This week we had the pleasure of welcoming Andrea to our show. Andrea is a super proud mama bear and LGBTQ+ supporter. She is one of the first moms of a transgender child that I met on this journey, and she really helped me when I was in a time of panic. Yeah.. I’m not joking. In the early days there was definitely some panic. I may sound like I have it all together now (spoiler alert - I don’t!), but my son being transgender doesn’t consume my thoughts every minute of every day. When I was beginning this journey in gender diversity I really needed to find someone who had ‘been there’, someone who could empathize with what I was going through and offer some practical advice on how to move forward and honour my child’s authentic identity.
I remember the day that I realized I was probably going to be parenting a transgender child. Like most parents in the year 2018 I went straight to the internet in hopes of finding someone who might be able to relate to my story. In a facebook parent group I was a part of I typed “transgender” into the search bar, and I found a post that Andrea had written about wanting to connect with other parents of gender diverse kids. She was my go-to. I messaged her straight away, and she was a breath of fresh air when everyone else in my life thought that I was literally crazy. I will always have a special place in my heart that goes out to her for helping me at the beginning of my journey.
Andrea is eloquently spoken, full of gold quotes, and great advice. I remember conversing with her about changing my son’s pronouns. I was really nervous about doing this as it felt like one of the more ‘permanent’ changes compared to hair cuts, and clothing choices.
She said to me, “Ruby.. we are changing some words here. We aren’t performing surgery, injecting hormones, or any of the like. We are changing some words to make someone feel more comfortable. Who would you rather feel more comfortable? Yourself.. Using the pronouns you always have for your child? Or, your child who is clearly stating that they would be more comfortable if different pronouns were used.” That was the push I needed to begin accepting my son’s requests for hes and hims and Z’s. And the beginning of my realization that my child was here to teach me, and help me become the best possible version of myself.
One of my favourite things that Andrea had to say on this podcast was about listening to our kids, and trusting that they know who they are. She said,
“Our kids are just kids. These are just kids. They’re not doing this to get attention or play make believe for years on end. Just take them at face value. When they say that they are a gender. Believe them. Respect them. They deserve it.”
Thank you for being on our show and sharing your wisdom with the world, Andrea. It takes bravery and courage to stand on the stage in that gymnasium, pride flag in one hand, trans flag in the other and say our kids are worth it. We are grateful for you.