Melissa Ballard

by Melissa Ballard

I feel parents tend to take this as a reflection of their parenting and something they caused or did to make their child “this way.’ I can firmly tell you this is not the case. Having two children raised in the same home with the same rules and rearing has shown me that it is not an effect of a cause that has formed them to be transgender or cisgender, hetero- or homosexual. Having a loving and accepting family only makes these differences into strengths and help create a loving, thriving adult.


Over Thanksgiving, we had the chance to meet a bright, smart, handsome young man. He was home on break from college and yet was not spending that time with his own family but with the family of a friend from high school. Why, you may ask? Well, this child or rather young adult had come out sometime in the past as transgender to his family and they were not accepting. For whatever reason, they have made a choice to turn away this child. It is heartbreaking really. The more I learned about this family in whole; it just tore me up. This was a family who did not have biological children, but adopted and raised this child as their own for many years; until this child declared he knew he was supposed to be a boy, not a girl. This child is smart and received college scholarships and yet is tossed out because of who he feels he is supposed to be. I cannot imagine doing this to my child. He had learned that we were accepting and had a trans child of our own and wanted to come meet our family. I was more than happy to welcome this person into our home and let him know we were here for him. I hope he felt welcomed and as though this was a safe place for him to come to if ever needed. I have not been able to get this situation (let alone others so similar) out of my head.


Don’t throw your kid away! Don’t be that person, don’t be that family! As potential parents you probably once planned on having a kid and when you became pregnant (or spouse was pregnant, if you did not adopt) said you did not care of they were a boy or girl, that you just wanted a healthy happy kid, right? Why does this change for some people if said child announces they are gay or lesbian, bisexual or transgender? I remember trying to conceive our first born, and it was not easy. We struggled to get pregnant for two years, and then it finally happened! Within the first few months, we had a full nursery room set up and decorated. We went with the colors of the rainbow – very neutral for a boy or girl, bright and primary colors were everywhere. We used to sit in that room, which also served as a guest room as well at the time, and dream about how things would be when this child was born. Looking back to 15 years ago and we really did spend a lot of time in that room! And now with a 14 year old, we are rarely allowed into his room, his cave, his den, and that is okay. Children have no choice about being born into a family or adopted into one (if this was the case at a young age) but as they grow up they can make a choice to stay a functioning part of this family.

Love your children for who they are and not what you wish them to be, and help them realize, and live their own dreams to the fullest. And as a parent, if you have turned your child away and are estranged, you still have a chance to fix that problem, if that child is still on the planet. Reach out to them, tell them you love them and mean it unconditionally not only with words but with your actions. If not a better time than now, when? If you are one of those that do not have a loving family, remember that sometimes a family is chosen and not always the ones we were given. Know there are parents around that you do not even know that love you for exactly who you are!


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