My oldest biological kid recently came out as transgender, at least to us. I get the impression she has been out to others for awhile. I mean, she told us awhile ago, but we thought it was a teen thing. Or a hormone thing. Or an anxiety thing. I don’t know. It was a very stressful time in a number of ways and the discussions were muddled and emotional. Anyway, I am coming to terms with the fact that my daughter, Mae, is now going to be my son, Henri.
I will be honest. I didn’t really want to believe it. Not because I hate transgender people or because I think it’s a sin or anything like that. The thing that made me want to believe it’s not so is that I know the statistics. I know how often transgender people are attacked and victimized. Not just by violence but also bigotry and discrimination. And life is already hard, this seems like it would just make it so much harder. But he is investigating medical procedures and seeing doctors and as soon as we get the money, we are going to get his name legally changed, so I guess this is what it is.
Continuing with the honesty, I’m not really looking forward to telling people. Not because I’m embarrassed, just because I know it will be awkward. How do you say to people, “Remember Mae? She’s Henri, now. Also, she’s a he. Try to remember and not be awkward, m’kay?” I know that lots of people will be confused, I know I am. But I also know that some people will be sad for us and want to console us. Because they will think that we are heartbroken. We are pretty conservative, fundamentalist Christians and we are supposed to be heartbroken by news like this, this kind of parenting outcome.
But, and this may surprise you, I’m not. Honestly. Like I said, I’m a bit confused and every time I talk about it, I kind of feel like a backwards pig or some slack-jawed yokel. You know, like I’m always saying the wrong thing and every sentence out of my mouth just gets worse and worse. Ignorant. Suburban. Positively primeval. But, I am not heartbroken about this. If he is happy, I am happy. And we will get through this period of transition. This time next year, we will be through and good on the other side of it, I’m sure.
When Mae first started talking about not wanting to be a girl anymore, I tried to talk her out of it, I guess. But, at the time, I felt that was the right way to go, because at the time, she was confessing Christ. We believed she was saved. When dealing with believers, we are obligated to try to convict them and help them get out of sin. But, then she told us, later, that she is not saved. Well, that changed everything. I’m reading 1 Corinthians because my pastor is teaching through it. And this morning, I read this:
I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people– not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy or the swindlers, or idolaters. In that case, you would have to leave the world.
What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?
-1 Corinthians 5:9-10, 12
So we love him like Jesus would and does. We accept him as he is and show him the gospel every chance we get. We let him know that we love him because he is our kid, nothing he does can change that.
My heart is broken; though, it doesn’t have anything to do with her saying she wants to be a man. The day she said she knows the Bible is true, she knows God is real and she just doesn’t believe it, well, that’s the day my heart broke. If he believed, we could discuss the Bible and interpretation and pray and I would have a hard time understanding how someone could read the Bible and still want to live this way. But if he loved Jesus above all else and was doing his best to obey and walk with Him, I would have no reason not to believe that he wouldn’t be with Jesus in heaven. And nothing else would matter.
But he’s not saved and that’s the heartbreaking part. It wouldn’t matter if he came to me and said he changed his mind, he loves the name Mae and she’s found a lovely man and they are going to get married and settle down and have a dozen babies. If she doesn’t love Jesus, my heart is broken. And nothing else matters.
And I think that’s what it means to love them like Jesus.