A 2016 poll found that there are between 0.5 to 0.6% people who are transgender in the US.
This putS the total number of transgender Americans at approximately 1.4 million adults.
This is her journey:
Despite living in a sizable city, there are very few people who know what transgender means. Not even the doctors here knew what transgender meant until we explained it to them.
Imagine having two transgender children in a community that is extremely conservative and evangelical. The schools are unwelcoming. The churches are unwelcoming. Most people reject the local LGBT individuals. The state legislature is actively pursuing bills that legalize discrimination against people like my children.
Given that the trans population is less than half a percent of my state’s population, the lack of awareness of transgender people is unsurprising.
Visibility of transgender people in the media is increasing, but not at a rate fast enough to make a dent in the general population. Here, where we live, at least, visibility occurs as the few LGBT people come out of the closet to their families, friends, coworkers, and ultimately to the community as a whole.
Being out in a conservative, Republican city and state is often dangerous. Add in any other minority characteristics and the danger to the individual increases exponentially.
My two wonderful teenage transgender sons have to navigate this world. It’s terrifying to think of them in the school setting (so they are homeschooled), unbelievably frightening to think of them out there alone and out as they medically transition in the future.
Transgender visibility and awareness is vitally important. My kids were born into the wrong bodies. In the second trimester of my pregnancies, each of them were exposed to increased testosterone, changing their brain structures to resemble male brains.
Like sexual preferences, being transgender is not a choice. My sons, despite the identification at birth being female, are male. Because they are trans male, they are the lucky ones. They are less likely to be abused, less likely to be killed than trans females. They will, with testosterone, grow facial hair, increase their muscle mass and deepen their voices. They will enter into society with the stereotypical male look with ID cards that match their genders.
Most transgender people are not fortunate enough to have accepting families and doctors. Most struggle and suffer because of the extreme prejudices they face.
As allies to the LGBT community we can help change these struggles.
We can make sure that all people are accepted and treated equally.
Trans visibility is key, but without our speaking up for the community, for our friends and family members, change will be slow.
We must make this a seismic change. For my boys. For all trans people. For the world.
I love how much you support your two boys. I cannot imagine living in that sort of fear – I commend you all for your bravery and strength. The world would be a better place if everyone was like you and your boys.
Like Becky, I love your solid support of your boys. We have friends who have a transgender son. They, too, live in a conservative, fiercely religious area, and fear for their son’s wellbeing as they support him completely. The world could use more people like you and my friends. We’re all people and we deserve to feel safe and loved.
All the love from one mama to another. I support you and I love your boys, unconditionally.
I have a friend who has a transgender son. She also lives in a very conservative area. I believe that all people should be loved and supported. You are safe and welcome here.
Thank you for bravely sharing your story. Thank you for advocating for change, supporting your children, and loving them on their terms.
There are so many things people can do to support Trans and gender non-conforming people. Personally, I have my pronouns listed as part of my work and personal email signature blocks — sandwiched between my name and contact information. When I meet new people, I try to introduce myself by sharing my pronouns. “Hi. My name is… My pronouns are she/her/hers.”
Is it easy to do among new groups of people? NO! Does it make me feel vulnerable or awkward? YEP. You betcha!
Thank you for being willing to speak up and raise awareness. Most importantly, thank you for being a badass, loving mama bear who loves their cubs.