I had a visit with some old friends yesterday. Two amazing women who I haven’t seen in many years. It was so great to see them and catch up on their lives. I was also sharing mine, telling them about E. At one point in our conversation, I said that E knows her options – the many ways to be a girl, the openness of who she can love as a girl or a boy, the possibility of her being a boy. One of the women, who is gay, said that she thought that was great. As a child, she felt that she should be a boy because she liked traditionally boy things and she was attracted to girls. She thought her only option was to be a boy. But when she got older and understood that she could be a girl and have all those things, she was relieved.
It got me thinking about E. Is it the same for her? We’ve talked this through a lot, right? I mean, she is clear about these options, isn’t she?
Last night, E came home late from a practice. She showered and got cozy. She was hungry, so as she snacked we talked. It was completely dark out, the light in our kitchen was dim. I told her about my visit and my friend’s story. I wondered if she could relate to that story.
No, she said. That’s not me.
Every day, she said, I wake up and think – is today the day I’m going to say I want to be a boy? And then it doesn’t happen.
Why? I ask. Quiet. Soft yellow light illuminating just us.
I’m afraid people will think I’m weird.
We talked about friends, what a good friend is. How her friends will still like her because she will still be herself. How she has a lot of solid people in her life that completely have her back. But inside I know that she is right. Some people will not accept, will think she is weird. And please don’t say that all kids are afraid people will think they are weird – I know that is true. I am not talking about the typical.
So for the first time we talked about the reality that she might get teased. Her friendships might change. It might not be as simple as just – snap – becoming a boy. It was a gentle conversation, but it made her eyes full. I assured her and reassured her that everything would be ok, better than ok. I hoped that I was right.