Jennifer Simmons

by Jennifer Simmons

In the back seat was a pile of my clothes, a space heater, half a box of groceries, and my sleeping 11 month old daughter. She was bundled up in a car seat with a blanket tucked in around her to keep the cold December night out. I focused on the road through the tears. Another failed relationship and another night with me dragging my stuff around in the back of a truck. The only problem is that this time I am not alone in this failure. My daughter Ailani has to suffer along with me. I drive in silence, reflecting on a life wasted by trying to fit into a role in which I don’t belong. A pattern starts to form of relationships and friendships lost over the years. Thoughts of my friend from high school that passed away cause me to have an epiphany. So many years I fought to fit into the idea of what I was supposed to be and it was all for nothing. I was truly unhappy with everything about my life and that needed to be remedied.


“What kind of parent do I want to be?” was the most important question I asked myself. Would I be closeted and miserable? Would I be distant or loving? Would my daughter run to me when she was scared or would she fear me? The short sweet answer was that I wanted to be a role model, to be the example of patience and understanding. I wanted her to come to me for guidance. “Living by example” would be my new mantra in life. First I would do this by making myself happy by living as my true self. No more hiding what I am. I needed to be authentic in order to give the best example of integrity I could for my daughter. Second I needed to ask for help. The emotional trauma I carried for so many years was too much for me to handle alone. I would find a therapist and I would stick with it until I was comfortable with myself. I had to learn to love myself if I was going to teach love to my child. Next I would stabilize my life. My job was not conducive to a stable household. I needed a set schedule and dependable income. I needed to get organized and put down some roots. Children need structure and stability so they know they have something to rely on.


Over time this path of thinking would allow me to live by example in many other ways. I became an advocate for transgender rights and write openly about my life experiences. I am willing to answer anyone’s questions as long as they are respectful and well intentioned. I live life honestly and openly now. Even though I lost a lot of people in the beginning now I have built strong relationships with people over time. Every transgender person I believe has a trigger point in life. The moment when you decide that enough is enough and you allow yourself the joy of living authentically to who you truly are. Some people will be cruel and some will be amazing along your journey but every one of them should walk away from you knowing that you live by example.


TU Articles