The Frantic Search for an Identity
Since my son’s revelation that he can be who he wants to be and learn to love and accept his body as it is (and this will take some time) we have felt enormous relief all round. But this evening’s conversation with my 13 year old son was yet another heartbreaker for me—and evidence that the war isn’t over for us yet.
My son is transgender identified. I am gently encouraging him to drop the “trans” identification label and trying to explain to him how just the label itself is endorsing a much bigger and potentially dangerous and life damaging concept.
We are amongst the lucky ones. Because he is young, time was on our side and, for whatever reasons—and I couldn’t pin point exactly how or when—things changed for my son. He decided he was ready to listen and try to be happy. The road is long and I’m sure we’ll encounter many potholes along the way, but we are heading in the right direction at long last and I can finally (almost) sleep again. But the fear is still there, looming over me, that any day now we could wake up back in the nightmare.
My son is so lost without the “Trans” label. This evening he asked me, “but who would I be if I’m not a transgender” to which I replied, “do you need a label to define who you are?”. To this he replied, “but it is part of my identity”. So I told him: “we can and will figure this out and if you feel you belong in the LGB community they will still accept you with open arms—you do not need the trans label (or any label) for this”.
This need for identity and categorization is so toxic. Even though my son may be emerging from the fog, I am still devastated for him, for what he’s been through and for the loss he is feeling—and for the other thousands of children still searching frantically for their identities. And my mind still races everyday, looking for more stories, more evidence and information. And the worry and need to change things is still immense; who will this happen to next?