It seems like the general population today lives in a world where it’s each man for himself (or woman). Everyone is concerned more about personal feelings then the feelings of those around us. Clearly this is not something that is working as humankind seems to be deteriorating rapidly with each passing day. And by humankind I don’t mean that people are dying but, more that the kindness in people is dying.
Last night I saw the movie, The Truth About Jane. It is one that I had been meaning to watch but was on the fence about it. It is not action packed, it’s not about sex, and there are no naked bodies on the screen. It is a little slow but not boring. In short the movie is about a teenage girl coming out and the reaction of those around her. And the reaction of all those involved are so incredibly accurate when compared to real life.
When Peyton first told me that he wanted to be a boy I was confused. He was such a cute girl, why would he want to be a boy? Instantly after that I thought, “What the heck am I thinking? I myself am a lesbian so why should I care if he wants to be a boy?” But being a mother means that the only thing you want for your child is for that child to be safe, and healthy, and you want to keep them in a bubble so that nothing ever happens to them. Having a transgender child means that they will go out in the world each and every day and be taunted, and teased, and even bullied at times. Images popped into my head of Peyton coming home bruised and beat up because of not being accepted by others. What if he gets killed because of who he is. So even I, in the very beginning, thought “Nope, Peyton can not be a boy.” Thankfully I quickly overcame my ignorance and decided to learn and grow.
Overcoming ignorance can be done. But each individual has to choose to want to learn and grow. I won’t lie, it took me about a month to start allowing Petyton to make changes. Peyton’s real life name is not Peyton. I use that name on here to protect him a little bit. He did choose his real life name but I chose the spelling because his nickname could be for a boy or a girl. At the time I wasn’t quite ready for my little girl to be a little boy. But I was willing to take baby steps to help him, and baby steps to help me change and grow. Change is hard, for all of us. I think that is called being human. Allowing is a very restrictive word for me, but as parents, we have some control of what our children do and not do. It’s part of that safety bubble that we want to keep our children in. So we allow them to go to the movies, or we keep them home. We allow them to stay up late, or we send them to bed on time. Parenting is very tricky. And here I had to decide whether I would allow Peyton to be Peyton, or whether I would prevent him from being who he is. I slowly began the process of allowing Peyton to be Peyton. In The Truth About Jane, the parents try to prevent Jane from being a lesbian. They send her to therapy, monitor her comings and goings, and almost send her away to boarding school. And nothing changes Jane’s feelings because she was and is a lesbian. This is the case with Peyton. There was nothing I could ever do to stop him from being a boy. That is who he is.
In The Truth About Jane, Jane’s feelings are shown as she feels hated and alone because of lack of parental support. Jane feels that her family will kick her out and hate her for life if she comes out. She even contemplates suicide. Growing up and being different I felt all of that myself. There is a large amount of guilt that comes from coming out and “letting your family down”. And getting passed that is an extremely difficult thing. I did not want that for Peyton. So I chose to learn and grow and accept him for who he is. Jane’s mom eventually chooses that as well.
Jane’s mom feels scared for her daughter, because she doesn’t want Jane to ever be hurt. Having a gay friend, Jane’s mom “knows” the “hardships” that can come from having a “different” lifestyle. Jane’s mom also fears what others will say. That she will be thought of as a bad mother. But moms out there, our children have choices and a brain and a heart of their own. We can steer them towards a direction that we feel is right, but ultimately, they will become their own individual and unique person. Our job is to love and support them so that they feel like they have somewhere safe in the world where they belong. And this is where we have to think about the feelings and emotions of others. Kids are important and if we put their feelings and emotions into play, we can learn a lot about them, and support them in unbelievable ways.
In the United States alone about 123 people die each day via suicide (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 2018). Do you want a child or do you want a statistic?
If you or someone you know is considering suicide please call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text TALK to 741741
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. (2018). Suicide Statistics. Retrieved from https://afsp.org/about-suicide/suicide-statistics/