true self.


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