#LGBTQFamilies, acceptance, children, Christian, coming out, family, GLBT, LGBT, LGBTQ, love, Moms of LGBT, Moms of LGBTQ Kids, parent, parents, Stories That Change The World, Story, transgender, Youth
Stories have the power to change the world … they inspire us, teach us, connect us. This is the twenty-fifth installment in the “Stories That Change The World” series.
I have a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. The group is Serendipitydodah for Moms and presently has more than 1,100 moms in the group. It’s a wonderful community of moms who are trying to be the best moms they can be and who love their kids fiercely. The group is a place where we share a lot of support, encouragement and wisdom as we learn to develop and maintain healthy, loving, authentic relationships with our LGBTQ kids.
The following story is from Jamie Bruesehoff, one of the members of Serendipitydodah for Moms. Jamie is the mother to three awesome kids who writes at “I am Totally That Mom” about life as a pastor’s wife, her love of running, holistic parenting, raising kids up in faith, living in a way that respects and enjoys the earth, what it is like to battle depression and anxiety, and those mom moments when motherhood leaves her doing things she never imagined she would do.
Jamie shared the following on her personal Facebook page last year and later on her blog. I am grateful that Jamie is allowing me to share it again here on Serendipitydodah because I believe stories like this really do change the world.
For more info on the private Facebook group for moms of lgbt kids email firstname.lastname@example.org and use “Mom’s Facebook Group” as the subject.
For more from Jamie check out her blog I Am Totally That Mom
As some of you have no doubt noticed over the years, Ben doesn’t follow society’s expectations when it comes to gender. Ben is gender nonconforming. We learned this term about a year ago, after years of following Ben’s lead with his interests and style. Ben has loved all things pink and sparkly since he was a toddler, and over the years, Ben’s interests and passions continued to be strongly feminine with all of his closest friends being girls. We supported him in choosing friends, activities, and clothing that felt like the best fit for him. We knew Ben didn’t fit the mold that our culture sets for boys, and we supported him in expressing himself authentically.
At the same time, our bright, sensitive, and empathetic child struggled increasingly with anxiety and, eventually, depression. We worked through various medical and therapeutic resources over the years to support him in his anxiety, trying to give him the best tools possible to thrive in the world as someone whose huge heart just feels things too much. Despite our best efforts, the anxiety and depression reached a crisis point this past year. We were all feeling pretty scared and lost.
I am so incredibly thankful to say that we are in a very different place right now. With the support of various professionals, we’ve come to understand that Ben is transgender. While he was identified as a male at birth based on his outward appearance, he feels and knows that he is a girl. Gender is a spectrum, and we know that liking pink or things attributed culturally to girls does not, in and of itself, make you a girl. But in Ben’s case, his gender identity was the missing piece to the puzzle. Despite our support in being any kind of boy he’d like to be, including one that loves all things feminine, Ben knows in his heart that he IS a girl.
Within the last few months, Ben has socially transitioned so that she can live as the girl she knows she is. Together, we’ve chosen the name Rebekah Eleanor. With the transition to Rebekah, we have seen a significant shift in her energy and demeanor. She suddenly seems more comfortable in her own skin, and we are seeing that gorgeous smile of hers more than ever before.
While, Rebekah has always had and always will have our complete support, this has not been easy. Being transgender is not something anyone chooses. It is not something Rebekah has chosen. It is not something we are choosing for her. We are very aware that the road for her will not always be smooth. The suicide and depression rates for the transgender community are nothing short of terrifying, but we know that with love and support from us, our family, and our friends we are giving Rebekah the best possible chance at not being one of those statistics.
What we are asking of our friends and family is that you respect Rebekah’s gender identity as female by using her preferred name and pronouns. Though Rebekah specifically asked us to tell you that she will be gracious if you accidentally call her Ben as you get used to the change, as she knows this is quite an adjustment for everyone. We also encourage you to learn more about what it means to be transgender along with common misconceptions. We are not experts, but we are learning by necessity and are happy to talk about any of this with you. We will include some resources in the comments below. What Rebekah needs is your love and support. She is a bright, beautiful, and brave girl with a huge heart. We have no doubt she will change the world just by being who she is.
All this is posted with Rebekah’s permission and with thanks to Maegan Dougherty Photography for the beautiful photos.