I remember when my second child was born, feeling so blessed because now I had one child of each gender. I’m not sure why that pleased me so much or why indeed I was so concerned with gender at all back then.
My first child was assigned female at birth. She was a beautiful baby and grew into a lovely, gentle, smart and witty young person. I never wanted to do the whole going mad for pink clothes or dolls thing but Gran, my then partners mother had brought up two sons, so the excitement of having her first female grandchild sent her into a shopping frenzy. She had plenty of cash to burn and soon my daughters wardrobe and toy box were stuffed disgustingly with pink and girly, girly, sparkly, princess themed SHIT. I secretly hated it but my daughter didn’t seem too bothered- new clothes were new clothes and any new toy was only exciting for the first few hours anyway (at best). I would try to sneak a few more gender neutral toys, books and clothes in there for balance. I guess having been a Tom boy myself who hated anything overly girly, I just didn’t go in for that stuff. However, I had plenty of friends that did so I saw no damage coming from this pretty pink onslaught. I recall the first ever baby grow I put on my eldest was made of blue and green striped material. I had no idea when I was packing my hospital bag, what sex my child would be, but I figured it didn’t matter so just chose one I liked the look and feels of. In fact I still have it stored in a memory box.
When my youngest was born, I had been single throughout the whole pregnancy and it was a stressful, lonely and painful time for me- both physically and mentally. I decided that this time I would find out the sex before the birth. It felt like it would make things easier, that I could better prepare if I knew. So I already had heaps of clothes, bedding, a few toys and play sets ready before his arrival. Strangely enough I had still chosen very gender neutral items, preferring the bright colours and fun patterns. It wasn’t like there was a tonne of blue and YOU MUST LIKE CARS AND FOOTBALL shoved on him the moment he arrived home.
Fast forward eight years and I sit here wondering- do I still have one child of each gender? what the hell is gender anyway and why are we so focused on treating people differently due to the type of genitals they have? I now know there are way more than two genders anyway.
Eight months ago my eldest came out to me as trans. He requested we all call him by a new name and address him by male pronouns. It didn’t come as a huge surprise to me and didn’t really trouble me at all, though it did take a bit of getting used to. As you can imagine Gran wasn’t best pleased and we have had a bit of a nightmare getting everyone on side and to be respectful. But as far as I’m concerned, as long as he is happy, healthy and being true to himself, I am behind him all the way. In fact I felt incredibly fortunate to be the first person he spoke to about it and that he knew it wouldn’t change anything between us. He is so much happier now. Before we had that chat together he had been quite down and was becoming increasingly self conscious, introverted and as it turns out- self loathing. Now he is living as his true self at home and with friends and family, he is brighter of spirit and his confidence has grown massively. He’s just a happy teenager and we are very close and get on fabulously…and I know a lot of parents who wish they could say that about their teenager, so I know how lucky I am.
Obviously he is now dressing as a boy and actually, though I loathe shopping we had a blast on our first shopping trip together. To see him so delighted made it all worthwhile. I have become a dab hand at cutting hair and he has rocked some pretty awesome hairstyles if I do say so myself.
My youngest child is now eight. And do you know what his favourite things are? well some are similar to his friends, such as Minecraft, Youtube (he has his own channel), gaming online or on the wii. He is also obsessed with pugs and pigs for some reason. But the thing he loves most is the colour PINK. He keeps telling me that when he is older he is going to have a pink car, a pink house and he might even have pink hair. He’ll ride a pink bike and keep pink pigs. He has been growing his hair for the past year and it’s now below his shoulders and thick and curly. It is a nightmare to brush and when he brings back head lice from school I sometimes wish he had short hair, so they would be easier to get rid of. But he loves his hair, almost as much as the pink wig he likes to parade around the house in, or my mother’s pink dressing gown he insists on wearing when he stays with her. He tells me that he thinks he would like it better if he were a girl. I must admit when he first said that I thought Fuuuuuuck…how on earth can I be raising two trans kids?! that can’t be true surely? I wondered if there was something about me that had caused this if I’m honest. But on reflection I think that what has happened is I am raising them in an atmosphere of acceptance. They know that as long as they are decent, kind human beings that anything else they decide to become, love or embrace is OK with me.
I don’t know if my youngest will continue to adore pink, but I know it doesn’t matter even slightly if he does. I don’t know if he will become more and more unhappy being perceived as male and decide to transition like my eldest is. All I know is that I love them, whoever they decide to be.