I belong to an online community of parents of transgender children and it’s one of the best things that’s ever happened to me online.
It’s completely elevated the discourse in my online world, is full of people celebrating little moments together, asking for advice (and getting beautiful, thoughtful advice), venting and being supportive. And through it all, the entire subtext is, “of course we support our kids and we support them being whomever they truly are”.
But there are things that are hard too. This week one woman posted a clipped request for prayers, on her way to the hospital because her trans son had been found after slitting his wrists.
And my first thought was, “oh my god. But she’s so supportive!”
Family acceptance reduces the risks extensively.
But it doesn’t reduce the risk to zero, of course.
And then another very supportive mom posted about how her family had been down that road so often.
And then yesterday there was a news story about the suicide of transgender teen Sam Taub.
Transgender women face high violence and murder rates. But transgender men have a higher suicide rate (though trans women have high suicide rates too – just marginally less than trans mens).
It angers me too how the haters use the high suicide rate to justify their view that being transgender is a mental illness that causes instability and suicide. No guys bigotry, isolation and shaming causes instability and suicide.
Sometimes I just want to forget all the politics and let Noah have a regular boyhood. And let us have a normal parenting-our-boy-hood. Then I remember all the complications, things I should be advocating, things I should be researching and I feel like this is so huge and parental missteps can have such big consequences. And even all the right parenting steps can fall so short.
There are no good answers and I don’t have any good conclusions. It’s just a week that calls for hugging your kids very tightly.