It has been said that being a parent is to forever have your heart walking around outside your chest. Honestly, I never felt that before. I was approaching parenthood with the philosophy that every child is going to go through a certain number of knocks in this life, and by and large the knocks teach you something and make you stronger. Our job as parents is to set them up to assimilate learning experiences, right? My kids only had the typical bumps and bruises, and I try not to borrow trouble.
And then my daughter crawled in my lap yesterday and wailed softly, “I want to be a girl. I want to be a girl. I want to be a girl.” As though she weren’t already. Because her body doesn’t match, she doesn’t really believe that she is a “real” girl. My heart broke open. This is not something I can fix.
But I tried to reinforce a message I gratefully took from Rev. River Stone at the First Event conference: at this age, children need to understand that their gender comes from their head and their heart. Does your head and your heart tell you that you are a girl? Then you are. Because that truth comes from inside of you, and no one else can dictate your truth to you. And that is as real as anything in this world. And I reinforced for myself my knowledge that she is more self-aware than many adults I know, that she is incredibly strong and she will be fine.
And then I saw this article this morning. Such violence! Driven by such hatred! And there is a special level of viciousness aimed at trans women of color. All of the violent deaths this year, trans women of color.
And I start thinking things like, will my daughter have some protection because she has transitioned early and it will be less obvious she’s trans? She is quite light-skinned. Is it obvious she’s a person of color? Maybe she will be safer.
But I know that one wardrobe malfunction and any of our trans kids could be in danger, because there’s enough hate to go around, though (quite deliberately!) I live in a much friendlier state than Texas. And I simply hope that if we all carry on, we can spread enough love and understanding that things like this will eventually not happen anymore.
But honestly, that feels like a fragile umbrella when it’s raining bricks. And my heart is walking around outside my chest.
Please. Help spread love and understanding.
This post is courtesy of a very dear friend and one of the most amazing women I know. Her daughter is SO lucky to have the fierce support of both her parents behind her. May we all play such an invaluable role in the lives of our children.
This text originally appeared on Facebook, and has been republished with permission.