Hello world, meet Luca. He’s our seven-year-old son. He loves ice cream and pickles. He loves swimming and soccer. He has short, light-brown hair and blue eyes. He is afraid of the dark and he hates being alone. He excels in school and makes friends easily. He has autism. Oh, he also happens to be transgender.
For over three years, we described him as having Gender Dysphoria, a trait in which one feels their anatomy does not reflect their true gender. Gender dysphoria oftentimes is so intense that it interferes with daily life. Gender Dysphoria is not a mental illness. The intensity heightened during his first grade year and it became progressively harder to deny that he was, in fact, a boy.
It started before three. He was late to speak, presumably due to his autism. And once his speech came, he never referred to himself as a girl. Several times I had age-appropriate anatomy conversations with him. It didn’t matter. It was never a question. It was never, “Can I be a boy?” It was always a statement, always a declaration of what he is. Always.
This journey has not been easy. His transition is not his alone, it’s a transition that involves his family, friends, and community. Even though we support Luca a thousand percent, it doesn’t eliminate the pain. At least for now, the grief remains. Because for 7-and-a-half years, we had Lucy. We dreamed of the things Lucy would do and who Lucy would be. But the truth is he has his whole life to be Luc. We have a healthy child, and now he’s confident and happy. We know our pain will subside and the transition will become easier, but it’s still difficult. This is, by far, the hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with.
But as his mother, this is what I know:
- He is a human. A human that should never have to fear his safety, his acceptance, or his rights.
- The decision to socially transition to male was not dirty, inappropriate, or sexual- in any way.
- I never want him to believe that he doesn’t belong here. I never want him to underestimate his ability to be whatever he wants to be. I want him to be validated. I want him to be celebrated for who he is and who he will be.
- Abuse, persuasion, vaccines, his mental health, or the devil himself did not make him transgender. He was absolutely, unequivocally designed just like you and I.
I trust you understand love and how you can deeply love your child through things that are confusing, hurtful, and challenging. That’s all we are doing. We are loving him. And by loving him, we are supporting and celebrating him.
Let me go on record to say that we don’t have to tell you any of this. We choose to be heard. We boldly tell our story- the insignificant, the marvelous, and the dreadful. We share our story for those who can’t. We share our story so transgender people are visible. To show you that they have a face, they have a voice. Trans people are all of us. Humans who deserve a place in this world.
I want you to know that it’s okay to ask questions. It’s okay to not understand it. But more than anything, I want you to know that we are so hopeful that you’ll support our decision, and our family, with your whole hearts. We need more people in our tribe.
He’s just a boy. He’s not the scary beast you shield your children from in public restrooms. He’s our son. And we are proud of him.