Peyton transitioned from a girl into a boy fairly quickly. I cut his hair from down to his butt to shoulder length and he began wearing boy clothes. About a month later I cut his hair into what he considered a boy haircut. This did not impact anyone in the household in any way. In case you have not read my previous blogs, Peyton is four, his younger sister Maggie is two, his older brother is eight, and he has a nineteen year old sister who is severely autistic. These are the siblings that he lives with full time. Peyton also has a three year old friend that is a boy and is very close to us all, and there are other friends, one is nine and the other is twelve and they visit regularly. Another close friend (from a different family) is a girl and she is three. There is a constant chaos of children in my household as all three families do several things together multiple times a week if not on a daily basis.
These kids are all so amazing. They completely and totally accepted Peyton’s change without any issue whatsoever. It was as if Peyton had been a boy all along. They had such an easy time changing from Peyton’s female name to his male name. I’m pretty sure they taught the adults around them that we should just accept Peyton for who he is. Sure there was some difficulty with consistency as far as using the name but that’s pretty much expected. It took a few weeks for the name Peyton to stick (because we were not used to it), but once it did, his female name was out of the picture. The kids still use it to tease Peyton., they are kids after all. So when they want to bother Peyton because they are feeling sassy, they call him by his old female name. This doesn’t happen often but it does happen. Whenever this happens I use it as an opportunity to reassure Peyton that he in fact is a boy. The other kids are reminded that Peyton is a boy and his name is Peyton and that they are not allowed to call him anything else because doing so is very disrespectful. Most instances in my household are used as teaching moments. With Peyton being Peyton, we have A LOT of teaching moments. Everything with the teasing quickly passes and typically leaves Peyton feeling better about himself because he then knows that I am on his side supporting him as a boy. This may seem a little strange but the little things are so important. My defending Peyton goes such a long way with him. You can just see him beaming with pride.
The pronouns took a little bit to teach the kids. I think this was my fault. In the beginning I wasn’t sure what pronoun to use. It was all very confusing to me. Once I sorted it all out in my head and realized that I should be referring to him as a boy, I started enforcing it and making sure everyone addressed Peyton correctly. This was something else that went a long way with him. As parents I think we don’t realize the huge impact that we have on our kids and those around us. Kids will learn what we indirectly teach them and that is what they apply to their every day lives. Treating Peyton with love and respect is teaching the kids around him that this is what they should be doing. Funny how we all impact each other in such huge ways without even knowing it. The kids taught the grown ups to quickly accept and the grown up taught the kids to just love without question.
There’s a video online at Buzz Feed LGBT. It’s short and so true. It is so important to do these little things for our transgender children.
My eight year old was the one with the most questions about Peyton. It wasn’t so much as questions as his inability to understand why Peyton wanted to be a boy. He is at an age where he understand the body and what identifies you as female and male. Knowing that Peyton has a vagina means that he is a girl (at least in an eight year old’s brain). We have had several conversations about why Peyton is really a boy and what makes Peyton a boy even though he has a vagina. The simplest way I found for him to understand was to tell him to pretend that he is a girl. At first this was difficult for him because he repeatedly said, “no, I am a boy.” I told him to just pretend that he had the body of a girl but still wanted to be a boy. After about 10 minutes he was able to pretend that he had the body of a girl. He again said how he wanted to be a boy. This statement allowed me to help him to see how Peyton feels and felt. Peyton has the body of a girl but in reality is a boy. No one can really change how Peyton looks right now and we can’t change the way he feels on the inside. All we can do is let Peyton know that we support him and believe that he is indeed a boy. If Peyton says that he is a boy then a boy he is to all of us.
We are all raised in certain ways that influences the way we see the world around us. This is what in a sense defines us. The older we get, the more we are used to these beliefs. An eight year old will see things differently then a toddler or preschooler. But, kids will always be the first to accept each other no matter what. At least this is the case with younger children.