"Mom, You Think About Gender Way More Than I Do!"
"Mom, you think about gender way more than I do!"
This is what my transgender son told me when he came to visit me recently. My son is a 23-year-old college graduate. He lives in Oregon with his partner and their dog — and although he still refers to his visits to his parents’ house as “coming home,” I can tell Portland has truly become home for him.
I often talk with my son about my work and what I have been up to. This invariably leads me to ask him questions about being transgender and day-to-day life. “Do you tell people that you are trans?” “Do you think trans individuals should tell potential dates they are trans?” “What is the best binder to get?” While he is willing to answer questions and does engage in discussions about gender with me from time to time, he has made it clear that he just doesn’t think about it much. In fact, he told me “Mom, you think about gender way more than I do!”
And that is how it should be.
I am so glad he is happy, healthy, and living his life as his authentic self without having to think about his gender identity.
And yes, he is right. I think about gender a lot.
I didn’t always have the understanding I have now about what it means to be transgender. My understanding and acceptance developed over a long period of time and dovetailed with my child's experience understanding and accepting himself. My understanding continues to develop as I connect with experts in the field, and even more so as I interact with transgender people and their family members who have been kind enough to share their experiences with me.
It was only after my son came out that I became active in advocating for transgender youth and their families. I often say that my son took me the places I needed to go. Had our story been different, I am sure my life would have taken a different path.
Now I support transgender youth, adults, and their families as an author, educator, coach, and speaker. I work to share and spread information, love, acceptance, and empathy. Every child deserves to be loved and supported unconditionally. Being transgender is just one more beautiful normal variation of being human.
I truly hope that at some point in the near future, the work I do won’t be necessary. But, until then, I will work hard to make sure that transgender people are respected and treated with equal rights under the law and throughout our society.
Learn more at my newly redesigned website here: