Naively, I thought this was something that I would not have to deal with for a few years.. Having the opportunity to have my child transition at such an early age teaches me so much on a daily basis. Not one day goes by that Peyton isn’t giving me some insight into his life.
The bathroom topic came up for the first time when he was at one of his zoo classes. He is still so little that I would never allow him to go to the bathroom on his own at a public place. By default he has to go to the woman’s bathroom with me. Bathrooms are so scary to me when it comes to a child. You have all these strangers in essence getting naked to use the bathroom. And you are sending a child in there completely unsupervised. It gives me shivers to think about all the bad things that can happen. Yes, I am a very overprotective mother. Anyways, at zoo classes the entire class is taken to the bathroom at the same time and all the kids line up to go in. Boys stand with boys to go into the boys bathroom and girls stand with girls to go into the girls bathroom. Peyton naturally went and stood with the boys because there is no confusion in his head as to who he is (the only place he is unsure of this is at school and this is because of the school rules but that is for another blog). The wonderful thing about the zoo is that they have previously had transgender kids, a lot older but they have had them. So they know what to do in these situations. They allow the kids to choose what they are most comfortable doing. Peyton chose to go to the boys bathroom and that is what they let him do.
A few days after the class I received a call from the zoo. Not unheard of but the voice message I received was that there was a concern about Peyton that they wanted address. That’s when my heart dropped. At that point I had no idea how accommodating the zoo was in this area and I was afraid of what I would be told. The teacher simply said that Peyton went to the boys bathroom versus the girls bathroom and they wanted to know if this was what I wanted. I had no idea of how to respond. So many things crossed my mind. My first instinct was, “he is a boy he should use the boys bathroom” but that quickly vanished from my brain and was replaced by not so nice thoughts. Thoughts of other’s exposing themselves to Peyton crossed my mind or worse him being raped. Yes this crossed my mind because by me “allowing” him to go into the boys bathroom, I am all of a sudden opening the door to so many bad things that can happen. The thought of this scares me because at this point it is my job to protect him and keep him safe. Kids are so mean and so many stories hit the web of kids killing other kids in bathrooms… But, the reality is that it happens in both boys and girls bathrooms.
I don’t think that my feelings on this will ever get to a place where I feel that Peyton is safe. I am fully aware that the fact that he is transgender means that he will likely be picked on more then other kids. The seclusion provided by bathrooms in a school setting now becomes a breeding ground of hate for Peyton. There are days when Peyton comes home so upset from school. These are the days that his teacher has not allowed him to use the boys bathroom. He is heart broken and confused on those days because he is a boy and is forced to go in the girls bathroom. And this is when I realize that no matter how much I want to keep Peyton in a bubble so that he is safe and doesn’t have to deal with all the hate in the world, I can’t. He wants to be as much of a normal boy as he can be and I won’t always be there to shield him from all that the world has in store for him. I have to equip him with what he will need to defend, protect and stand up for himself in the future now while he is young. Above all I have to support him and reinforce the fact that he is indeed a boy for his mental well being.
It is crazy to think that I have to start letting my son grow up at the age of four but ultimately, I can’t stop him from using the boys bathroom. He is after all, a boy.