When I first sent that letter to my family, inviting them to join us in Izzy’s transition, I had no idea that a month later my brother, and a sister, would still not have affirmed their support. Or spoken to me. I assumed they’d have questions, but I never thought they’d question my integrity. I had no idea my brother would ask that Freddie refrain from referring to Izzy in front of his daughters. Or that he’d cancel my neice’s holiday sleepovers. I never imagined, well….maybe a little bit, that my youngest sister would write to me to explain her position on Izzy’s transition. Or that she would lay blame on our doorstep for the percieved impact our decision would have on her family, even her unborn child.
But there were things I did know. I knew my Mum would find a path to acceptance, I knew two of my sisters would take the news in their strides. I knew their partners would offer support. I knew my oldest nieces wouldn’t raise an eyebrow and would enjoy Izzy’s transition with us. I knew my mother-in-law would be instantaneous and unwavering in her support.
I didn‘t know that Izzy’s Grandpa would also be comfortable with the transition – who could guess an 85 year old would be more accepting than a 30 year old! Yay Grandpa!
When we announced Izzy’s social transition to the outside world, I had no idea there would be an overwhelming response of support. I couldn’t have imagined the kindness shown by friends, teachers and medical professionals. Or that Harry would recieve the same support and kindness from his workmates. The only questions they asked were ‘Is she happy?’, ‘do you need to talk?’, and ‘what can we do to support Izzy?’.
Of course, I knew Lou would not be phased.
What I really had no idea about though was the number of lives already touched by someone who is transgender. I’m inspired to record these accounts and graph them somehow, because it feels like at least half the people I’ve told have shared their own story with me. If I’m just one person who’s spoken with maybe 20 people and half of those have told me of a personal experience with transgender that has touched their lives, and Harry has spoken with 6 or 7 colleagues and two have confided in him, then what are these statistics saying?
I think they send a powerful message – this isn’t some newfangled trend as some haters preach. This isn’t unnatural or weird. This isn’t anything to fear. Izzy’s not different – because she’s not the only one, not by a long shot. This is ok. It’s hard, but it’s ok.
Another thing these shared stories have taught me, is that to wait, to wait until Izzy is older, is to allow her to live in confusion, sadness, anger and shame. Unsupported and unaccepted. No parent would willingly do that to their child.
I also wonder if there’s a message here for all of us, to be more open, more accepting, less judgemental and less fearful of differences. We’re all just human. The same frail, vulnerable humans. We all deserve love and acceptance.