Every year on March 31st, our family celebrates International Transgender Day of Visibility. It is an annual event dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide, as well as a celebration of their contributions to society. But we also celebrate what J has lovingly coined his “transiversary” … the anniversary of the day we officially changed pronouns and stopped using his full birth name. Yes, it just so happens to be the same day we tried on he/him pronouns and never looked back!
I will always remember J’s face that day two years ago. We were with our psychologist and well into the transition journey, but feeling like we were sitting on the edge of a cliff, not sure if we should jump yet. We were following our child’s lead, everytime J asked for something to change in his life, we supported him and made the shift. But J didn’t know that he could ask for his pronouns to change. He didn’t even know what a pronoun was! So how could he ask for us to change that. He certainly knew how it felt to be called she/her though. So instead of trying to explain what a pronoun was to a newly 6 year old, that day I said to J,
“Do you like when I say SHE IS A FAST RUNNER?” -- and he scowled and covered his face.
Then I asked
“Do you like when I say HE IS A FAST RUNNER?” -- and he peeked out of his fingers and his eyes were so bright. He smiled. I looked over at our Psychologist who gave me a knowing look and said “go with that”. And so we did. We tried it on. I explained to J that we were going to try saying he and him and using a shortened version of his birth name and if he didn’t feel like it felt good at anytime, we could change back. That never happened, and two years later, it has become a day to celebrate!
How do we celebrate? Well this year J started using the word “transiversary” and we all love it. I think in the beginning of his transition, J just wanted to fly-low and not draw attention to the great accomplishments he was making in his own life and identity. But this year I see the pride showing. We used the day to talk about how proud we are that J was able to tell us who he is at such a young age. And how as a family, and with J’s permission, it is important to be visible to a larger community. His school community, our extended family and friends. It is important for the same reasons we are producing this podcast. Representation matters. There are other families on this same journey that can look to J and our family and see how the anxiety can drastically lessen and how life can improve. There are aunties and uncles and grandparents and co-workers and friends who are curious or don’t understand or have questions. By being visible and celebrating, we can help remove the fear and find acceptance.
J even has plans to start a LGBTQ+ club at school!