When Your Child’s Boy Friend Becomes Their Girl Friend

C.J. met Samuel about three years ago when Samuel was a boy named Samuel. Now, Samuel is a girl named Sophia.

Initially, C.J. and Samuel bonded over being boys who liked to be mermaids in water and princesses on land. They painted their nails together, celebrated birthdays together and put on fashion shows together.

“Samuel is more gender nonconforming than I am,” C.J. would point out to me privately. It was a fact that often caught him by surprise because he rarely met a boy who was more gender nonconforming than he was.

About this time last year, Samuel decided — once and for all — that he was not Samuel, he was Sophia.

I had emotional talks with Samuel’s mom. We’d both always known it was a possibility that our sons were transgender; but, thinking it could be so and having it be so are vastly different. Nothing prepares you for your boy’s first day of school as a girl.

With every ounce of my being, I tried to make it all about Sophia and her mom during our talks and time together during her transition. Then, I’d hang up or walk away and wonder what Sophia’s transition would mean for my son and my family.

IMG_0994C.J. had gone through periods during which he wanted to be known as Rebecca, Chloe, Raquel and Cleo. At different times, he said that he’d be a girl when he grew up. A few times, he’s said that he might be trans. But, he never fully committed to any of it. When it came to his gender identity and gender expression, we followed his lead, but he never continually led us in the same direction. It was maddening a lot of the time, though we never let him know it.

If his friend Samuel became Sophia, what would C.J. become? Would C.J. want to transition because Sophia did? If C.J. transitioned, would it be the right decision for him?

After much stalling, I nervously sat down next to C.J. on his bed and explained to him that Samuel was becoming Sophia.

He looked at me oddly and thought for a minute or two.

“Is he transgender?” he asked.

“Yes. She is transgender. So from now on we call her Sophia and use ‘her’ and ‘she’ instead of ‘he’ and ‘him,’” I replied.

He was quiet some more.

“What are you feeling?”

“I don’t know.”

“Are you sad?”

“Yeah.”

“Are you jealous?”

“Yeah.”

“I want to wear dresses to school and everywhere like Sophia will now.”

“Well, you know you can.”

“I know. But it’s different now because she’ll be a girl wearing a dress and I’ll still be a boy wearing a dress.”

The first few times C.J. saw Sophia, I saw some envy in his green eyes as he studied her. I worried how Sophia’s transition made C.J. feel; it was clear that it was making him feel something.

“I don’t want to be a girl every day. I don’t even want to be a girl every other day. I’m not transgender,” he blurted out one day while we were playing with his LEGO Friends.

“Okay,” I said.

C.J. has been consistently leading us in the same direction for six months now. I was worried that Sophia’s transition would influence C.J. to do the same, but, as of right now, it’s done the opposite. C.J. still dresses up in skirts and dresses at home, plays with dolls, paints his nails and loves to take part in fashion shows. He’s the same boy he was when he met Samuel, even though Samuel is not.

“I’m gender nonconforming, but I’m not transgender,” he sometimes explains to people.

I tell him he doesn’t need to clarify.

“Sometimes I do,” he insists.

“Okay,” I say.

C.J. and Sophia have taught me that gender is unique to every person. You don’t have to clarify your gender for other people, but sometimes you have to clarify your gender for yourself.

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59 Responses to When Your Child’s Boy Friend Becomes Their Girl Friend

  1. Cody says:

    This post is so comforting because I understand exactly how C.J. feels! I too am gender non-conforming, but I always feel the need to clarify that I’m not transgender. Thank you so much for sharing yours and C.J.’s story

  2. David A Morse says:

    Whatever CJ later identifies as I know he will be happy and loved. It may not be too long now until you find out. Just last year when Chase was 10 he came out as straight so it might be soon that CJ makes himself clear too. Reading about your family is both a delight and an education.

  3. User936 says:

    Has CJ ever heard of the terms “gender fluid” or “bi-gender”? They’re terms that describe people who identify as boys sometimes, girls at other, and sometimes in between. If he feels those terms describe him, he may find them useful to explain his experiences.

  4. L says:

    Whatever CJ is, we all know as you do that he is fabulous. No matter what direction he takes in life, the start you and your husband and his brother have given him are gong to prove priceless. He’s apparently working things out for himself now and I don’t see anyone being able to influence him off of his course.
    We are all unique and all of us see ourselves differently. Just as there is no gender binary, there is also no transgender binary.

  5. Dani says:

    Thank you for this, Lori. It is a challenge, at times, since many think of gender as something either/or, something fixed and binary. But there is a rich gender continuum that gives voice and place to all.

    With thanksgiving,
    Dani

  6. raibaker says:

    wow! what a self aware child you have raised x

  7. sukhmeet21902015 says:

    Living simple is living from heart. Never try to do what other’s do, just listen to your inner core and you will get the path.

    I listen to my heart and I wrote some lines here => happytomeet.blogspot.com

    where I wrote about new persons we meet and their influence in our life. I just started writing this blog. Hope everyone likes it

  8. Ally says:

    I always love the stories you post on other families that you’re friends with who are going through a similar journey. It warms my heart to know that there are plenty of other families celebrating these kids. You’ve put a human face to this story in such a touching, funny and sometimes heart wrenching way, I love the fact that you’re able to do that for them as well with their own stories.

  9. Eve says:

    I just want to say THANK YOU, for sharing your story with the world. When reading your posts I read some of the comments and can’t help smiling at how you and CJ are helping other people deal with this sensitive topic which others look down at. My heart goes out to all the children and parents who don’t have the support or the courage to accept their child’s or family members lifestyle fearing what others may say….I’M GLAD FOR PEOPLE LIKE YOU and even though I’m not going through a situation such as yours, I enjoy reading your posts because it continues to ground those of us who care and accept EVERYONE as an individual.

    Thank you!!! And Thanks to CJ for being such a beautiful soul.

  10. Charity Stafne says:

    Dearest Lori,
    I can not thank you enough for Your courage, honesty and humor! My son, Dane is gender non-conforming. You have helped us through this last year as we are trying to figure things out. I feel like Dane is CJ and our family is following in your footsteps. Dane is 6. He is the most lovable, sweet, cuddly child. I adore him and his innocence and purity of what he loves and who he is. My husband is Matt, it’s just to funny. And as I read your book and your blog, I feel I cry when you cry and struggle where you have. You have made me laugh, cry many many times and just appreciate that we are not alone on this journey! We just recently met with a gender therapist to discuss if he is trans. But for now she has told us to breathe, relax and be patient in the ambiguity! Easy for her to say! But I am trying to step back in needing to know all answers and just enjoy every second I have with my child. We are going to start meeting with some gnc support groups which will be good for Dane and us. And I showed him your blog and pictures of CJ. He refers to him on many occasions. “See mom, I’m like CJ!” Or “This is like what CJ would do”. He watches his Barbie glitter glitter fashion show over and over and ‘My love is your drug’ is ingrained in all of our heads! I wouldn’t have it any other way. I wish you didn’t live on the other side of the country. Especially it being winter in Michigan! I know there’s plenty of haters out there, but please know you have a huge appreciation from mom’s like us who will fight any obstacles for our little ones! Thank you for making the fight a little less scary and not so alone.

    • MM says:

      Awwwwww Charity, this is so so sweet. Just want you to know I’m sending some appreciation and joy for all this sweetness.

  11. Pingback: Reblogging: When a Boy Friend Becomes a Girl Friend | doubleinvert

  12. Nicky says:

    Way back in the day end of seventies and beginning of eighties I was very much like CJ and considering a small town in a small Eurooean country my parents were wise tobe me. Later on I “learned” to bea shamed of my childhood but now at forty I am ok with my past and am happy as a gay man. Things seem a way of working out and CJ is a very lucky boy to have a supportingfamily – and the other way around as well!

  13. Secrets says:

    This was very well written, It caught my attention and I loved reading it. Thanks for sharing!

  14. jolenemariep says:

    Congrats to you for being non judgemental, i love this post and that is why i decided to follow you

  15. dailyraces says:

    I wish I could help my son more. He feels he is a girl on the inside and a boy on the outside. I don’t know where to go for support for him. Literally no clue where to turn. The minute we get home from school he goes and puts on his sisters clothes. Wishes he could wear it to school – which we’ve told him he can, but he chooses not to. He’s so sensitive and it kills him when kids tell him he acts like a girl. I need help. Support.

    • mdaniels4 says:

      He’s so sensitive and it kills him when kids tell him he acts like a girl.

      That is exactly what’s so wrong. I so am appreciative of women, and support gendered rights so much that to me that should be a big compliment. But just by your comment alone says that’s a slam and the trouble is both men and women believe it to be a slam.

      And i sincerely have an honest question. I’d really like someone to answer for me. What does everyone mean by feeling like a boy or a girl, as a specific gender? To me that’s like asking what the color blue or ted feels like, and how does this differ from how orange feels like?

      I know how straight or gay feels, or at least straight since i can only assume feeling gay is not like feeling straight. But when one says i feel like a boy does that mean i feel like someone else who put my feelings in a box said this is how a boy feels? Same with the girl box? If i feel like a girl today does that mean it’s because i today decide to wear a skirt and makeup? But tomorrow if i go shopping in jeans and decide no makeup do i now feel like a man? This makes absolutely no sense to me. Now i do get the socialization training we each get and being raised a girl is different in tone and teachings than being raised as a boy. My only dissonance then should be, am i, as a male fitting into this man box completely or do i feel guilty when i’m not 100% in there. And i can’t believe all of us aren’t inside the lines 100% of the time. So it it a question of how much of the external i am violating, and if so can someone tell me what that line is? If thats the case, pwrhaps i’ve already crossef the allowed amount but to date no one has told me i have. Therefore i know what guilt or maybe shame is but to me the objects alone should have no guilt or shame attached to them. And obviously today there is less guilt or shame feelings of a girl not being completely in the box vs a boy not so. So if a girl can experience less shame then why not a boy? I am pretty sure i know how i am feeling as a human, that is something more innate to us, that is not trained in from externals. But i’m not so confident that for most of us the feelings of gender are not almost completely generated externally.

      If someone could ponder this with me i would really appreciate it. Gosh i do love this blog and the community of open minded people. Thank you.

      • This is a complicated question to answer, because there are multiple layers of answers. To start off, I’ll say that I’ve had feelings of being transgender, or at least non-binary/gender nonconforming, all my life. I started to realize it around 15 and really began to consider and explore these feelings at about 19.

        On one level, you’re right, it’s all about the socialization. Society tells us that there are certain things boys do, and certain things girls do, and to cross that line is varying levels of unacceptable, depending on what you’re doing. I see girls and, usually, feel a subconscious pang of jealousy. Because of the clothes they were that I’m not allowed to wear; their hair, their jewelry, their body language, everything about their socialized expression of themselves that they use, I want to be able to use in society without being judged negatively. Is that because those things are intrinsically female? I doubt it; I think those expressions and clothes and attitudes have been taught to them because they’re girls, and I want it because I want to (at least some of the time) be a girl on the outside as much as I feel on the inside.

        What makes me feel this way? The answer is that I don’t have an answer. I’m not a doctor, I’m not a psychologist; my field is early childhood education, so I can offer the barest of insight, and I’ve studied gender nonconformity and gender identity disorder, but nowhere near to my own satisfaction of being able to answer “why”. But I do feel these things. Ever since I was a child, the toys I wanted, the Halloween costumes I wanted, the favorite cartoon characters, tended to lean toward girls’ toys and characters. I did have baseball, and Ninja Turtles, and so on, but that goes back to socialization. Those were things I did because that’s what I did with my parents. I sought independently the “girly” shows and toys. Not nearly to the degree that someone like C.J. does, I’d say, but enough to make me look back on it and go “oh”. I’ve gone down the road to a highly female-dominated profession (early childhood education), not consciously, but because that’s the environment I feel comfortable being in.

        And then I feel it in my bones. I’ve had moments of crisis where I’ve laid on the floor and felt physically, literally hollow inside because I knew I could never bear a child. That’s not something that’s socialized. Moments like those come from somewhere deep and express themselves completely and devastatingly. It’s amounted to full panic attacks where I was unable to move. I do believe it extends beyond the social to how our brains are hardwired, to some degree.

        This sort of thing is experienced differently by people that are transgender; my explanation doesn’t hold true for everyone. But with the people I’ve talked to, I hear similar sorts of things from them. Your mileage may vary.

      • mdaniels4 says:

        Thank you Garen for your thoughts. You’re right it is a complicated question. The part about sadness of not being able to conceive is important to this discussion in that while you and i may have similar feelings re: outward fashion between the genders, i’ve not had the internal feelings of desiring to be pregnant. Otoh, there’s probably a bazillion women who also have no desire to have a child. I really hope to hear from others as this i don’t think this aspect of human sexuality has been explored beyond the surface.

      • Jim says:

        I have wondered about the same question, and it makes me wonder a bit about what all the talk of gender fluid really means. There is clearly very little intrinsic difference mentally between males and females,and a society that socialized kids differently could probably eliminate it from adults or come very close. History shows us that clearly there is nothing intrinsically masculine or feminine about clothes and colors excet for clothes like a jock strap that serveno purpose for any but a specific sex. The Roman men all wore skirts and found men in trousers to be effeminate. Pink was once a boys color, and it goes on and on. When a person who is sexually male says they feel feminine when they wear a skirt, what do they mean? If you say, that they wish they had a vagina, then I see the meaning. But if it just means that they identify with some of the stereotypes our society associates with females, then I don’t understand. I like to wear skirts and dresses, but don’t feel a bit female when I do so. The question is whether there is really a difference between me and theman who also likes to wear such things and says he feels he is thereby getting in touch with his feminine self. Is it just the degree to which we identify with female stereotypes of our society, or something different? I do not see myself as presenting as a oman in any way; heperhaps does. What does that mean? I’d love to hear if anyone has any further answers.

      • mdaniels4 says:

        I think that was my point when I posited that a better way to describe folks and a more comprehensive view of them is when I mentioned a scale. MSM70. That is male, straight, male identifying 30% non conforming. This makes sense to me as no one is 100% unless there is something seriously being hidden.

        And that’s why I also said it is society that made a mistake. We are talking about likes and fashion, which change through time. We are not talking absolutes, just how things are viewed. And that’s what concerns me about this. I mentioned before about someone being truly transgendered and someone gave me the impression they were offended. I meant no offense, just trying to make sense of it all. That’s what rational people do without malice. I don’t think folks who express parts of themselves of the opposite gendervare transgender at all. They incorporate aspects of both genders to varying degrees. Hence 70, 50 or 95. There are some truly transgendered because of genetics. They might be MSF80. They deserve recognition of being in the wrong body. But I think the vast majority of people fall into biological congruence with their internal feeling, M, then either really are S or G but then to what degree are they expressing their internal feeling of their own gender.

        I will use CJ as an example, leaving out his eventual sexual self. M-M50. 50 is my arbitrary value of course but he is happy to express equally his feminine and masculine attractions. Perhaps he might be M-M30 for all I know, or really care. But in this case it has been stated. CJ is male, he identifies as a boy and has a penchant for female thongs and a sense of beauty. And that is wrong why? Only because society says it is so, which is why I think it is society that is !making the mistake in this regard.

        I really hope folks don’t think I’m labelling, judgmental or hateful in any sense. I wouldn’t be here if that be the case. We’re all here navigating a new frontier and trying to make it as easy as possible a transition to understanding and acceptance. Thank you.

      • Jim says:

        I meant to reply earlier to your reply to me but got too busy. I don’t understand your numbers, like in MSM70. That is supposed to mean that someone is 30% gender nonconforming. But nonconforming to what? I wear skirts as a man. Does that make me gender nonconforming to some degree? I don’t consider skirts to be feminine. And given how they are worn around the world by men, I think I have a point. Though I’d still be right if no man wore them. After all, when women started wearing pants, no women were wearing them anywhere and historically few if any women had ever done so. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that these women were gender nonconforming. They just thought that pants should not be thought of as male clothing. Or do we say that the women back then were gender nonconforming but the ones today that have the same attitude are not gender nonconforming? That would not make sense. The only thing I think you can mean has to do with how someone sees themselves. But that may or may not be how others see them. Or maybe you mean how much a man thinks he fits the macho stereotype. But again, I reject that this is what it means to be masculine. It seems to me that I could be mentally and appearance-wise exactly like someone you might consider as 30% gender nonconforming, yet think of myself as completely masculine simply because I reject that the 30% has anything to do with gender. In that case, what do your numbers mean? How closely I fit a certain stereotype? But even the stereotypes are not uniform across regions and time or even subgroups of people in the same region and time. So at best you might have a fuzzily-defined 30%. The only thing I can imagine as left is the question of whether one sees oneself as someone of the sex which one’s body parts are identified as. But I suspect that is not really what you want it to mean as that would leave out appearance and mental attributes (e.g., how empathetic one is, how one thinks). If one rejects all gender stereotypes as just culturally conditioned, then I don’t see what’s left of your 30%.

      • mdaniels4 says:

        Thanks for your thoughts, Jim. I think they are valid for discussion, which really is the main point. The way it currently is is thay there is a binary of this OR that, which i was trying to be more inclusive of both/AND. Today we have no real discussion of differences and while we all know that is not true we fall into a trap that society says we must be one or the other or we must be the other.

        Since none of us live in a vacuum, and we are only having this discussion because of the views outside of us, regardless of whether we view things one way, the number class is a reflection of the outside view, not the internal view. It is intended to be arbitrary and changing to reflect changing social values. Over time this view does change.

        The current view has a place on the spectrum of what a man or women should be. When the individual falls outside that is when fears, shame, bullying etc become a problem in the life of most individuals. But for example if we know that being off 30% with a range of say 50-70 as being the bell norm, which as it stands right now the bell norm most people would view, for men anyway, would probably be closer to 85-95, then think how much more freeing it would be to able to express oneself in a social structure that now sees a wider range? To more easily incorporate aspects of both the feminine and masculine in the individual at any point in time.

        All of us know a venn diagram. The curtent view is a rather small area of congruence between men and women in the overlap of the 2 circles. We’ve all seen flip charts of descriptors that begin with men are…. and women are…. then they have all the words underneath them. But these are social projections not what the individual feels describes themselves as. My view and i think is what is challeging in gender studies is that we know these are social projection vs real. But we don’t know how to combat them. I see that venn as more of a much larger congruence as a descriptor of being human with the aspects of male and female being more like 1/8 sliver of the moon on both sides of the area. Tjere are some that see two separate circles while most probably see a large circle are on both sides and a small area of overlap and instinctively i think this does not reflect reality, which i think social biologists understand when they are more commonly referring to the gender spectrum of human behavior.

        Of course this is not intended to be a be all to end all. Much more work needs to be done for validity. But it is meant to promote that work, to promote real conversation and to shift a paradigm that obviously is not working sufficiently well.

    • Secrets says:

      The only thing you can physically and emotionally do is be there for your son? May I ask how old he is? I’m 17 years old and people are always going to judge you no matter what, if he needs a friend, not that you’d want him to be friends with a stranger but I am more than glad to help him find positive ways to respond to this. I’ve been bullied so I personally know what it feels like, also I am a girl. I can help if you need me to, at least as a support system. I don’t judge and I generally love helping others. It’s what I was put on this earth to do. Your son needs stability in his life, if he doesn’t feel that, then he won’t be happy with himself or the way others see him. He needs to find out that he is normal, and he isn’t an outsider, and people do want to be there for him, and also he needs to feel like he has people there for him during this time. Just some thoughts. Tell him to keep his head up, once high school and everything is over his life will be so much easier and he’ll wonder why he ever fretted in the first place. And as his mom, you have to be strong for him too, you keep your head up.

    • Charity Stafne says:

      I was recently recommended to see a gender therapist. Also there are support groups for gender non-conforming. Don’t give up….for your child! Call some regular therapists to help you find a gender therapist

    • MM says:

      Dailyraces: look for a PFLAG group in your area. While PFLAG is mostly parents of GLB people, they are working to learn and support more with gender issues. If nothing else, they may be able to help you with listening and understanding the difficulties you are having. You can also look for any transgender groups (for adults) in your area. Ask at the closest GLBT support center. The phone number 211 refers for all social services in my area. You can go to the website for Gender Spectrum (in California). They are a support organization for families with kids like yours. Call them and ask for help. I think they have a phone support group and other supports.
      Even though there are not as many resources as we’d like, there are SOME. Please keep reaching out to find them.

    • LiberalMom says:

      There is a wonderful group on Facebook called “Parents of Transgender Children”….there are over 1500 of us, parents to kids of all ages (3- and up to 40+), there are many parents there that are in the beginning stages of this….many parents of gender non-conforming kids who really just need to learn more and maybe see if there are signs they may have missed. It is a private group, but you can request to be a member by sending in a short snippet on why this group would be beneficial to you. Best of luck. Take a deep breath and welcome on the journey 🙂

  16. Lisa says:

    This is beautiful! I wish I had had a clearer understanding of gender and what it means when I was that young. I am about to turn 30 and I’m still struggling to tell people, with confidence, that I am genderfluid.

    I sometimes feel feel I have to explain too. I tell people sometimes I’m a girl, sometimes a boy, sometimes neither, sometimes both. I am also learning that while it’s nice to have these labels sometimes it’s nice to just be me, without the burden of any gender at all.

    I wonder if your son might feel that way too as he gets older, maybe he is this or that but also he’s just himself, and that is enough.

  17. Taylor says:

    Your post has brought me to tears. I am 18 right now. I wish that I was able to have as much confidence as C.J to articulate who I am inside, It was not until my teens that I realized that I was gay. Then later I realize that I did not feel like a female ore male., both didn’t fit. You are doing the right thing. Our society is not very comfortable with non-binary genders yet. Your blog has given me a lot of comfort and perspective through my journey. I have been fallowing you from the beginning. Thank you. (From Canada)

  18. Diana says:

    What a great kid! Your son is exactly like mine (and so many others out there who are gender nonbinary and so misunderstood). He’s been the only kid at the camp I founded (www.campbornthisway.org) who identifies as gender creative/gender fluid and not trans. He will be 12 in May. Just like having kids around gay people, your child will not “become trans” just by hanging out with trans kids. They may feel envious that their transitioned friends get to wear dresses and not be questioned, which makes my heart break, but it won’t fundamentally shift their identity. Our kids have a tough path to take as gender outliers, but I am seeing such a huge shift in the gender conversation over the last five years. Also, I’ve taken to introducing my son to other gender fluid adults so that he can see others like him and know that it IS a thing. I dream of a day where the world stops caring about how people choose to dress their bodies. What a beautiful world that will be! Also, be on the lookout for Lindsay Morris’ book coming out in April, “You are You”. CJ will get to see tons of boys just like him in her gorgeous photographs.

  19. Jen says:

    Thank you so much for this story. I honestly suck at talking to my son who is a month older than CJ. I am scared to fully explain transgender to him even though we have gone to camp with a few transgender kids I have been scare that it will influence him just like you were scare. I promise both of us I will do better.

    • LiberalMom says:

      You will not influence your kid to be Transgender. Either they are, or they are not. If they insist that they are the opposite gender of what they were born for a long period of time (often years if you don’t listen very carefully). Just ask your son who he sees when he looks in the mirror….My child (transgender, mtf) when asked who she saw in the mirror said; “a girl, I always saw a girl”. Very profound to find out that the kid you took to the barbershop every 3 weeks for buzz-cuts always saw herself as female….. Oh the things you will learn when parenting!

  20. karen2432 says:

    Lori,

    I have been following you for about 3 years now, and your posts always make me happy. Even when you have to deal with utter BS like that situation with your school pta, I love each update that you gift us with. I am writing to let you know that this post about Samuel was just incredibly unexpected and beautifully written. I admit that after reading your posts for years, I was surprised when I read your book that you seemed to be strongly suggesting C.J. could be transgender. For some reason, that had never occurred to me in all of your posts. I just had this idea in my head that C.J. is a lovely gay boy who really likes “girlie” things. Of course, I have this idea in my head because I have my own C.J. (But his name is Jason) and reading your blog has been very eye opening and helpful to me as I process all the actions and ideas Jason encounters on a daily basis.

    I loved this particular post because there is so much emotion you shared that C.J. is struggling with. So many people underestimate young kids and their level of processing very serious topics and emotions. It was just incredibly kind of you to share this with us because it truly is such a personal thing. Hearing how C.J. is being forced (by his own pressure, clearly not any pressure from you) to choose how he would like to identify shows how comfortable C.J. is with the fact that he is allowed to take is time and ensure he knows what he is truly feeling. I am so encouraged with the fact that he will never have to wonder how his family will accept his gender or anything else, for that matter.

    I wish I lived in CA because I would jump at the chance to start a small school to provide a safe and loving environment for gender fluid children. Every time you post anything about support groups and meet ups, I am a little jealous that I cannot provide that for my son. As it is, I continue living a relatively sheltered life in military towns trying to protect my little one from the world while desperately trying not to stifle any of his natural tendencies to gravitate toward “girlie” things. Your blog helps me be a better and more accepting mother and teacher (I currently teach high school).

    Sorry for the ramble-y post, but I was just very motivated to remind you how much you are appreciated for sharing this journey with us.

    Sincerely,

    Karen Ostrowski

    >

    • LiberalMom says:

      Oh Karen!! Not sure what post/military town you are at, but let me tell you: there are many others in your shoes: me included. There is help, and most likely a playgroup somewhere. I am in NC, and have a friend with a trans daughter in CO, and I know of others as well……Contact your local PFLAG and ask if they have a group for young children…..they often do!!

  21. mdaniels4 says:

    I think in the end society must be the one making the mistake. While of course we know there are truly transgendered individuals, perhaps such as Samuel is, or perhaps at this stage Samuel really doesn’t know how to express his inner self as being all this or all that. CJ obviously does to some extent.

    CJ clearly is now defining himself as a boy, that’s what he feels inside, and what is his biological body. But what he’s also saying is that there are things that are labelled feminine that he likes too. And the real question is why we have put so much emphasis on stuff to label them, and those who like stuff get labelled even further. I like a lot of so called feminine things. Fabrics, colors, fashion, etc. I truly see them only as things I like. But I also know that if I incorporate them then I am subjected to another layer of labelling that has not one iota of truth to it beyond I’d like to incorporate that thing into my sense of being, but allegedly I am required not to do so.

    Girls are allowed by this nebulous structure to have a bit more leeway than boys do. Most people believe that’s great, shows modern thinking! But then turns right back around and says “but you, me boyo, are not entitled to my belief in modern thinking.”. How truly crazy is that??

    I want to see this whole messed up logic confronted and be held accountable for what it has done to all of us. And I really think it’s time we start demanding answers.

    • Rose H says:

      There is a long history of pain and oppression behind the phrase “truly transgender”. It starts with medical caregivers limitting access to trans health care to those deemed to be “truly transsexual”. It continues into the trans people recapitulating this into a variety of selective views about which identities are legitimate and which are not. It creates a barrier to self-recognition by making gender questionning people feel that there is some litmus test that will tell them which prescribed path they should take.

      The transgender/cisgender binary is just as suspect and problematic as the male/female binary. There is no point where one begins and the other ends. There is no point where social transition (or medical transition, for that matter) starts being either the answer or the definition. Sophie gets to change (or not) her understanding of what is right for her. That change does not mean that she was confused or wrong before.

  22. C.J sounds like a remarkably mature and responsible boy (who’s probably making fart or burp jokes as I type this LOL). But seriously, I love how insightful he is.

  23. dmcco01 says:

    Sometimes I feel like I need to walk around with a sign like that that also informs people that I am a straight woman, even if you don’t think I look like one, and I am available and awesome!

  24. Isabelle says:

    This is a beautiful post. Have had similar discussions with my gender creative child. It is amazing how clear things are for him. He is continually teaching us about gender identity vs gender expression. It seems like it is much more confusing for other people than it is for him. Thank you for sharing this, it is really helpful knowing we are not alone.

  25. riselikeair says:

    Reblogged this on Rise Like Air and commented:
    It’s about just being you. Because that’s what you should be.

  26. riselikeair says:

    I truly appreciate that CJ is teaching me that it’s about being people, not about being a gender. We’re all just people, doing our thing. That’s the way it should be. Thank CJ for helping me really understand this. CJ is just an awesome kid, it doesn’t matter what colours he likes, what clothes he likes or even what names he likes. He can choose any of those things because they’re just things. CJ will always be CJ, no matter the colour of nail polish or the style of outfit. I think that’s exactly how it should be. Way to go CJ and Mom (and dad and brother too).

  27. Ziya Tamesis says:

    I have to clarify my gender for myself practically every day. Sometimes multiple times per day.

  28. Evolving Gender says:

    Reblogged this on A. William Walker- Educator and LGBTQIA Activist and commented:
    A great insight of how gender is a different experience for everyone.

  29. Lori, as always, thank you for allowing us to see a glimpse of life inside…thank you for your gentle acceptance and fierce love of CJ. I can tell you that from my own perspective and experience, these waves come…back, forth, tides of being ebb and flow and sometimes criss cross. It is quite the ocean to navigate, and you are steady as Polaris…bless you for that!!

    Definition will emerge for CJ, the certainty is there already…just not the definition yet, like a film coming into focus. Your love makes the focusing means easy to twist and dial, and allows for easy course corrections. It also serves as a corrective lense for everyone outside while CJ develops his/her own language. I am impressed that s/he knows that sometimes s/he needs to tell others…because it is in that recounting our own hearts hear our tale…we are talking to ourselves.

    Bless you for making that dialogue okay.

    I pray for you both…a lot. I rest in the hope, the certain hope that love conquers all, and Mama allows ups, downs, storms and still seas as the makings of the miraculous ways that love overcomes all, and leaves us with a tale to rival the ancient greek heroes’ own!

    With much love and support from afar,
    Charissa Grace

  30. kattrinna says:

    You have a very brave and smart boy.

  31. expectantmummy says:

    Reblogged this on expectant mummy and commented:
    Amazing mums raising gender non conforming and transgender children. This blog shows the right way to do it. Xxx

  32. Lisa W. says:

    Yet another brilliant post from a wonderful mom. Thanks for being who you are. Thanks for advocating for your kids. Thanks for giving me hope.

  33. Good Job Mom!!! I have a 16 month old boy that I adopted 2 months ago and I love reading your post. I feel they’ll help me to be a better mom. My son seems to be all boy but my wife and I give him “girl” toys as well as “boy” toys and at this age he plays with them equally but we are seeing him prefer trucks and tractors. Because of reading your book and post I have made sure to never push one gender or activity on him. Thank you

  34. Glenn says:

    Our five-year old has just learned the word ‘transgender’, from I Am Jazz, and identifies as transgender now, even though there has never been any social transition or any apparent desire to transition. This fits with our understanding of the term as an umbrella for a variety of individuals whose gender identity and/or expression varies from the apparent gender assigned at birth, but not with the common usage of someone who has transitioned to present socially as the {binary) alternative gender. We get a variety of responses when inquiring about our kid’s gender, including ‘girl AND boy’, and lately the ‘non-binary’, and ‘gender fluid’ labels have begun to seem like a good fit (and others: bi-gender, genderqueer). But all of this is a little bit of an academic exercise, more for our comfort as parents than for our child, although maybe it helps a bit for all kids to learn the variety of ways people have been defining their gender – maybe providing a sense of freedom, at some level, to grow the be the person that they want to be, unrestricted by someone else’s artificial categories.

  35. jackijons says:

    Wonderful post! I applaud your attitude!

  36. bryan says:

    you and your son have taught me so much about gender. thank you for the insight!

  37. Hmm, I wonder, if in time, CJ will gravitate to a non-binary gender identity. If you follow tumblr like I do you find more and more teens and older people like me identifying as neither male or female but genderqueer, agender, neutrosis, bigender, etc. Many of these people may not feel as uncomfortable with their bodies as binary transgender people but see their identity is as another way of viewing gender that matches their inner selves. I suspect this will be come more common as time goes by. It’s just a thought. I myself have begun to view myself as agender or genderqueer so this is obviously on my mind.

  38. Denise says:

    What a thoughtful and wonderful post. I’m happy that CJ seems to be handling the changes his friend made in a way that is best for him.

  39. jackie8504 says:

    ALL kinds of strange thing happen in life.

  40. harriet says:

    wonderful! cj knows exactly who he is and what he wants to be.

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