Stories have the power to change the world … they inspire us, teach us, connect us. This is the seventh installment in the “Stories That Change The World” series.
I have the pleasure of being in community with more than 500 moms of LGBT kids. These moms are changing the world with their love, wisdom, courage and stories. Rachel Drouillard is one of those moms. She posted this on her Facebook page today. Moms like Rachel are changing the world!
Five years and eleven months ago our first child was born, twelve weeks early and beyond expectations. The last six years haven’t been without struggles. Health struggles, behavioral struggles, developmental struggles. Each new facet growing all of us in ways we never thought possible.
When the child we lovingly named Owen began to speak we had conversations that no parent ever imagines having with their child. We believe in God, and we believed all we had been taught about life and truth and gender and when Owen began telling us that he was a girl we refuted it, with consistency. This began about 3 years ago.
In realizing that this wasn’t going away we began to do our research. We’d been around kids our entire lives and had never seen a boy so adamant that he was a girl, surely this can’t be normal. We raised him as a boy, gave him all the “boy clothes” and “boy toys”, he watched football with Daddy, baseball—that makes a boy, right?
A little over a year ago our research began to bring up the word “transgender” and we were beside ourselves. These people’s stories, this were our life. We were reading our story in theirs. Shortly after, we got Owen a play dress, the first “girly” thing we’d brought into the house and he was beside himself. He would come home from school and dress up most days.
Last December during a particularly demanding “I’m Rosie, I’m a girl!” time Leelah Alcorn walked in front of oncoming traffic because no one would listen to her. Because her parents spent time, money and years not listening to their child. They told her that God doesn’t make mistakes and that if she would just be who her body says she is all would be fine. It wasn’t fine.
Our child has been telling us who he is since he could talk, and even before then. Who he is isn’t a he. In our research we began to learn things about the individual nuances of procreation and all of the intricate ways it can “go awry”. We researched intersex people whose genitals didn’t “tell their parents who they are” but whose parents had to choose, some of whom chose incorrectly. We don’t have all the answers, we wish we did. There are fabulous mysteries around us and God made or allowed them all. Our child is one of them.
Owen, at this point, is what we call a gender creative child. Everything within him identifies with being female. But our child is young and we don’t know if this is forever, and after much emotional struggle with ourselves we’ve decided that it’s okay. We want our children to be authentic and heard. We want to build a home of safety, of support and love so that both of our children know that whatever the world throws at them or struggle they’re going through, we’ve got their backs. We love them, celebrate them, correct them and teach them daily and the clothes our child wears or the name we call them won’t change that.
This has been a very stressful time for us, filled with anxiety not at our present situation but at the unknown and at facing and possibly losing people that we love. You may not understand, it took us a long time and to be honest we still have confusion. You may disagree, that’s okay. We have done our research, we are making the decisions that we see as best for our child.
So what can you do, and why are we sharing this? Do your own research with the understanding that God doesn’t make mistakes and we are all created in his image but for some of us that image looks a little different. Some of us are born with mental illness, some are born with autism, some are born with heart conditions. Some are born with cleft palates, festering brain hemorrhages or epilepsy. We don’t believe these are mistakes. We believe these are challenges. Some can be handled medically, some can be handled emotionally, and to be honest, some we just learn to maneuver around. The best thing you can do for us other than educating yourself and others is to love all and love fiercely and teach your children to do the same. And also, call her Elly which means shining light—because it’s respectful and because that’s who she is.
Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group created as an extension of the Serendipitydodah blog. The group is set up so only members can see who is in the group and what is posted there. The group was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 1,200 members. The space was specifically created for open minded Christian moms who have LGBTQ kids and want to develop and maintain healthy, loving, authentic relationships with their LGBTQ kids. In addition to providing a space for members to share info and support one another, a special guest is added each month for a few days. The guests include authors, pastors, LGBTQ people, bloggers and public speakers.
For more info email firstname.lastname@example.org