The Making of a TransBoy
June 10, 2012
“My son, Aaron, is a seventeen-year-old transboy. Looking back, I realize that Aaron has never truly changed. Aaron has always been a boy – a boy that was dressed in girls’ clothes, given girls’ toys, and held to the social expectations of a girl. When Aaron was three, I registered him for an art camp for four- and five-year-olds. Aaron demonstrated exceptional artistic talent at a very young age, and I assumed that she would be able to blend in with the group of older children since her artistic talent far surpassed that of most young children. Upon arriving to pick up Aaron at the end of the first day of camp, the teacher approached me and said that he “needed to have a word with me.” Being a teacher, I knew exactly what that meant. I looked at Aaron, who was grinning from ear to ear, as the teacher explained that Aaron had punched a boy in the stomach while waiting in line at the sink. Aaron replied that the boy had said, “You’re just a dumb girl.” Clearly, Aaron was a girl in our eyes. Evidently, Aaron had acted inappropriately, especially in society’s eyes, where girls aren’t supposed to engage in physical altercations with boys. The teacher gave me a stern look and recommended that I adhere to the age requirements when registering Aaron for future classes because Aaron was “obviously not as mature as the four- and five-year-old girls”.
At the age of three and a half, Aaron began preschool. Over the course of the two years that Aaron was there, the teacher’s comments included statements such as, “Aaron doesn’t like to play with the girls. At recess, Aaron collects bugs and keeps them in her pockets. When we try to talk to Aaron, she just gets defensive.” I heard similar comments from Aaron’s kindergarten teacher. I assumed that Aaron wasn’t like a typical girl because Aaron always played with her older brother. I assumed that Aaron didn’t like what the other girls were doing in school because Aaron was so bright and didn’t have the same interests. (At the age of four, Aaron told me he wanted to be a neonatologist when he grew up… and he actually knew what a neonatologist was!)
When Aaron was ten-years-old, Aaron began dressing more like a boy. When I would take Aaron shopping for clothes, shedidn’t like one thing I would select and we would usually leave the mall arguing. Needless to say, I don’t have fond memories of the trips to the mall, but I’m certain those memories don’t compare to the nightmare that the shopping experiences must have been for Aaron.
One summer, when Aaron was eleven, Aaron wanted to go to baseball camp. Aaron was the only girl at the camp, and I was worried how she would fit in. At the end of the first week, Aaron didn’t want to continue due to the teasing that took place. I expected it to be difficult for a girl to attend a baseball camp with all boys. I had no idea at the time what the true struggles were that Aaron faced at this camp.
The following summer, Aaron had a great deal of trouble sleeping. One night around midnight, he came to my door, knocked, and asked if we could talk. We sat in the living room for about an hour before Aaron spoke. Then Aaron finally said it. Aaron told me that he felt that God had made a mistake and that he felt like he was a boy trapped in a girl’s body. Aaron told me that he hated himself and wanted to know why this happened. I had no answers. I had no words. I had no idea how to comfort him. Here my daughter sat before me telling me she should have been a boy. I saw the tremendous anguish my child was experiencing and I knew I had to find help for my child.
The next morning, I researched gender issues online and I found a psychologist in our area that was familiar with these issues. Aaron was eventually diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder. Although we were learning about transgender issues as a family and making progress in our understanding of Aaron, this hasn’t been an easy journey for Aaron. He has had to struggle with bullying and maltreatment by students and adults at school. He has had to watch other boys have the life he wanted. He has had to deal with so much more than the average teenage boy.
Over the past two years, Aaron has been physically transitioning to male. I refer to his transition as “physically transitioning” because Aaron has always been a boy – a boy that was dressed in girls’ clothes, given girls’ toys, and held to the social expectations of a girl. Aaron is and always will be Aaron – a gifted artist, musician, and philosopher. He is also one of the bravest people I have ever known. Aaron is a soldier in a battle for self-acceptance and societal-acceptance, and I am so proud to be his mother. Aaron has taught me what it really means to love someone for who they are and that there are times when you need to challenge both personal and societal belief systems. The piece of art that I have chosen to display on this website was drawn by Aaron at the age of 16, and I feel this piece best depicts his battle with gender identity. As you will note, the soldier is not alone, and I hope that other children will find comfort in knowing that they are not alone in their struggles with gender identity.
Testimonial From the TransKids Purple Rainbow Foundation http://www.transkidspurplerainbow.org/transyouth-stories/aaron/
TKPRF is the cash cow of the parents of 11 year old “transgender” talk show celebrity “Jazz”. From their website:
“Who We Are: TKPRF Board Members:
Greg & Jeanette
Greg & Jeanette are the proud parents of four children, Arial age 16, identical twins Sander & Griffen age 14, and Jazz age 11, who is their transangel. Jazz was born with Gender Identity Disorder, and diagnosed at age 3. Since then, Greg and Jeanette have supported her, and have made a point of sharing Jazz’s story to help other families. In 2007, they filmed a Barbara Walters special with 20/20 entitled, “My Secret Self”, which was updated in 2008. In 2009, they shared their story with Australia in the 60 Minutes special, “My Secret Self”, with Liz Hayes. Now that Jazz is 11, and preparing to face puberty, they have decided to explore the next chapter in the lives of their family in the documentary film, “I am Jazz: A Family In Transition” which airs on OWN. Greg & Jeanette, along with another family, started the TKPRF in 2007 to help other transkids, and spread the message of unconditional love, tolerance and acceptance.
Deborah Eve Grayson
Deborah Eve Grayson is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Diplomate of the American Association for Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists, (AASECT) Certified Sex Therapist, Gender Specialist and Registered Poetry Therapist in private practice since 1978. She is a Qualified Supervisor in Mental Health Counseling and Sex Therapy and is a Master Mentor/Supervisor in Poetry Therapy. She is a published author of four books on poetry, psychology and human sexuality, and has contributed chapters to various college texts and scholarly journals. An award- winning writer and photographer, she is also an Adjunct Professor at Lynn University where she teaches Human Sexuality, Mind, Body, Medicine and the Expressive Arts Therapies. An active member of the Florida Department of Health’s Transgender Community Task Force, she is currently earning her Doctorate in Clinical Sexology with an emphasis on gender variance and congruity throughout the life span.
Meet 11 year old Jazz, a honorary co-founder of the Transkids Purple Rainbow Foundation. Jazz speaks at universities, medical schools, conferences, conventions and symposiums. She is the current and youngest recipient of the Colin Higgins Youth Courage Award, and the youngest person ever to be recognized in The Advocate Magazine’s, “Top Forty Under 40” annual list http://news.advocate.com/post/21701470227/forty-under-40. For 2 1/2 years Jazz was banned from girls’ soccer in her state. After a long battle, the United States Soccer Federation ordered her home state to lift the ban. As a result of the discrimination that Jazz was forced to endure, the USSF is creating a policy to include all transgender athletes who want to play soccer in the United States of America. Her story is discussed in the May 28th, 2012 edition of Sports Illustrated, http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1198744/index.htm
[Thanks Anon -GM]