Parenting, Politics, Raising a Trans Child, Ranting

Why Parents of Trans Kids Are A Special Kind of Tired

Yes. All parents walking the earth are tired.

We are all absolutely in solidarity with that fact.

We could all use about a week on a deserted island without any children, technology, or responsibilities of any kind.

But I feel the need to tell you about the special kind of tired that parents of transgender kids are experiencing.

It’s different than most versions of tired.

And this isn’t to “one-up”. And this certainly isn’t to take away from an LGBTQIA child themselves, their own struggles and hardships. This isn’t to take away from, or distract from… anyone.

This isn’t a competition.

This is just to simply explain and shed light on how we’re feeling, since it’s of my belief that we, the parents of trans youth, are living in our own marginalized community.

Unless we happen to live in some uber progressive area, we are all acutely aware of the discrimination that the trans community faces. We see it everyday, especially on social media. We hear it on the news, we see how the current administration is rolling back Obama-era LGBTQIA protections.

Or maybe we all aren’t as aware as I hope we are. Maybe that’s utopian of me. Because it doesn’t matter to most if it’s not personal, if it doesn’t hit your heart.

I’m not sure.

I digress.

Although the conversation about trans folks is seemingly becoming more expansive, even a bit more accepted amongst the general public, (especially with headlines such as the American Academy of Pediatrics recent policy statement on how to care for trans youth best is by affirming them), we still have such a long way to go overall.

And who is leading the fight for trans youth?

Parents. {Mostly. But not ever to slight or dishonor our trans warriors themselves.}

And it is indeed a fight.

The pioneer parents in this fight have been visibly on the scene for less than a decade. True publicity and awareness for trans youth has really only been discussed for the last 3-5 years. And amazing strides have been made in many ways.

I, myself, just joined the fight within the last 9 months.

And I. Am. Tired.

In the short amount of time I’ve been on a mama bear, warrior path, yes, I’m a special kind of tired.

Because we are the advocates, the fierce allies, the public speakers, the meeting schedulers, the school board meeting attendees, the researchers, the therapist seekers, the medical professional seekers.

We are the ones out in front of our kids with swords and shields, fighting like hell for equality and basic human rights.

We are fighting for our kids to be heard. To be seen. To be viewed the same as every other child.

We are fighting for policy changes, locally and globally.

We are fighting for bullying protections, for bathroom spaces, for name changes, for gender marker revisions, for medical care.

We are thinking about our children nonstop while they’re at school, wondering if others are being kind, if the correct name and pronouns are being used, if teachers are abiding by our requests, if our kids are being bullied, assaulted, chastised, outcasted.

We are wiping our kids’ tears for far different reasons than that of any other parents, fielding emotional meltdowns, especially when dysphoria hits our kids, when they loathe their bodies, when they’re frustrated.

We are navigating emotional issues when their peers reject them, when they can’t find jobs, when they can’t participate in sports with the rest of their cisgender peers, when others refuse to use their chosen name or intentionally misgender them, when adults harass them, when people tell them God hates them and they’re going to hell. When their classmates tell them they should kill themselves.

We are running to doctors to treat urinary tract infections because they held their pee all day so they didn’t have to use the bathroom in which they feel unsafe.

We are sometimes not even the biological parents fighting this fight. We are the amazingly unselfish, loving adoptive parents, accepting and affirming someone else’s child who was rejected by their own family, by their own blood. Just for living their truth.

All the while, we are simultaneously defending ourselves from hate.

We are falsely accused of pushing agendas, of having some sort of “liberal” brainwashing scheme that we are somehow instilling in our children and poisoning every other child within a 100 mile radius.

We are falsely accused of administering hormones and “mutilating” our children at the young ages of 7, 8, 9, and 10.

We are falsely accused of being crazy, of making our children mentally ill, of abusing our children, of allowing them to be transgender.

We are told we are wrong.

We are told that our children are confused, sick, misguided.

We are fighting false claims coming from anti-LGBTQ+ hate groups, Christian extremists, politicians, none of whom base their claims on facts or research. We fight the ignorance and dismissiveness of the general public.

We are the educators, the question fielders, the soundboards.

We are losing friends and families, fighting battles that our children might know nothing about.

We are fighting online trolls, personal attacks, worrying about safety for our families, especially since trans women are being murdered at alarming rates.

We are also having to pack away the child we thought we birthed, the assigned gender of our child, the hopes and dreams we had tied up in that little human. Some of us are even grieving a loss of sorts that’s very difficult for others to understand. We are grappling, struggling to understand what’s happening, how our child is feeling, how best to help them.

We are putting old pictures away that are hurtful to our kids, literally packing away our memories, careful to not use their birth name, vigilant about using the correct pronouns even though it might feel profoundly unnatural to us.

We are doing an unbelievable amount of emotional work.

And we are tired.

Because none of this is for us. This isn’t about us.

Because when we have children, nothing is about us, our needs, our wants.

Because this is about loving fiercely, loving unconditionally, and loving unapologetically.

Because this is about paving the very best path for our children that we possibly can, leading with love and acceptance, working with what we’re given in our hate-filled society.

Because that’s what makes our tired a different kind of tired: our tired involves fighting hate, discrimination, prejudice, erasure, and bigotry.

Unfounded, unacceptable, misaligned hate is pervasive in our lives. Just because our kids are trying to live their lives as who they really are, without hurting anyone or interfering with anyone else’s life.

They just want to live. And we just want them to live.

This isn’t an attention grab. This isn’t a post for accolades. This isn’t for praise.

This is for knowledge sake.

This is for awareness.

Because we are tired.

And we just want our kids to be able to have the same rights, the same opportunities, as every other human.

And we won’t rest until that’s real.


Edit: I had no idea this post would resonate with so many and make it around the internet. Thank you for reading.

I’ve upset some wonderful people and I’m so sorry if you’re one of them. Please click here if you’re a trans teen.

74 thoughts on “Why Parents of Trans Kids Are A Special Kind of Tired”

  1. The current crop of parents are the first serious ally fighters that trans folks have had.
    You are trailblazing for your children and those who come after.
    And that’s exhausting. Thank you.
    I know how exhausting it is. I had to trailblaze my own transition.
    I can’t begin to express how my heart melts knowing parents are all in to help their children. I didn’t get that from my parents. Your kids will never know how much that hurts.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I’m so sorry you weren’t validated by your parents. That literally hurts my heart for you. I hope you have an amazing circle of good people.
      We are thankful to every soul that paved this path for us. Although not perfect, it’s much easier than it was in the past.
      Sending you love.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. You are strong. You are loved by many especially by God. So sorry your family didn’t Support you. It is so sad for them they are missing out on being a part of your life.

      Liked by 2 people

    3. Tom, I actually disagree that these are the first generation of loving parents for us as trans people. The first are now parents of twenty something trans people. But this is the first generation of trans parents who have a guide a road map if you will. I know that this is a rough guide and this generation of parents are rewriting and up dating said literally daily. And for that this 59 yo trans woman thanks you. We still have a really long way to go. With you at our sides we will make even more of an impact. I promise to stand beside you as you testify at your state capital in favor of protections and against hateful/hurtful potential laws. I literally hate doing suicidal interventions but I will continue to do them until every trans person is safe. I’m going to be at your side along with many other trans people. I know that my mom did her absolute best to raise me. This was the 60’s and 70’s and a devout Mormon army drill Sargent as my father. I am absolutely stunned at how much my mother did to protect me and set me down a path that to her great disappointment lead me to my transition.

      Thank you

      Liked by 3 people

    4. Thank you for voicing my life! YES! I am tired
      . As the parent of a trans Son, every word is my truth. Also, the loving parents of trans people from more than 10 years ago should be lauded for their support fir their kids too.
      Love you for this.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Vanessa:

    I come from the previous generation before your children. There was no such thing as an accepting family. You are giving your child a gift that can never be taken away. If I had to use one phrase to tell you what my like was like it would be “No Safe Place.” I hope the kids you know will never have to know what it’s like to be exiled from their own home with nowhere to go. It’s hard enough to face the hate of the world but to do so when you are alone makes it even worse. I hope they will never have to see the things I have seen.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dear Aelita (what a gorgeous name),
      Thank you. I feel VERY fortunate that we are living in this time with these resources with all of the work that’s been done before us. I’m HOPING my son won’t know hate like others had to suffer immeasurably.
      Sending you love and light.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I am so sorry for what you have been through.
      I can’t imagine how hard it is to have your family reject you. You are loved by many especially by God. You are strong , just always remember for all the hate, there is love for you also.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Spot on.
    Literally a never-ending fight, and it IS exhausting! I feel you. I am you.
    A fight that makes me so infuriated at times, especially at people using “religion” to package their immense bigotry.
    A fight that makes me sad when people embrace all kinds of kids who are a bit different (diabetics, autistic kids, etc), but OUR kids, who like all these other kids didn’t CHOOSE to be the way they are; they are being cast out. Ridiculed. Bullied (by kids AND parents). Ostracized, as if being trans* is contagious somehow. Kids being shut out of bathrooms, as if they don’t need to go pee like other kids.
    And us parents: the same. Although; I’ll take being ostracized any day over my kid having a hard time!
    We’re put in the “These parents caused this” -box. Very little love & understanding from other cis-het parents. And most who ARE supportive are only supportive in the shadows, as to not get ostracized themselves.
    But: we won’t EVER give up.
    We’re in this to win.
    Not for us; but for our kids. For the NEXT generation of kids, and the next one after that.
    We cling to the hope that our young ones will one day look up to their community elders and thank them for fighting in the dark….and all the while allowing us parents to fight in the shadows of their immense bravery.
    These nay-sayers don’t know who they’re messing with.

    Now: Go Vote for equality candidates!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yesss, mama!! To all of that.

      Thank you for reading. I would fight this fight a million times over for my kid. It’s just what we do! I’m honored to parent him because he’s taught me so much.
      But I still need some extra sleep 🙂



  4. Reblogged this on Musings in Twilight and commented:
    Parents of trans children amaze me on a regular basis. They don’t think they are doing anything special, they are only doing what any parent who loves their child and wants to see them happy and successful would do.
    However, previous generations of trans people did not have this kind of love and support at home. Often, our parents were our first or worst enemies. Even now, near half of homeless kids are LGBT – homeless because parents have discarded them.
    These parents are blazing a trail that is going to make a difference.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a terrific insight into the emotionally complicated world of parenting and supporting trans kids. Thanks for sharing it!

    It must be said that this kind of tired mirrors that which people of color have been experiencing in America for hundreds of years; each since the day s/he was old enough to understand the limits our society tries to place on them. This is something like what black parents feel when they go to bed each night thankful their kid didn’t cross the wrong street, or the wrong cop.

    I write this not to dismiss or compete with your exhaustion; in fact the opposite. There are others around you who probably have some sense of what you’re feeling, because they are fighting too. And thus should you and they be allies and potentially friends. Don’t be afraid to look for support and insight from other communities that are fighting parallel battles in a shared war.

    Thanks for writing this compelling piece!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much, Alex!

      And yes!! Trust me, I was thinking about people of color as I wrote this. I almost drew a minor comparison but I didn’t feel that it was my place to do so because as tired as I am, I believe POC are even more exhausted sometimes. But thank you for raising that point!

      Thanks for reading!


  6. Sometimes you gotta vent.

    All I can say is that some of us, the researchers, the clinicians, even private citizens who have the ears of legislators, have your back. But you knew that.

    Is there anything I can do to make things just a little less crushingly hard for you? Probably not, for as a Trans/intersex adult, I was a Trans/intersex child, so am already doing my very best to make sure today’s children aren’t put through the same purgatory those of my vintage were.

    Maybe telling you you’re doing good? That your children are immensely lucky to have you as a parent? That it’s because of those like you that people like me can concentrate a bit harder on helping children not as lucky as yours, because frankly, you’re doing our job for us when it comes to your own children.

    You’re helping children you’ll never know and never meet, as well as your own offspring.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Zoe. Thank you for reading!

      I don’t know that I needed any words from anyone but I appreciate all of them. I would walk through literal fire for my kid and I certainly don’t expect any pat on the back. I just get so incredibly sick of the hate some days.

      Thank you for all you’ve done for the community. It’s such an effort and I KNOW trans people have done so much more work than I can ever imagine. So, thank you.


      1. Jesus never said it would be easy to suffer for righteousness’ sake, but you will be blessed in many ways for taking the stand you’ve taken for your children’s sake. it was seeing happy families with transgender children that gave me and many older transgender people the courage to come out of hiding and start to live authentically.

        i would imagine that it was a factor in bringing many people who transitioned a long time ago out of stealth to live out loud and proud of being transgender as well. With our blood families at our side and the internet to connect us, we are finally forming a very strong global community with voices that are even being heard on mainstream media platforms. my father and i are even speaking to each other these days.

        Since the Coy Mathis ruling in 2013, you parents and your transgender children have been consistently winning in the courts, the legislature and the hearts and minds of the general public. You have gained numerous statements from medical and legal authorities on the legitimacy of the transgender condition and our rightful place as a natural born minority.

        There are still many battles to be won, but we are winning them. The rapidly diminishing opposition is clinging to discredited pseudoscience and false fables made up about trans people that free thinking people can see right through. Most of the hate bills are dying in committee and law suits claiming a need for segregated restrooms are being tossed as baseless. Public opinion polls run very strongly opposed to the transgender military ban and to new discriminatory legislation while very strongly in favor of queer equality. Thank you again for loving your children as they are.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. I’m so moved by your piece. I missed the opportunity to fight the battle you’re in. My beautiful transgender daughter was born just 26 years ago. There was no language to describe her struggle at the time. I could tell you about going to therapists to find out if we were doing something wrong. About misleading our child down a path toward identifying as gay. About cringing every time she tossed her hips in grade school and then started to suppress her femininity in middle school. Of trying to protect her when she wanted to be a princess for Halloween for fear she would be ridiculed or worse. About fearfully buying her a pretty girls’ bike because gosh darn it we couldn’t stand the disappointment on her face when we tried to find a boys’ bike she might like. In the end she had to do all the hard work of transitioning by herself as an adult. It was so lonely as her parents. We were trying to do right by her but we didn’t even know what right was. I am continually floored by how far things have changed in such a short time and it’s because of your generation of parents who have started this tremendous avalanche of change. All I can say is KEEP THE FAITH! You know you are doing the right thing and you’re not alone.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The issues for Trans Children support, and what their parents are going through are on my radar. I follow a lot of what’s going on. it’s a parent to parent hope I stand with you and your child, with all Trans and LGBTQIA people.

      My experiences have need of a lot of work, and it’s led me to care a lot about people. The work I must endure, must do, has need of allies too. It’s not to be selfish and think I earn it, it’s to hope these connections are good for the recipient as they are for me.

      It’s harder there’s not an ally and trans community meeting I’m aware of. I know of a Trans support group. Maybe some day that’s Ok for cis people too?

      My hope is you’re supported, and your child knows they’re loved and validated.

      Best wishes.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh how grateful I am for you and I don’t even know you. Every single word you said is what I’m feeling and experiencing as the mother to a transgender child. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I support you, your child, your family, and the entire trans community. Thank you for all you do to fight for your child, and other children. Change is happening. I know it isn’t fast enough…and I know it’s exhausting to impact change…but know that every day more allies flock to your standard to fight against those who do not have heart enough to understand.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I read this after getting home from target where I stood tearful and petrified buying dance clothes for my beautiful trans daughter before her first class. Something as simple as dancewear becomes an exhausting minefield of trying to find the appropriate clothes for her body, fears about going into a new environment, and balancing vulnerability and bravery. Thank you for giving voice to the emotional tax we gladly pay for the well – being of our children. It’s always nice to remember why we fight, and that there are others, shoulder -to-shoulder, fighting alongside.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I am right there with you momma bear. When my son went to study abroad and went alone to nine different cities and stayed in hostels, I worried every second of every day for his safety in strange lands. He was 18 when he transitioned, so I didn’t have to fight the fight of having a much younger child. But I dealt with the “not fitting in” and the extreme loneliness that my child experienced as a male in a female body that he hated.

    Yes. It’s tiring. In many ways and in many levels. Especially when your older child loses patience with you when you can’t get the new name and pronouns down correctly immediately. Took me two years not to slip up.

    I applaud all of us who love and accept our children for who they are, defending them, cheering them on, encouraging them and trying to educate an ignorant , often hostile society who know nothing of our unique hardship.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you for being strong! There is nothing stronger than the love a parent provides to their children. Good parents embrace it willingly and it is our role as parents to share and pass this on to those we bring into this life. Your child will grow and become a wonderful person from the love you have for her. You recognize this and thus will always find the strength to do the right things. Stay strong! You got this!
    Much love and best wishes always…

    Liked by 1 person

  13. . I’m fortunate to have stumbled upon this beautifully written piece. Thank you for your boldness . I am so moved by your article. While this fight has never affected me personally within my small circles , your article certainly opened my eyes to this battle. Keep fighting and never lose hope.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I fully understand where you’re coming from. However, as a trans child, the lines “And who is leading the fight for trans youth? Parents. {Mostly. But not ever to slight or dishonor our trans adult warriors.}“ are quite insulting. Trans youth are leading the fight for trans youth. You completely disregarded our own self-advocacy when you wrote that. As a trans youth that has fought for my rights for several years, I am tired of being excluded and my voice being silenced. Most trans youth I know have been advocating much louder and for much longer than their parents ever have. If you’re tired then how tired do you think we are of being excluded from conversations about us? Where I am from advocacy for allowing all trans youth to be able to access gender recognition has been entirely led by trans youth. Our National LGBTI Youth Strategy was led by LGBTI youth, several of whom were trans youth. We are the leaders of our own fight.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi there! Thank you so much for your thoughts. I’m so sorry my post made you feel this way. I don’t know if you saw where I wrote this: “And this certainly isn’t to take away from an LGBTQIA child themselves, their own struggles and hardships. This isn’t to take away from, or distract from… anyone.”

      I KNOW you all are fighting for yourselves. You ARE THE FIGHT and nothing and no one can take that away. (I also removed the word “adults” from where you quoted me for that reason.)

      But please also keep in mind, my son is 9. He’s not the one fighting. I am. So, this is from my perspective as a parent of a young trans kid. When I say “trans youth”, that’s who I think of because that’s what I’m living.

      I’m not sure how old you are but I’m suspecting a teen? If so, I don’t refer to you as youth in my own mind. That’s semantics, I know.

      Please be patient with me. I’m new to this, my child is young and I am still learning. Thank you for keeping me in check.


    2. It is a sad but true fact of life that as trans people, we have to lead our own battles. That’s the way it has been. I congratulate you on the battles you have fought and won.
      This isn’t a matter of silencing or ‘one-upsmanship.’
      We’re all fighting. All the time.
      We are JUST NOW starting to have allies in the fight. Parents. Doctors. Friends. I’ve seen this change over both of our lifetimes.
      Be kind to those who are just now starting to realize how hard we fight. It’s not their fault they didn’t know. Hurting them when they are trying to help does not advance anything.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tomcat, thank you for echoing all of that. This is a learning curve for parents and I NEVER want to diminish a trans person’s own battles and their fight. Never ever. Our battles as parents are so different but for a common goal. I would literally take away any one of these kids pain and fight if I could.
        We are all on the same team. Thank you 💗

        Liked by 1 person

  15. I go by the theory that every idiot I have to fight with is hopefully one less idiot my child has too!!
    Whenever I start to feel worn down I look at my amazing child and find more strength to battle on, I’d take on the world if it meant my child felt safe and loved everywhere!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Oh I just want to give you a big hug and take over for a hot minute so you can rest. The fight is real. The struggles are unmeasurable. Thank you for writing this. I love your heart & your words. I’ve been fighting this battle for a year now and I will not surrender to hate or bigotry or anything like it. I LOVE my transgender daughter. She is beautiful and I will FIGHT for her! Much love to you Vanessa! Carry on! Carry on! Carry on!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Yeah . . . don’t care. Trans youth are the ones fighting for trans youth. Just like every other marginalized child is fighting to be seen, heard, respected. Sure, parents have a role, but don’t put yourself front and center in this fight. You don’t have that right and you sure don’t get cookies for doing the right thing for your kid. That’s called being a decent human being.

    Pull your head out of your butt and focus on the needs of your kid. HIS fight will be much harder than you will ever understand or know. MUCH harder. You won’t ever be able to understand how tired HE will be. Don’t even try.

    These types of articles should be deleted from this site. We do not care how tired your privileged self is, and you sure aren’t a “special kind of tired” at all compared to what actual marginalized people go through. Check your privilege.


      1. Any parent of a non typical child is especially tired. I feel her words deeply. Only insert how your child is different from “normal”. Insert disabled. Insert Autism. Insert gay. All of us are special tired. All of us care deeply and fight hard against all the systems. All of us have extra stigma, extra Dr and therapist appointments. Extra “Why don’t you try…?” From strangers and family. And also are you considering their privacy and their feelings when you vent about your parental feelings on line? How can you be an advocate and yet be so sad and frustrated? It’s a tough gig.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Agreed. But many of the others you’ve mentioned here aren’t laden with a layer of hate on top. Not to “one up” anyone’s reality, but hate is the biggest system to fight against in our situations.
        As I mentioned, I had no idea this would resonate with so many and makes its way around and it certainly wasn’t intended to slight anyone’s feelings. It’s just a unique path. And one I would choose every single day because it’s 120% worth it and my child has taught me so much.
        Do you have a trans child, Heather?


    1. Andy, I tried to find an email or something for you but I can’t so I’ll expand here:
      I hear you. I see you. I acknowledge your fight, your struggle. You ARE the fight. And as I mentioned in my post, I am NOT slighting that fact at all, ever. But my child is young (9) and cannot advocate for himself. I’m fighting for him so I can minimize his struggle as much as I possibly can. And this is my reality, as it is for many parents. This doesn’t at ALL mean we don’t recognize the work our trans teens are doing.

      I’m so sorry this post made you upset. I truly am. You’re loved and your feelings are valid.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. As the parent of an adopted, autistic, trans teen, sometimes all the advocating seems overwhelming. So thankful her school is such an excepting place. Worried about her entering the “real world”.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Parents of our trans kids, I see you. I know you. I love you. I will have your back when need to recharge your batteries. Thank you for looking after our kids. I will be there at your side every minute, every day, because even though I am fighting for me, I am also fighting for them. Because I know what it was like, I remember what it felt like. Anything I can do to make it that little bit easier is worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I’m gonna second Andy and TransKid here (and probably many others reading but too angry to comment). So thankful some others have said it. This article infuriates me. To say that parents are the ones mostly advocating for trans youth is SO incredibly disrespectful. Whatever you’re doing now is built on years and years and years of struggle and advocating and pain of the LGBTQI+ community including trans kids themselves. And to talk about it as if it’s a new pioneering thing is ludicrous. Your son is advocating for himself right now by just BEING himself. You are dismissing his own agency and power. Coming back to Andy with “I see you I hear you and your feelings are valid” doesn’t even feel genuine. It sidesteps responsibility and is dismissive. It feels like what you’ve been told to say in all these books written by cis parents (or cis therapists) of trans kids to tell other cis parents of trans kids about trans experience. You do not have the same kind of LIVED experience so you will not know what THAT kind of tired looks like. Take that tired your feeling and multiple it and you may get a tiny fraction of what it’s like to be trans in this world. Then multiply it again and you may come close to a tiny fraction of what it’s like to be a queer or trans person of color in this world. And I know you’ve reminded me in your article that “this wasn’t to one-up” and it’s not a “competition” but this is exactly the kind of gaslighting speak that privileged people use to silence marginalized people whether intentional or not. Yes it’s tiring to spend decades working to change a system that was specifically built to bully and erase trans and queer and intersex people, people of color and indigenous people. Know your history. Except we don’t get the luxury of talking about how tired we are because the world is too busy reminding us everyday that we shouldn’t be here anyway. I feel like I don’t understand the point of this article. It feels like it was an article written specifically for other white straight cis parents to bond over how tiring it is to fight for basic human rights because you lived in a little protective bubble this whole time and along came a trans kid who shattered your little bubble and all your binary gender delusions you placed on them and now you’re getting a teeny tiny taste of what it’s BEEN like to not be of the protected privileged class in this society and to be in the world the rest of us live in. And we should feel empathy for how tiring that is? That angers me. Yes it’s great that you are advocating for your child instead of kicking them out or forcing them to hide who they are and by all means keep supporting and advocating but you are still centering whiteness, you are still centering cis-ness, you are still centering straight-ness, you are still centering yourself in HOW you talk about it. Which means you are still centering and prioritizing the privileged over the marginalized. And it matters.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mateo, thanks for your comment. I don’t need your empathy, of course not. Nothing I say here will matter to you. So, thank you for your comment. I’m so sorry I upset some of you but again, my child is 9 and this is MY lived experience. I said it many times throughout the article- this was to educate parents of non-trans kids mostly since I receive hate mail ALL of the time.
      I’m advocating and fighting this fight for all trans kids. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love my role as a parent and I’m honored to parent a trans kid.
      I’m so sorry I upset you.


      1. …and again you’re centering cis-ness and yourself. It’s like when white people center themselves in conversations about race and then everything always comes back to their feelings. Savior complex. It is not doing the larger work that will be needed to make deeper long-lasting change. I get that every step counts and glad you are taking steps but something is still off in how cis parents are getting involved in this and talking about it. Step back from all that focus on how much you have to fight for and advocate for trans kids and start looking more deeply at yourself and finding all the ways that you participate in upholding a system designed to destroy us. Just like as a white person I look at all the ways I participate in upholding white supremacy including HOW I might speak and I do the work to dismantle that first within myself and from there take action in the world to effect change. Obviously I’m not saying that you should stop taking action in the world until you’ve done this but a deeper self-reflection would be valuable. Until that is looked at you will always speak with an immense amount of unexamined cis privilege that will likely be completely invisible to you and will continue to prioritize cis-ness and erase the decades of work that the trans community and larger LGBTQI+ community has done. I know what it feels like to have cis people speak about these things in a way that feels supportive and respectful and centers the trans community yet still works to educate other cis people. There is a way but it takes a lot of self-awareness.


      2. Mateo, thank you. I appreciate your words.
        I’m assuming you’re a parent? So, you can imagine what it’s like to have been threatened to have your child taken from you for supporting them?

        I have been accused of child abuse time and again, threatened to have my child taken away from me, so please, please don’t tell me that I don’t know struggle in relation to his journey.

        I don’t know YOUR struggle and I don’t know what it’s like to be trans, and I never will and I don’t claim to. All I can do is empathize and work and fight for the greater good, which is what I’m doing.
        I work every single day to be a better person. This is my small space on the internet where I share my feelings and my experiences. I’m sorry that what I wrote hurt you or anyone else.

        I hear what you’re saying and I took a lot from what you’ve written, and I also own my feelings and stand by how I feel, which is sometimes defeated by society for supporting my own child.

        Nothing I say here will align us. But know that I am learning everyday.
        Thanks again.

        Liked by 1 person

  21. I am in awe of parents who fight for their child’s right to exist and of the youth who live their truth despite the hate and prejudice they face on a daily basis. Trans youth are some of the strongest people I know. They are also some of the most vulnerable. I wish all parents would love their child for who they are and not try to make them into someone they are not.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Special? how! mine weren’t all they did is beat me from 3 up and when i turned 21 and was put on hormones they ran off my doctors and told me they would make sure i died in the wrong body. It is Rare that a parent accepts us.
    the few that are are awesome. but more are not. so lucky we are the abused and forgotten.
    If that is not bad enough the tried to tell the last psych that it was a phase and they were dealing with it for 30 years. then dad told him when i said what all the beating were for as a small child. Dad said it was punishment for taking the girls things.
    all the doctor could say is my parents are a total loss. most trans kids are held captive by bigot parents that is what needs to be fixed along with the older transsexual females still stuck no able to get the medical needs that are refused them

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dee dee, and you are who I am fighting for and why I’m a fierce ally. I’m sorry that was you experience with your parents. There’s absolutely no excuse for them. They’re assholes, sorry to say. I wish I could open up my home to every since trans kid that experiences what you did.
      But we aren’t all bad. Some of us are fighting a real fight for ALL of you.
      Tell your story as much as you can, as much as you need to, because it’s important.
      I’m telling my story in HOPE that other parents like yours LISTEN.
      I wish I could say words that heal you but I know I can’t. So, all I can do is continue to fight for trans equality.
      Please feel free to email or call me any time if you need someone to listen.


  23. Dear Vanessa,
    I so connect with you. Our daughter is 9. I fight for her to be able to be herself! What an ordeal….waiting lists., more than 2 years! .. judgements…Child abuse when allowing her to just being herself.
    My Spirit sometimes is so tired. But i Will never give up, for her sake and for the sake of all trance people. I am so tired but your letter helps me. Keeping up hope.
    Hug, from mother to mother,

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Reblogged this on Mama Bear and commented:
    I’m taking a writing break this weekend and next weekend because I’ll be traveling!  We visited Heather’s college this weekend for Parent’s Weekend and we’re taking an anniversary trip next weekend!

    I wanted to share a post that’s been making the rounds on social media.  As the parent of a transgender teen, Ms. Nichols’ message resonates with me.


  25. Thank you for putting into words what I have been expressing to friends and families who didn’t quite understand where I was coming from or why this consumed my time for so many years.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Reblogged this on Dandelion Fuzz and commented:
    When my trans kid, Kris, came out over seven years ago, I had no idea how tired I would become. I honestly thought I was tired raising three kids all born within 5 years but no…. I would find myself experiencing a tired I never knew existed.

    My “kid” is 25 years old now and appears to be comfortable with a more fluid gender identity. Through all of the ups and downs, I only wanted a happy child who wanted to live and I believe I have that now. I am fortunate that some of those battles that parents of trans kids face are no longer on my immediate plate but I will always be a strong ally of transgender people.

    I am sharing a post written by Vanessa, the parent of a trans kid. It’s an excellent piece giving outsiders a look into what it’s like to parent a trans kid. It is strictly from a parent’s perspective. It does not imply that the parent is going through more than the transgender child they are supporting. It’s giving readers a look into the parent side of it. Parents of trans kids (me included) will be the first people to say that it’s hard but not nearly as difficult as what our kids are going through every day of their lives.

    Please be sure to comment on the original post if it moves you. And read the comments. It’s not often that I will encourage someone to read the comments of a piece dealing with trans issues but here they brought me to tears.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I have been on the trans fight for about 9 months too. Been on the queer mama fight for a couple of years before that. But I have been an autism mama bear for 14 years already for him. I have just taken up this cause with the same vigor. Our kids will thrive. Full stop. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  28. It makes me happy to see parents being so supportive and fighting so hard. When I came out as a transman it was rough. I had to try to not only manage my own emotions, but prepare to try to understand my parents as well. I wasn’t so lucky in that I was kicked out of my home and homeless for half a year, and I felt very alone. You are the greatest, and I hope your kid(s) understand how lucky they are to have such an awesome and strong mom. I can only hope that one day the world will change for the better, and that our voices can make a difference. Thank you for being an ally, and thank you for being everything a parent should be.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. I thank you for your valuable insight. Thank you for being an adovate for your child. Thank you for your strength and courage to combat discrimination and unjust behaviors of others. It is Ally week standup and be an upstander and not a bystander. We are working within our school one step at a time to support all students , create a safe environment and have a name that is identied with their gender indenity. It take a community to create a village. A very big hug to you to keep on making a better world . Peace k

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Thank you for writing this. My own child is almost 25, and came out to us 5 years ago as transgender. Thank you for recognizing and labeling what we feel as a special kind of tired! The Hate seems to come from all levels of society, but I am happy to know there are many churches and other supports in the world. I co founded a support, education, and advocacy group in my small town in NEOhio, and are celebrating 5 years in my town. We meet for support monthly, in a warm and welcoming church, wrote up an educational program (Transgender 101) that we’ve presented to churches, corporations, and libraries, ( over 500 individuals), received grant funding to provide binders and gaffs to teens ( about 75 teens have received them) and are involved heavily with working with Equality Ohio for an ordinance for equality in my town. The work is hard, all-encompassing at times, but the work is ours to do. We parents ( as a non Christian, do I count as a mama bear?) must be the ones to do the heavy lifting for not only our own kids, but to change society as well. So yes.. it is a special kind of tired. I’m cheered in knowing that you, and thousands of us are doing what we can in our communities and changing them in whatever way we can. Thank you for writing what I’ve not had words for.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. This is the most uplifting solidarity piece I’ve read in a very long time. My son came out as transgender June 1st of this year. I felt guilty that I didn’t put the obvious signs together sooner, I grieve the loss of my baby girl, and I have also been mama bear warrior nonstop. It truly is exausting and being a mom is a pretty thankless job. It can feel so overwhelming. Family being passive aggressive (as if we don’t notice that our invitations always get lost in the mail or are last minute now) and the bathrooms! After meeting with a therapist weekly we are finally able to go to the endocrinologist next month and that’s bristling everyone’s fur now. You touched on so many of the exhausting battles and at the same time rallied the troops. We are doing this so that our kids can live healthier happier lives. We are doing this to break the cycle of hate. And we do this in shame that the generation before this and before them back for eternity had to bare that battle with no one at their back. Those fierce LGBTQ+ warriors deserve a metal of honor. If it hadn’t been for them our kids would be in the closet, or worse.

    Liked by 2 people

  32. Thank you for a great post! It speaks volumes to so many of us parents. Warmest regards to you, and your family. Cheryl B. Evans (Author of I Promised Not to Tell: Raising a transgender child & What Does God Think? Transgender People and The Bible).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Cheryl! Oh my gosh, I recommend d your book to every parent of a trans child that’s new to this! So well done! You’re voice is so wonderful and so important! Thank YOU!! Sending love to you!


  33. I feel your article stating that pioneer parents have only been around for the past 3-5 years is a terrible slight against the parents who have been fighting for their trans kids since the 1960s. Social media and celebrity voices have brought attention and change that we didn’t see previously but the parents from over 50 years ago set the ground work.


    1. I’m sorry you feel that way. I tried my best to be inclusive of everyone in this fight. I recognize that social media has brought more visibility to the topic, which is why I said “a decade”. It was not intended to slight those who have been fighting for decades.


  34. Thank you for supporting your child and advocating for our community in general. As a transsexual woman in my 40’s who was too afraid and uninformed and what being trans is I am glad to see our trans youth have parents like yourself and the others that stand with their kids and our community.

    If this helps on how tiring this is for you…it’s like my Colonel use to tell our unit in Kosovo…”There’s plenty of time to sleep when we leave this world but now we have to fight so others may live.”, I now it’s corny and like comparing apples to oranges but as you know trans kids without the support of their family (especially their parents) are more likely to become a statistic and though being in a combat situation and advocating for your child are not the same thing (or are they with your battle field being even more difficult as it’s your everyday life and never ends??), but he kept us motivated and awake when we were as tired as one can get.

    Thanks again for your support and such a great piece of writing. 💙💗💌💗💙

    Liked by 1 person

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