2014 has proven to be a most interesting year for this blogger. I actually want to start off by sharing with you some of the major changes that occurred in my personal life.
Many of you know me well and follow my myriad of activities on Facebook but you may not have put this all together.
In 2014, the higher power decided that I still have much to learn. In the midst of the major debate at City Hall regarding the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, I was facing a personal struggle at home.
Last spring, my child informed me that the wrong gender had been assisgned at birth. My child is 13 so I initially did not take the conversation very seriously. In fact, I just kind of ignored the idea. This could not possibly happen to my precious miracle from heaven.
In all honesty, it was not that I oppose transgender people or any people with differences. I accept people at face value. But motherly instinct took hold and in the quiet of night, I feared what this could mean for my precious child. All I could think about was the hard path that we would travel and the fear grew greater each day.
Being my child, of course she would not let go of the discussion. She kept discussing, teaching and explaining to me. Some days it was hard to tell the parent from the child.
Finally, between one of my Dad’s hospital stays (9 this year), I sat down and began doing my own research as any educated person should. It did not take me long to learn how dangerous it could be for transgender kids if they are not accepted.
I love my child more than anything on planet Earth. Having my child in my life is more important than any possible challenges we could face. The suicide rates among transgender people range as high as 40+ percent and when it narrows down to transgender teens, it is even higher. In most cases, suicide is a result of lack of acceptance. Finally, I was whacked over the head by one of my favorite things – data.
It was the turning point. I reached out to several resources and placed my child with the proper professionals. Did you know that we have adolescent transgender pediatricians in Houston? I sure didn’t and there are many other amazing resources in our city. Thank goodness we live in Houston.
By mid-summer, my child began presenting as female. We met with her school and a number of friends were made aware. It took me a while to begin sharing the news. I kept it very close until mid-fall. I gradually began telling people.
This is a life-long journey we have embarked on together. I have so much to learn. I’m happy to share with you much of what I have learned so far if you have questions.
I know there are many people in our community who do not accept differences easily. Probably one of the most surprising things I have learned is that even those who have fought for equality over the years, have not been as accepting as I would have thought. I have had people walk away from me. I also hear the mutterings of “bad parenting”. I’m not bothered as it just shows how little they know.
This is what I know. I love my child unconditionally. Maybe sometimes “unconditionally” can be pushed to the limits but that is our way of growing and expanding our own minds. I accept my child as who she is and who she wants to be in the future. I have also learned that my child is very brave and courageous to admit who she is and share it with the world. My heart bursts with pride.
I’m also proud of our family and friends who have embraced her and surrounded her with love and acceptance.
Now, I say goodbye for 2014 and look forward to experiencing 2015 with my daughter. She’ll start high school this year. We’re looking forward to new adventures.
Nancy, I am so proud of you and your daughter! I have been struggling to help one of my former students who has the same challenge. She has attempted suicide so many times…..if you know on any professional for a 23 year old, let me know. Love to both of you!
You are a wise and wonderful person and your daughter is blessed to have you as her mother. Thank you for sharing – your humanity, your courage and your love. Best to you both in the coming years.
She needs you and all of her close ones to be affirming and supportive as I know you are determined to be. Praise be to God that you are in the context that you are with people who are inclined to understand and support, including her Godparents. Blessings and support and love go with you and your family as you travel this journey.
I would say, “How brave!” but I think that would miss the point. So I will say, “How loving!” Parenting isn’t a “June Cleaver” kind of thing in reality. It is about saying that you love your kid, no matter what. NO-MATTER-WHAT. Brava!
Life is full of unexpected changes. You seem to be dealing with the new experience in a loving adult way. Most important your child knows of your unconditional love. The road ahead will be a challenge for both of you but with God’s help both of you will soar to the heights and reach your full potential. May God bless you both.
Parenting is one of the most challenging and gratifying roles we will ever undertake. I hope that I handle my son’s future tribulations with the same grace and acceptance that you are showing to your daughter.
Family. It’s what matters. Your daughter is fortunate. Best wishes for a happy new year.
I love you both and I wish you both the best in 2015. We all have much to learn. Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
I wish you and your daughter (and the rest of your family) the best in 2015!
Dear Nancy and Lily,
I am so happy that you understand what a beautiful family you are. I remember when you were pregnant Nancy and I knew then that you would make a great mom. Your story is a testament to how a family could be. It can be one of the most difficult things to inform parents that you are different from what they thought you might be; I know from personal experience. Love, above all else, is key.
I remember the day this precious child was born. Your joy, your pride, and your happiness. After reading this post, I still feel your pride, your love, and your joy. What a another wonderful journey you will share in this thing we call life. Blessings to you both.
It is interesting that I read this today, I am a teacher, and I have a copy of the film Bully aren’t by teaching tolerance. It deals with a gay child who was bullied and tried to commit suicide, at age I could easily explain gay lesbian and bisexual to my middle school twins, but transgender is tougher, I didn’t have the words, I just said when a girl wants to be a boy or a boy wants to be a girl. My 11 year old son corrected me and told me no mom, it’s when they were born the wrong gender, they don’t want it, it’s who they are. So wise. I pray for you and your family to have the strength needed to navigate these waters, and we’ll understand that kids well the understand, I hope your daughter is surrounded by kids like my son who just gets it. As for his sister God loves everyone, and he told me to do the same, so why does any of this matter. Twins, one very pure, and not worldly at all, and the other who really gets it. Know that all of us surround you and your daughter with love
Congratulations! I am so thrilled for you both! (and girls Rock!)
As the mother of a gay son, I loved reading this. So many of his friends have to hide who they are, it is so sad. Maybe people like you and I will someday change the world for the better. If not us, definitely our children!
Thank you for sharing your and your daughter’s story. Such a generous gift will certainly expand the capacity for compassion in our community and in the lives you both touch. Lucky girl to have you as her momma!
Nancy: I have admired and respected you from the day we met, and I stand behind you and your daughter’s decision 100%. Your intellect, love and passion for what is right will lead you through this and result in a wonderful 2015 and beyond.
Thank you for being the kind of mother that so many others wish they had. Thank you for honoring your child in so many ways. May the future hold wonderful and amazing things for you and yours!
I am so proud of your daughter and you. Anita Serrano
Wonderful!! PS: There is a super-duper supporting group on FB called “Parents of Transgender Children” (private) with almost 1300 members, look us up
Being a mother is a special gift. Being a mother who listens and engages with her children is invaluable and precious to those who love her. I’ve always known you were a successful businesswoman, but sharing your personal story is a success we all need to share. Thanks for the truth and here’s to many happy years.
Thank you for sharing your family story. I was confused last summer when I saw your posts with your daughter’s picture. Your blog explains it beautifully. You and your daughter are wise and courageous. Much love to you both.
Dear Nancy: from the moment I met you, I knew then that you are one of the wisest people I would ever know. Obviously, I am right. You have a keen way of figuring everything out in life, and an insight and deep compassion to boot! I wish you and Lilly all the best. She is so lucky to have you as her mom. Confession: when I first read the title of the blog, I thought you actually had another baby!
Beautiful post. How lucky Lily is to have you, and how lucky you are to have Lily. Family and total support are everything. May you and your daughter have the most fabulous 2015!!
The puzzle piece fits in place nicely now, no forcing it. Blessings to you both – for the acceptance and love you share for each other.
Nancy, I have read this many times since we last talked. Each time I read it I am just filled with love for both you and Lilly. How fortunate you both are to have each other. I am sure the journey will continue to be interesting. As I said in my phone call, I am available to kick some *** of anyone who doesn’t look at Lilly with love in their heart. You have an incredibly brave child. That child has a courageous mother. There is much love in my heart for both of you.
Take care, my friend.
Lilly you are just awesome!!!!
You are an awesome parent and this will be quite a journey but this is a good time in history for this journey to begin. Maybe one of your daughter’s mottos should be “Win Like a Girl.”
What a wonderful story! I’m so glad that transgender teens have people who support them, and accept them. I imagine your ‘transition’ was difficult, but it shows that love always win.