Written By: Dr. Lulu
Words that I used repeatedly to admonish my eldest child when she was younger. How I wish I could take those words back or never have said them. How I wish I never made her feel anything but whole.
During her final recital at the New England Conservatory of Music, she gave me accolades, lots of them. The audience gave me a special ovation and my heart was happy, but I didn’t miss it. While she praised me for supporting her music career, she didn’t mention my name when it came to supporting her gender and her transition.
She talked about her supportive peers, naming them one by one. She mentioned how their friendship and affirmations saved her life. She didn’t mince her words. I am very grateful for them; I only wish I had made the list.
As I sit and write this, my heart is heavy and sad. It is filled with tears unshed, words unspoken, hugs ungiven, love unshared. I am filled with emotions:
Why didn’t I affirm her when she was younger? Why was my heart closed to seeing her the way she really was? Why did I allow fear to reign and rain on me?
It has been 13 months since she shared her transgender identity and she/her pronouns. And it has been 7 months since she shared her new name with me.
Ironically, I picked that exact name for her in my mind. I know my child. I breastfed her for 22 months. I was there through her fevers as a newborn, her scrapes and bruises, her tests and exams, her recitals and awards. I knew the name I should have given her, and she ended up picking that name of all the names in the world!
Though relieved it’s all now out in the open, I am still sad sometimes. I am still scared of the unknown. She is transitioning, taking estrogen pills and testosterone blockers. She is finally free to be her “true self” as she said in her closing speech. I can only imagine what that must feel like.
I can’t begin to envision what it means to finally live free! Sheer, unadulterated freedom!
The freedom to breathe, to live life in your own skin, to be who you are … a concept that many of us take for granted: the freedom to exist and take up space.
The other day on the phone, she described our home as “very transphobic” when she was a child. All I could do was listen in regret. I could barely say the words “I am sorry,” without choking up. I wish I had never played a role in any of that, but I did.
And that is why I write this in tears. I implore you, dear mom/dad/parent, to read these words with an open heart. Affirm and support your LGBTQ+ child, period.
You are a vessel to bring your child into this earth. You are their first love. They are an extension of you. Loving them is a must. Understanding that they are individuals is a must. Allowing them to become who they are is a must.
Meet the Author
Pediatrician | Award-winning LGBTQ+ & D.E.I.B Advocate | Helping parents accept, affirm and support their LGBTQ+ children | Media Consultant | Event Host | MC | Podcaster | Bestselling Author | 3x TEDx Speaker | Mom of Transgender Child