Summary List Placement
I walked into your new school feeling like it was my first day. I needed to talk to the principal about you, my 5-year-old transgender son who’s so excited about kindergarten. You’re ready, confident, and blissfully unaware right now that some people consider you “different” in a bad way.
Your principal looked at me and my nervous tears and said, “It’s OK. There’s no rule book for parenting children through this.” The principal’s words calmed me.
What they said to me is true for you, too. There’s no rule book for being a trans child. There’s no “right” way to do this. It’s up to you, to us, to figure it out because I promise: I will be with you every single step of the way.
We’ve decided that since you’re making your debut in a new school as your authentic self, only your principal and teacher need to know about your medical history. When it comes down to it, your private parts are no one else’s business.
Your identity is not a secret. You are bold and joyful, proud and passionate. You are perfect just as you are.
I’m learning as I go
I’m grateful you’ve told me who you are at such a young age and that you can charge ahead in your affirmed gender. But I’m unsure about what is your story to share and what is mine to own, or co-own.
Being trans is part of your identity, but it’s not all of you. So I want to give you the space to choose how much being trans is or isn’t attached to your outward-facing identity. Right now, at 5, you can’t tell me that.
People are not always going to understand you or us. That’s OK. You haven’t been put on this earth to tell us everything about what it’s like to be young and trans and how you’re figuring it all out. You’re here to live the truest, fullest life imaginable.
So have fun. Be yourself. You’re courageous and spirited, creative and thoughtful. And you are so very kind. Just as I hope every person you encounter in school will be kind to you, I hope you do your part to help spread kindness.
You never know someone else’s story, and you can’t assume you have a clue. Everyone has their own stuff going on at all times. If you extend kindness, you will feel good about that, and so will those who you encounter.
Still, being kind to yourself throughout this journey of figuring out who you are is most important.
Stand up for yourself and what you know is right. Dig into your well of courage and speak up if someone is being rude to you (or anyone else). If you don’t have the willpower to speak up at that moment, go talk to someone who can help you. Getting help is brave.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. No one knows everything. Ask about the things that confuse you. Ask yourself questions, even, so you can get to know who you are even more.
Lastly, please remember, I am always here, no matter what. I’m here to cheer when happiness prevails, to speak out when you cannot, and to give a killer pep talk when you need it most.
I’m here to see you for exactly who you are, at every stage you’ll go through in order to figure that out.
Editor’s note: The author has remained anonymous to not out their son during their journey coming out into the world in their preferred gender.