It’s been a really long time since I’ve posted and it feels like so much has happened since my last update. This summer was really tough for me, especially after the President made his tweet planning on banning transgender military members from serving. As a military spouse and coming from a military family, I took this very hard. These are people who are willing to die for our country, who cares what their gender identity is? I was so angry. Then I went to some support group meetings for parents with transgender kids. Usually these make me feel so much better, but this summer, they weren’t. Instead, I was seeing them as a call to action.
While parents were telling their stories, I was hearing so much frustration about schools, school districts, and local governments. K is still young so this isn’t really affecting us yet, but it is affecting them. I realized that I could do more, not just for these families, but for so many families. I was seeing the importance of having progressive local government officials who would be allies for transgender community members, people of color, women. I mean, I had always told myself that these were important, but I really started to see it more clearly. In August, I filed for our local school board.
It’s been a whirlwind few months, but I am happy to say that I have earned a seat at the local government table and I am ecstatic. It seems even more important since K made the decision to stop homeschooling and to go to regular school. Her school was awesome when we talked to the principal. She was wonderful. There was no question what bathroom K would be using, and they were incredibly supportive. K is actually the first trans student at this school so the principal had a couple of questions about how the transition happened, but I could tell that she genuinely wanted to understand better. She wasn’t being judgmental. We had a great talk.
With all of the playdates we’ve had, camps that K has gone to, and various sports that we’ve been a part of, K has never come home talking about a friend. EVER. I was actually starting to worry about her a bit since she was never interested in other kids (other than big sisters friends when they came over.) The first day of school changed all of that. K started on Halloween and she was dressed like Ariel. Turns out, there was another Ariel there that day and the two hit it off. K came home talking up a storm about her new little friend. She has talked about her every day since, and that was a month ago. I am so happy. For the first time in K’s life, I feel like she has actually found someone to be her friend.
What I didn’t expect with our new friend is the worry that I now have. Before now, I have vetted everyone. Our playdates have been with moms I know. They know us, our family, and K’s history. I know that they are safe people. I don’t know anything about these moms at school and while I’m ecstatic that K has a friend, I’m also terrified about the parents finding out that my daughter is trans. Will they be OK with it? Will they cause a public outcry because K is using the girls bathroom? Or worse, will they tell their little girl that she can’t be K’s friend anymore? This is new territory for us and I have no idea how to navigate it. With my new role in town, eventually someone is going to leak K’s secret. It will happen, the only question is when. All I am hoping is that we have enough time for people to meet K and get to know her, get to know us as a family. Then, when K’s secret is told, I just hope that people know us well enough that rather than being hateful, they want to learn. This is my hope. If K lost her first real friend because of this, I would be devastated for her. How do you explain that to a 4-year-old?