About Transparenthood

trans·par·ent: tran(t)s-ˈper-ənt

a : free from pretense or deceit

b : easily detected or seen through

c : readily understood

d : characterized by visibility or accessibility of information

Transparenthood™ was a long time in coming, something I have wanted to do since we began our search for answers back in 2004 and found very little good information about transgender children (or gender variant children, which is the more common name used by the medical community).    What I uncovered back then terrified me and proved less than accurate to be kind, or flat out wrong if I were to be completely candid.  It was at that point that I knew I needed to capture what we have learned to make things easier for others someday.  Fast forward seven years, throw in an unexpected retirement from a 21-year corporate career and the accumulation of what already feels like a lifetime of experiences, and the time was finally right for me to share our story.

I am the mom of a transgender child.  Put in the most simple of terms Sam’s mind and biology do not match.  Sam was assigned female at birth, but has identified as being male since he could speak and is now living his life as one.  It is my hope that in sharing our uncommon journey through this blog, it will help families in the same situation find solace, and for society at large to discover acceptance for people who really are just like you and me.


25 Responses to About Transparenthood

  1. Dorothy Eckstrom says:

    You are off and running with a great start. I look forward to your next blogs and am proud to be a member of your family!

  2. Thank you says:

    Beautifully written blog. You are doing a wonderful service to the world by providing an open and informative resource to so may people in similar situations. Thank you and keep up the posts!

  3. Mighty says:

    Thank you for sharing. I look forward to reading more and being educated.

  4. Heidi says:

    I love the way you write. What a wonderful way to honor your son and to bring more of the public to the, although unusual, normal life that Sam otherwise lives. Why is the sexual orientation so important to everyone, and why be judged on it? Sam is fortunate to have great parents who let him be who he is.
    We have a young girl (born a boy) at our church who has a wonderful family too that let her be who she was born to be. It has been an amazing transformation from a really unhappy little boy to a bouncing, smiling little girl. One would never know that she was born a boy.
    Thanks for sharing your story with the rest of us, and I look forward to reading more!

  5. Bella says:

    I’m glad to read your blog, My son is a “girly” boy and my daughter is so far (she is only almost two) a prissy tomboy so it’s nice to read about children who don’t fit the mold

  6. janelle holmvig says:

    Thank you for writing about your son. My oldest son is gay, and it has been a walk that has led us to many loving friends. I wish you the same on your journey.
    I have to confess, I have become somewhat of a mother bear.
    By the way, you may already be acquainted, but PFLAG has been a wonderful place for us to just “be”. I always say that PFLAG kids are all Lake Wobegone kids–above average in every way. I believe that.
    Here’s to a new world, where our kids are loved and embraced as God intended.

    Janelle Holmvig

  7. Grateful says:

    Thank you so much for this website. Within the last week I learned my child is female trapped in a male body. It hurts so much to know she has lived in silence and depression for 5 years. I am very open and understanding feeling every person should live the life they way they need to be happy and comfortable. I am a worrier so my fears are huge: all are related to safety (we live in a state that is not understanding), relationships, jobs. That is why I am so grateful for this website and others like it. I have been reading websites since the day I found out to ensure I can help guide and support my child and to come to terms with my fears for her. I am amazed at how much this has changed my outlook on life: for the better. I can only hope her father will be as quick to understand when she gives the approval to let him know.

  8. Kimberly Harrison says:

    I have a transgender male to female 7 yr old !! It has been so lonely and finding this blog has helped knowing that we are not alone. April is so happy since she has transitioned!!..thanks ..looking forward to the next one

  9. Ian says:

    This is an amazing blog for parents of kids like me. I’m finally ready to really come out and tell my parents how I feel, so I was looking for someone or something to show them they aren’t alone. It wont be easy for their 16 year old “girl” to tell them im a guy inside. I’m definitely showing them this blog. I think it will help so much. Thank you for being so brave and tell Sam good luck for me. He’s amazing for letting his story be shared.


  10. Peter Gokey says:

    Leslie, I had no idea this was YOU! I have posted links to your blog on my Facebook page and referred people to it before for good reading on raising gender non-conforming kids. Little did I realize, I knew the parent behind the curtain, so to speak!

    Bravo on such a brave and inspiring blog. I thought you were a pretty dynamic lady when I first met you at Chipotle last fall, but I didn’t realize the extent of how terrific you are. I am honored to know you!

    Your son is so luck to have you in his life.

  11. Stephanie says:

    I have been in (happy) tears reading your entries. I have become fairly certain in the last year that one of my 4 year old twins is a trans-girl, and we are in the process of navigating the confusing, sometimes painful issues of: clothing, pronoun use, and the reactions of our family, let alone what we will do when the kids enter Pre-K this fall. This is all so hard, but what I do know is that my baby is so much happier with the dresses and the bows. I can be strong, but it feels like the whole world is working against us. I feel so lost, and your blog offered some much-needed solace today. I will be looking forward to reading more. :)

    I don’t know if you have the time to respond to questions, but if you do – what, if any, steps did you take towards getting your son evaluated at the point that you realized he was trans? We have an appointment to see a child psychiatrist early next month, because our pediatrician – while very kind – was clueless and had no idea what to do with us. What resources have you felt were useful?

  12. KD says:

    I am so glad I found your site! Thank you for sharing your story with all of us. We have a transgender son who is 13 and going through major depression. As you know, it is a very complex set of issues to deal with all at once when trying to face the realities of coping in a binary-dominated world. Our kids are the bravest, most amazing people I can imagine, having to come to grips with concepts and questions that have no fixed answers, and to carry on in spite of the multiple daily challenges others can so easily take for granted. I can also say that we parents are warriors as well. The ups and downs, trials and fear are real, but we all triumph and fail, succeed and celebrate together as a community, no? We are paving the path, making history as we go. It is really hard, but there it is. My heart sings for all of you parents and kids going through this as well. You are not alone.

    Peace, strength and compassion to everyone who is on this blog!

  13. CB says:

    I’m so thankful to have found your blog. My child has been ocessionaly asking profoundly advanced questions about gender identy, and often expresses a ‘want’ of clothing or costumes of the opposite gender. And while it may be simple curiousty, I feel I need to be better prepared in case its more so I can be supportive as well as knowledgeable of the challenges that might come our way. So thank you for your candid sharing of life, such a blessing!!

  14. Kaiden says:

    Thanks so much for this website, I’ve been looking for a website like this to show my parents. I’m a sixteen year old FtM that recently came out to my parents who haven’t been very understanding.

  15. Theresa says:

    I am so happy to find this blog!
    Yesterday was a big day for my M2F child.. The psychiatrist signed off on a referral to an endocrinologist … something we were told he would never do and I knew going in that it didn’t matter as we would find a referral somewhere. We already had an assessment from a gender therapist recommending hormones but the endocrinologist wouldn’t do it without the child hood psychiatrist signing off.
    It was also the first day we got my daughter’s ears pierced, and the first day she let me put makeup on and the first time we went out to dinner while she was dressed more girly.. We also ran into an old friend who didn’t bat an eye.. lots of firsts yesterday. She wouldn’t do all these things before because she didn’t think there was hope. She couldn’t “pass”.
    Yet I have tears… my child soon to be 19 hasn’t finished high school. Hid in her room most of last year … has said since she was 9 that she would kill herself at 18 and at no time did any of us clue in that it was because she couldn’t face the world in her male body. She hasn’t attended school regularly her whole life. She has few face to face friends. She has anxiety, she has depression. I feel as a mother and as a clinician and as an author and as a leader in the mental health field that I have let my child down.
    If only we had known and now she wouldn’t have to cope with big shoulders and big hands. She hates her body and hates her past. I have read blogs of trans folks who have jobs and relationships.. Her father and I feared first that she would kill herself , then she would be hiding in our basement her whole life.
    We just want her to be happy and our hope is that as she makes this move to be her authentic self that she will want to brush her teeth and shower. She said yesterday – she avoided all of these tasks for years because she couldn’t bear to look at herself in the mirror. She started laser hair removal for the beard she hates three weeks ago..hope it helps.

    I wish we knew earlier. I wish her teeth weren’t forever stained after her braces came off. However, today is today. Today we plan to go to Sears and purchase some clothes that she will like. I want to get her nails done. I hope that we can move forward and I can support my child to love herself. How amazing for families who know earlier. I am jealous.

  16. anonymous transgender kid says:

    I think this is a really cool blog. I’m an ftm transgender kid who’s recently come out to my parents and I think I’ll show her this site. keep on posting!!

  17. Nicole says:

    WoW ! Thank you. As the Mother of a Transgender child, It’s always great to find encouragement. As I was reading, I thought-It would be really neat to find a Respectable talk show that would be willing to profile a few families like ours AND completely fill the audience with families of Transgender children, then towards the end, have the Host make a point of who’s in the audience. I think that it would have a positive impact on anyone watching.

  18. Kelly says:

    I am so glad I found this. I think my 5 year old girl is transgender – she has dressed as a boy and said she wants to be a boy since she was 3. This weekend we finally allowed her to have the boy’s short haircut she has been so desperate for. And I feel so very sad that this may be the first step towards a long and difficult journey ahead. People keep telling me its just a phase but how long do I give it? when do I seek professional guidance? Her classmates all refer to her as ‘He’ and when her big sister saw her hair for the first time she told her “you’ve got 3 brothers now”.
    I saw the Whittington family video (about Ryland) while we were having her hair cut and it felt like fate. I keep watching it and crying because it rings so true.

    • admin says:

      I understand your sadness and fear. Right now the best advice that I can give you is to follow your child’s lead. They know who they are, just like you and I knew our identity from a young age. In my son’s case and those like him, it just so happens that the mind and body did not align. We denied his feelings until he was 8 years old, and that is something I will always regret. As far as when to seek professional advice, you might consider doing so now for yourself, to understand things better and maybe even to help you better cope. There are many many parents out here that have felt or still feel the way you do – please know you are not alone and that what you are feeling is completely normal! Please feel free to email me with questions or if you just want to talk – I am happy to lend an ear or shoulder!

  19. Bernadette Maynard says:

    Great site. Wish I had found it sooner.

  20. I’m so thankful to have found your blog. My child has been ocessionaly asking profoundly advanced questions about gender identy, and often expresses a ‘want’ of clothing or costumes of the opposite gender. And while it may be simple curiousty, I feel I need to be better prepared in case its more so I can be supportive as well as knowledgeable of the challenges that might come our way. So thank you for your candid sharing of life, such a blessing!!

    • admin says:

      Thank you for taking the time to send me this note – I am so happy that my blog has been helpful to you! Please remember you are not alone – there is an entire community of parents just like you and me out here that understands! Don’t hesitate to email me if you have any questions or just want to talk – I would be most happy to lend an ear and shoulder!

  21. Angela says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience and your son’s story with all of us. I am not a mom but my boyfriend’s daughter just tried to kill herself because she is actually a he. She came out and told him like a year ago that she was gay, I guess she was testing the waters and checking what his reaction would be, he was totally cool with it and supported her choice from day one, then a couple of month ago she asked him to call her by a different name, yes a male name and my bf was not so thrilled about it. Now he knows that his daughter was trying to tell him somehow that she in fact feels like a boy but the whole thing backfired. He is doing everything he can to support his kid but you know better than anyone this is not an easy transition, what worries him more is the reaction at school, his son is only 14 and kids can be very mean. I am doing my best too, I want to be there and support him and his son as well. This just happen a couple of weeks ago and we are still digesting it, he has a younger son and my concern is also how to explain this to him. Again thank you so much, your blog is a blessing for others living this situation and we need more people like you.

    • admin says:

      I am really glad that reading our experience is helpful to you – that is why I started writing this blog four years ago – I was desperately trying to learn how other parents were dealing with this situation and could not find anything so I started sharing our story. My hope is that you know you are not alone. It might take awhile to understand what your boyfriend’s child is feeling, but your unconditional support means more than you will ever know. Keep encouraging your boyfriend to do the same, for if this child feels loved and supported, they will not only survive, but thrive.

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