Although we were not Southern Baptist, our kids did attend a homeschool program that was put together by a Baptist church for many years. Once my child told me they were lesbian, I had a hard time with my inner struggle of allowing them to be the person they were and express this new found information the way they wanted to; loud and proud, to everyone at the program.
“THE TURMOIL INSIDE WAS GROWING AND IT WAS ABOUT MORE THAN SEXUAL ORIENTATION.”
As a family we were ok with our child being lesbian, but knowing the general church’s stance we had to become secretive on some levels. We had to live two lives. It was stressful for me as an adult and I cannot imagine how stressful it was for my kid. Later when we ended up with self-harm and suicide in our face we began to understand. Although my kid was outwardly presenting happiness, the turmoil inside was growing and it was about more than sexual orientation. After the first hospital stay we experienced and our daughter came out as a trans boy, we had to live in ‘stealth mode’ even more. This was not just about the church and acceptance, but about when our child felt the time was right for them as well. We prepped him for the possibility of losing friends and potential reactions but we could only do so much to ease the actual blow.
When you live in a Christian bubble for so long, and you already have a sense of how “they” will react to the truth about yourself; it is very intense and can be deeply depressing. We let our child lead on most issues once the exuberance of being LGBT (and new and different) had calmed down. The outward physical appearance had begun to change about a year prior. The clothes were different and new medications were on board. After a discussion with the choir teacher regarding the choir uniform being a dress, and him not wanting to wear this, she allowed dress slacks and this was great! The next big thing was the new boy haircut and we figured people were starting to catch on at school. When he was ready we went to the beloved choir teacher from the program and let her in on what had been going on the past few months. We thought that she had a sense of these changes and would be more of an advocate for him, but we were wrong. This teacher basically pulled out every standard anti-LGBT Christian moniker regarding how she felt this was not meant to be and going against God. It was devastating to him. He loved her dearly and her kids were some of his best friends for the past 6 years. He immediately said he would not step foot back in the school. He felt she was a reflection of how the rest of the teachers and coordinator would react, and he was not far off point, sadly. It was crushing for us all. We had a different view of Christianity – that God did not make mistakes, and he loved all of his children. He loved our children – including our trans son!
“MY SON FELT HE NEEDED TO BE OPEN AND VISIBLE SO OTHERS WOULD NOT HAVE A HARD TIME LIKE HE DID.”
This was the beginning of our realization of how much education was needed regarding transgender people and the injustices they face. My son felt he needed to be open and visible so others would not have a hard time like he did. I feel I had to support and protect not only my son, but those kids and people who have been rejected by their own families and churches. We needed to speak out our truth and not hide or be fearful. Visibility is the only way to gain acceptance and normalize the transgender person to the masses. My family is no different than any other, except now we have to fight for basic rights that no one should be without.