Hi, my name is Wendy Swanson and I am the Mom of a transgender son, queer daughter and a cis/straight daughter. I believe the most important message I want to send out is that God does NOT make mistakes and he made these kids perfect in His eyes – therefore it is our job to love unconditionally! My Momma Bear project story is about our son today.
Our son has known since he was about four or five that he was a boy. I remember the first time he wanted us to call him Clayton. It’s funny how clear this day is to me. We were on Kelly’s Island playing put-put golf and he said, “Mom, I am Clayton this week on vacation OK? I will NOT answer to anything but that name this week.” My husband and I looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders and said, “Ok Clayton your up. Hit the ball!”
The interesting thing is our child was born with an extra X chromosome, and all the doctors said nothing but ultra feminine traits would be presented by individuals born this way. Boy, were they WRONG!! From the second this child could play and dress himself it has been ALL BOY!!
What I am about to tell you next about Oliver is something very dear to my heart. He chose his beautiful name, Oliver Mayne, with the help from his grandpa whom we call Poppops. This is something that brought the both of them so much joy. This is something I would encourage all Moms to do, to be as enthusiastic and involved in the process as possible. And listen, please listen to them. This is not something we did all the way through unfortunately. When he was younger we let him go bare chested with his boy trunks, and because of what the Dr’s told us about the XXX, we just thought he was beating to his own drum. It was when he hit puberty that we feel we went wrong and very well could have lost our child. We brushed the “Tom boy,” under the rug and shopped at more expensive stores in hopes to make our child “like” girl clothes more. (I’m cringing as I write this) This is where things started to go south. He would come home from school and sleep. His grades and attitude were horrible. He started sneaking out and not telling the truth as to where he was. This was surely a cry out for help!
I remember one night specifically where I realized we had so clearly missed ALL of it. I saw a cross that he had cut into his own skin on his forehead. A few weeks later, he snuck out of the house and we could not find him anywhere. He came home the next morning and came to me in my room. We held each other and I begged him to tell me what was happening.
This was the day he told me that he could not live another day without being his true self, and I didn’t let go of him. I told him that we love him and that we would figure this out together. We stayed in my room that day, ate a lot of comfort food and educated ourselves with movie’s and videos on transgender persons. We held each other, cried, laughed, and knew we had a journey ahead of us. We knew, however, that together we could do it!
We are so blessed with the love and acceptance he received as he came out, but there are always naysayers. This made me second guess myself greatly as a Christian Mom. We moved for the duration of his high school career, and rented a home near an all affirming school to allow him to just be who he is. It has been a WONDERFUL period of growth for him.
One night during dinner, I asked Oliver when it was that he first knew he was a boy. “Oh, that’s easy Mom,” he said. “It was when I was four or five and all I wanted to do was play with my Teenage Mutant
Turtles.” I giggled a bit and asked curiously, “Did you ever feel like a girl?” He replied, “Well, I know you shopped at stores for me that you didn’t take Jess and Case to – and I would try to like the clothes, but it just never felt right wearing them.” The last thing I said to him, and mind you he was silly and happy the whole time before this last question: ”If we didn’t support you with this transition,” and before I could look up at him I could hear him sobbing with huge tears rolling down his face. He said, “Mom, I would be dead.” I grabbed him so fast, held him in my arms and told him I allowed someone to make me feel like a bad Mom, and that I would never do that again. I’ve never second guessed myself since then.
I share this very personal experience with you in hopes that people gain insight. It is a journey for not only Oliver, but our entire family, friends and loved ones – a beautiful journey at that! Be encouraged and KNOW that all will be alright. And most importantly, not only are you loved by us, but by God as well!
1 Corinthians 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Serendipitydodah – Home of the Mama Bears is a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. The official motto is “Better Together” and the members call themselves “Mama Bears”
The group is private so only members can see who is in the group and what is posted in the group. It was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 12,000 members. For more info about the Mama Bears visit our website at realmamabears.org