Do you accept your children?
Do you accept your friends? Your partner?
Do you truly accept who they are and what they are and how they are?
Do you respect them and the way that they want to be?
Even if it is discomforting or challenging or not quite what you want or need?
I met a girl. She was with her mum. She was a tall, skinny girl, with an old-fashioned girls name. Lets call her Gloria.
Gloria had platinum bleached blonde hair with dark roots showing, no actual style to it, but that can be the fashion in the young these days.
Within the first few moments, I realised that the physical appearance of Gloria was incongruent with her presentation.
And within the conversation Gloria revealed that she was ‘trans’ and had started the process of gender re-identification.
Gloria’s mum was a prim, proper, well dressed, business woman. On appearance you would describe her as uptight.
But the love, support and equanimity that she displayed with Gloria, actively emphasising her name and pronouns used, almost when they were not required just blew me away. And I admit that as soon as my brain realised that this was a boy, who identified as a girl, I had to be more vigilant about my pronoun use, as my brain wanted me to use ‘he’ even though that same brain knew that ‘she’ was the correct pronoun. So I was grateful for mum, as she was bluntly advocating for her daughters identity. I had never had that problem before with pronouns, and I’ll keep reflecting on why I was seemingly more at risk of making such a silly slip up. I notice that until she said she was trans, I had less problems.
I read this letter ages ago, from a dad to a hypothetically gay son. Letter to my unborn son I had always identified strongly with its message. But I hadn’t more than academically considered about the rest of the LGBTI rainbow.
I cuddle my boys at every opportunity and feel their warm arms around my neck and tell them that they can be anything that they want to be. In those conversations I literally mean it – but generally in the context of engineer/ astronaut/ basketballer. I also know that whatever life choices they make, whatever partner they bring home, I will love them still, but I haven’t been tested with how easily I will ACCEPT.
I tell them that there is nothing in this world that they can do to make me stop loving them.
And I mean it.
But to see the unity and advocacy this mum and her daughter ‘Gloria’ illustrated moved me to tears. I have family and friends who have trouble accepting me just the way I am. I have family and friends that I see struggle to accept their kids for who they are – poor students, non athletes, not musical or cool. Generally ‘nots’ or deficient, rather than added extras or strengths in different areas. And this isn’t something like sexuality or identity, but how well they kick or catch a ball.
To see a mother love her boy so very much that she would completely support him on his way to being truly herself, to reassign a name different to the one you loving ached over choosing, to change the course of their life, was inspiring.
That is acceptance people. And acceptance and respect are the basic foundations of love.
And the world I want to live in has more of this.
Coincidentally this occurred the same day the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in all states!