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How Do You Talk to Your Child About Being Transgender?

When I decided to finally come out and transition, my main reason was for my daughter Ailani.

I owed her a parent that was happy, honest and authentic. When I came out she just had her first birthday. I stayed awake at night worrying about how everyone would react. It never occurred to me that I would have to come out to Ailani. She was only one, how many questions could she really have? I failed to realize that it would be much harder to explain to her than to anyone else. I figured that she would just accept everything for what it was and down the road she would ask questions.

“TODAY IN HER TRAVELS SHE LEARNED THAT THERE WAS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BOYS AND GIRLS.”

I became painfully aware of how much work it would take when I came home from work one evening. I made dinner as usual while she assisted me with setting the table. She was a little more than two years old now. Her little hands would wrap around the ketchup bottle as she slowly walked it from the refrigerator to the table. Usually it was just the usual babble about her cartoon or some adventure she went on with her Granddad that day, but today was a big day. Today in her travels she learned that there was a difference between boys and girls.

“Did you know that I am a girl?” she said with a very informative look on her face.

“I kind of had the notion you were honey.”

“And Daddypop (my dad) is a boy.”

I knew this was headed in a direction that was going to end in a long talk. “Yeah… I figured he was one.”

“You are a boy too.” She stood there looking so proud of what she had learned that day. I couldn’t rob her or that in that moment.

“You are getting so big. How do you know so much stuff?”

“I just do.” She trotted off with a smile on her face.

That evening I ordered “I am Jazz” online. It is a book about a transgender child and how she felt when people treated her like a boy. I sat on the edge of her bed and tucked her in for the night.

“Honey, I need to talk to you about something. I was born a boy but had a girl brain and this made me unhappy. I was terrible at doing boy stuff. Then one day I went to the doctor and he helped me make my body match my brain.”

She nodded and asked a few questions then went off to bed.

“I ENDED UP HAVING MULTIPLE CONVERSATIONS WITH HER BECAUSE OF THE SIMPLE FACT THAT THE WORLD TOLD HER SOMETHING DIFFERENT THAN I WAS TELLING HER.”

I ended up having multiple conversations with her because of the simple fact that the world told her something different than I was telling her. Over time I found quite a few great books that helped her grasp things better. (Red, Heather Has Two Mommies, and I Am Jazz are just a few really good books for young ones.)

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