Mom Accepts Transgender Tween

Jack Drescher sent me a link to the following article, a story that moved and encouraged me greatly.

MANCHESTER, NH – In the first grade, 6-year-old Nicholas stood up one day and told his teacher he had something important to say.

Not just to her. But to the whole class.

“My name is Nicholas, but I want to be called Nikki because I’m really a girl,” he told his classmates at Parker-Varney School in Manchester.

News of the incident did not come as a surprise to his mother, Diana. By the time Nicholas reached preschool, it had become obvious her foster son was never going to be “one of the boys.”

Nikki turned out to be a very insightful and aware young girl.

And then there was the issue of the “two hearts” – a pink one and a blue one. A young Nicholas insisted he had both, and then woke up one night and said he dreamed a monster took the blue one away, Diana said.

Nikki is now 11 years old, and with her mother’s help, she has been able to live as a girl at her school. It took work, education and a lot of advocacy on her mother’s part.

You can read the rest of the Nashua Telegraph article here.

I had a conversation with someone recently who confessed that she just doesn’t “get it”. A straight woman, she has come to understand and accept gay and lesbian people (we didn’t discuss bisexual individuals who struggle with being silenced and marginalized by straights, gays and lesbians). Transgender issues boggled this woman’s mind though.

Sure it is foreign for many, and it is complex. It doesn’t help that gender and sex and orientation get all mashed up together. With the oppression of women in a society which still has deeply ingrained gender roles and gender rules, any discussion of gender and sex gets complex.

Even among people who have have transitioned, are transitioning or consider themselves transgender, we see diverse opinions often at odds with each other. To me this points to the health and maturity of many trans people. I meet so many who think for themselves. They don’t follow a trans guide book on how to be, how to do it, how to express it. For many, they have been on a path of self-discovery that has helped them to become their own people on their own terms.

As I mentioned before, when we see stories of young children who insist that their outsides don’t match their insides, that they are really girls or really boys regardless of what the birth certificate they, these honest children are the only ones who are not confused about their gender.

Yes, this is confusing for many of us who never had to seriously question our gender or sex. Even many gay and lesbian folks grapple to “get it”. Added to the confusion is all the pressure that gets stirred up from the gender variant issues that have baffled many of us in our lives reminding us of the many ways we have tried to “pass” as man or woman enough for the gender police (both external and internal). I mean consider how much of the ex-gay experience is about gender realignment treatment (playing football for guys, Mary Kay makeovers for the gals, etc).

I also think of the complex and challenging world for people who are born intersex. Life is not always so simple. I recently received a moving message from a person who was born intersex. If the individual agrees, I will share some of it with you in an upcoming post.

For those of us who don’t “get it”. That is fine. It is understandable. But we don’t have to stay in that place. By listening to other people’s stories, hearing their journeys, listening to their heart message, seeing the integrity in their lives, it will help us to better understand.

For further “research,” check out the amazing Trans-Ponder Podcast and (and Jayna’s videos) as well as grishno’s journey she chronicle through YouTube videos.

This post has 5 Comments

  1. beth on June 23, 2008 at 6:50 pm Reply

    Great article, thank you.

  2. grace on June 24, 2008 at 3:02 am Reply

    Peterson,
    I don’t think you’re talking about me in this…but I do recall us having a similar conversation at one point. You’re exactly right in that it’s a journey for all of us. I have made several transgendered friends in my journey and I am so grateful for the opportunity to know such wonderful folks. Surely there’s no other group who has done more contemplating about what makes people “real” than those who are transgendered. It saddens and angers me greatly when I see folks blow them off as some sort of psycho cases and the like. I believe you hit the nail on the head when you mention the integrity of these individuals. It seems to me that this is the heart of the matter for the transgendered person…living with integrity. I respect and value my transgendered friends so much and it’s at that place….the value of living with integrity….where my value for them began taking shape.

    Hope that made sense!

    pam

  3. Vince Cervantes on June 24, 2008 at 6:00 am Reply

    this really touched my heart. i also remember as a young boy knowing that i wasn’t comfortable with being just a boy, because i there was something more to that for me.

  4. Diana_CT on June 24, 2008 at 6:27 pm Reply

    In the Nashua Telegraph article, it mentions a Dr. William Reiner and I was interested to see the study was that the article mentioned. So I googled him and found a New York Times interview with him. In the interview he talks about how they preformed SRS on intersexed boys with deformed genital in order to raise them as girls, about 60% of the boys raised as girls retransitioned back to being boys. I think that shows that gender is not a social construct but rather in our soul. They end the interview with…

    Q. What conclusions do you draw from your study?

    A. That sexual identity is individual, unique and intuitive and that the only person who really knows what it is is the person themselves. If we as physicians or scientists want to know about a person’s sexual identity, we have to ask them.

  5. Jayna on June 26, 2008 at 12:35 am Reply

    Thanks for being out there and being supportive, being an educator, and a voice for loving acceptance.

    Hugs,

    Jayna

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