Monday, December 12, 2011


I am very fortunate to have my parents.  Before I was out, I told my father who later told my mother.  They were both so troubled, and one day in Barnes and Noble, they found Carol Lynn Pearson's book "No More Goodbyes."  My mom read most of it that night, and they decided that they wanted me to have the best coming out possible, and it was important to them that I felt safe and happy.  Well, when I came out as a lesbian, I was fairly ignorant and so were my parents.  We loved each other, but we both made mistakes, crossed lines, spoke important hurtful truths.  For the first several months, I had a hard time feeling heard because the response would so often be that I needed to understand that they were hurting.  They were always polite and kind to my girlfriend and have treated our relationship with respect as well.  When I came out, I was impatient.  I knew it had taken me so long to get where I was, but I wanted my loved ones to put aside my sexuality and love me for me.  My parents and I both did some things right and others wrong.

I moved away, and they went through papers in my room, including my journals, and what had been recorded, and what they read, was someone who had been in a heaping load of pain.  By the time I moved out, I was angry at almost every member of my family and I was glad for the separation.  I did talk to my little brother who told me that my mom hadn't stopped crying for two weeks, and that whenever anyone would mention my name, she'd cry again.  I think it's because they read those entries.  Three quarters of a year later, I called them and told them that I was transgender.  My father said they would love me no matter what, and that it was going to be an adjustment on their part.  He said, "I bet you've lost sleep over this."  They were empathetic and open and scared.  I sent them PFLAG's pamphlet "Welcoming Our Trans Families and Friends", and my mom read through it all.  Eight months later for Christmas, my mother restitched my father's stocking to have my name, Jack on it, and restitched my old stocking to have my girlfriend's name on it.  My father introduces me as his son, and they are both proud and happy of me.  My dad has been fighting for two years to get anti-discrimination laws in housing and employment to be voted on by the American Fork city counsel, and that will finally happen tomorrow.  My mom told me a few months ago that one day she realized my being gay or my being trans didn't actively hurt for her anymore.  That is beautiful and wonderful.

This last holiday, a person who used to be a very close and very good friend, met with me to chat.  She just got home from a mission and stopped by the house, because I asked if we could meet up.  She hasn't seen me since before I transitioned, and made a point to mention that I look exactly the same as I did pre-transition.  After a talk that led me to determine we go our separate ways, I remarked to my parents, "In my opinion, I do not think I look 'exactly the same' as I did two years ago", and my mom piped up with a disappointed (in my friend) quip, "She just needed to say that for herself."  It bothered her that someone had purposely pushed, for the sake of their own comfort, my female-ness forward.  I don't want to make it out like I think that my parents are emotional morons, so it's a miracle that they get me at all, but in this world, parents like these can be rare.  I am fortunate to have the parents I do.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Jack, that is amazing. You really do have wonderful, wonderful parents. Not everyone is so lucky. I'm very lucky to have my parents because I think they're so very loving and accepting.

    I think that if only all our parents had the chance to read our journals and to get a glimpse of what our own processes have been like then they might have an easier time getting through their processes and understanding us as their children. Perhaps we should try to be more open and honest with our loved ones? I don't know just how to go about letting someone see what our true process has been like--pain is difficult to share and particularly difficult to explain.