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By: Rebecca Schwarz


Your child is born.

Mind blowing beauty.

Eyes filled with love.

The connection is instant.


Closet full of every shade of pink.

Flowers. Hearts. Hair bands. Big, puffy bows.

You watch as your child rolls, sits, crawls, coasts, walks, talks.


And man this kid is funny!  

Laughter to the point of tears.

The years move forward, filled with joy.


One day your child comes home from school and says “I want to look like a rock star.”

Endeared to this creative, kindred spirit, you purchase the knee high black Converse that will complete this look.

A few months later, “Mommy, I want to start looking athletic.”

Trip to Target, buy out the Champion kids’ line.

Soon after, “I don’t want to wear anything pink or purple.”

Rejection of dresses, skirts, frills.


Your child sits you down in a nervous fit of tears saying “I NEED to shop in the boys’ department. I don’t feel like myself in these clothes.”

You see, you feel the urgency. You call friends with boys, take fashion notes, set to work.


It’s fifth grade Colonial day. Instructions go home: “Girls wear bonnets, dresses and aprons. Boys wear knickers, tricorn hats.”

Your child is panic stricken. Can’t sleep, can’t eat. 

You call the teacher. “Of course girls can wear the boys’ costume if they want.” Relief. 

Fear returns with the realization that this is really going to happen. How will the other kids react?

You learn that your sweet, loving, funny, creative child is also courageous and it goes smoothly.


You know it’s time to truly educate yourself. You scour the internet. You learn terms you’ve never heard before. 

You wait for the right moment and ask “do you identify as male?”

Your child bursts into elated tears. “You don’t know how happy I am that you asked me that.” The trove of feelings opens up. Animated joy.

The conversation goes on for hours, extensive research shared by this little 7th grader. This is important. This is big.


You call your amazing and understanding friends. You call your siblings. So much gratitude for the support.

You tell your younger child, who says “okay!”, then runs off to play.  Gratitude again.

You call an old friend you lost touch with—parent of a transgender child—for resources.

You read books, you find specialists, you join support groups.

You learn to use they/them pronouns. You struggle to get others to do the same, reliving the anxiety of your child being misgendered again and again. You sometimes misgender them yourself and the guilt cuts away at your heart every time.

You become an advocate. Your child’s biggest cheerleader.  

You learn that they hold it in all day because there is no gender neutral bathroom at school. You watch proudly as they lobby for one. The world is changing. More gratitude.


And then the world seems to go in reverse. People who don’t understand, haven’t read books like you have, haven’t seen specialists like you have, seemingly haven’t even read the APA dictionary, are making judgments, enacting legislation, wreaking turmoil, endangering sweet, loving, funny, creative kids like yours and turning them into anxious, disillusioned ones.


And so you amp up the advocacy. You remain your child’s biggest cheerleader. You tell your story, hoping it will resonate. You do all this because you love your child.

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