Shopping

James was so excited when we went shopping for some boys clothes.  He was going to Ottawa for a school trip and need some new clothes.  I was dreading this day.  I put on a happy face because I knew James was excited. This was our first shopping trip since he came out.  Sigh

We had to buy a binder, shorts and t-shirts.  For the binder we went to Come As You Are (Come As You Are) plus Bluenotes’ (Bluenotes’).

The person at Come As You Are (Come As You Are) was truly amazing.  They helped James and I buy a binder plus a swim top.  Come As You Are is also a sex shop.  This shocked me.  James got to try on various binders plus swim tops.  I cried while James tried on binders and swim tops.  The person at the counter understood which was amazing. This was a wonderful experience. The person at the counter said it was so nice to see a parent coming with their child.  I did ask them many questions about binders and swim tops which they answered without hesitation.  This was a very good experience.  We will have to go back again to buy more binders.

Next was lunch at The Burger’s Priest (The Burger’s Priest).  It was nice to have lunch with James, as we don’t get to have lunch together.  At lunch we talked about our experience at Come As You Are.

Onto Bluenotes’ (Bluenotes’) now for shorts and t-shirts. James headed right to the boys section and within minutes found shorts and t-shirts.  I made him try them on.  He was so excited and in his element. We ended up buying him shorts, t-shirts and a bathing suit.

He was exhausted from shopping so we went right home.  He showed his dad all his new items with excitement.  I went to my room and cried.  I guess because it was real.  I know this sounds silly but it hit me hard.

Later that night James dad and myself went out for gas and I told him how hard it was for me. When I was telling James dad about the day, the tears came out again.  I was morning the lose of my little girl but gaining a son.

This was such an emotional day but it was so nice to see James so happy.  He has found himself and is comfortable with himself.  I am so proud of him.  I think it is hard for people to be comfortable with themselves never mind being trans.  I am still learning to be comfortable with me as a 47 year old women.

James comments – he said that was a good day because he finally got some boys clothes of his own. He use to “borrow” his older brothers tops. We also wondered where they all went.  He could finally dress the way he wanted and was very comfortable. He enjoyed the day very much.

James Coming Out at School Plus Telling Family and Close Friends

James told us that he wanted to come out fully at school so we told him it was fine.  Around the same time I sent an email to our family and close friends. James had approved the email that I was going to send out.

When James came home, I asked how things went at school.  He said it was fine and the class clapped for him.  I told him if he ever runs into trouble, tell a teacher, principal, or the office.  He then told me that his school has trans bathrooms that he has been using.  I remember thinking WOW what a great school and so progressive.James at this time did go to a small school that had 30 grade eight kids.  He went to graduation wearing black dress pants, white shirt, and blue tie.  He looked so handsome.  I was tearing up. I then emailed the teachers plus principal and office staff saying I give them permission to call him James and that he will be handing in work with this name on it. Everyone at the school was so supportive.  He lost no friends.  I was so relieved at this.

Below is the email that I sent out to family and close friends. I wish I could take credit for this great idea but I cannot.  I saw this on a website or documentary or interview that I saw when I did my initial research of what exactly is transgender.  I worked on this email for MANY days.  I cannot tell you how many times I revised it.James approved this.

” Hi Everyone –

You are receiving this email as you are family or a close friend.

I am writing to you to inform you about something that is personal in nature, but will result in some changes.

Sara has told us that she is transgender. The name she goes by is James and would like to be referred to as he.

We will not be answering any questions. We love our child, stand behind this decision, and are proud.

We are trying to create a safe place for James in our home plus the homes he visits.

I know this may take time for you to understand and hope that you can support us in this transition.

Love,

James Parents”

We were so surprised by the amount of support we received.  We received phone calls and emails almost immediately. This was such a relief.

James comments – he told me that he cried when he told his entire class.  He finds it funny how he cried telling his class but not the close friends and family.

Doctors Appointments

From here on out, everything seems to be a blurb as things happened so fast.  I don’t remember dates which is ok but wished I would have kept better track.  Live and learn I guess.

Pediatrician Appointment

James pediatrician talked to both James and I at first and then he wanted to speak with James alone.  It seemed like forever but I am sure it was 5 – 10 minutes.  James and I then both talked to the doctor.  In summary, the pediatrician suggested that he has only had a handful of patients that have come out (I liked his honesty) and he would refer us to Sick Children’s Hospital to a clinic there.  I told him that we already had an appointment in the next few days at Sick Children’s Hospital in the Teen Clinic.  The pediatrician was happy with that.  If there was anything else we needed, please let him know.

This visit was very emotional.  I did cry at the doctors office but it was ok.  James did see me cry and I know this upsets him.  I tried not to cry because I don’t like to upset him.  I explained to him that I was feeling overwhelmed plus this is all new and scare.  I know nothing about this at all.  I definitely know more now then before.

Teen Clinic

James, his dad, and myself all went to the Sick Kids appointment. James dad still thinks it is a phase.

We meet with James Teen Clinic doctor and he did his usual follow up.  He then asked if there was anything else that we wanted to tell him.  I started to cry instantly.  I was glad he had kleenex in his office.  (Do you have the impression that I cry a lot?  More is yet to come.)  We explained what James was feeling.  Once again he meet with James alone and brought us in after speaking with James.  He then said he was not an expert about this, would we mind if he introduced us to someone that.  We agreed. He brought in a Social Worker to speak with all of us and asked if we had any questions.  I did.  I asked about him going to the washroom.  We discussed what makes James feel comfortable and which one did he want to go into.  He said the men bathroom and my heart sank.  I think because this is all becoming real.  The Social Worker said if James dad was with him for him to go until James feels more comfortable.  She pointed out the he can use the handicapped or family bathroom.  She reiterated that safety and comfort is the main objective.  I thought this was the end of the conversation.  How I was wrong!!!  She then asked if James was wearing a binder.  James said yes and bought is second hand.  (I forgot to tell you that James and his friend went to a store and bought a used binder before he came out to us.)  James dad and myself were shocked.  We had no idea.  The Social Worker and James went to the other end of the hall and James tried on binders that fit him.  This is a great service just so James knows how it should fit.  We couldn’t buy it there for him but they told us where to go.  They told us to go to Come As You Are ( Come As You Are).  James knew what kind he wanted and style.  We made a follow-up appointment with the Social Worker.

We learnt that some trans-children try and take their own life.  I am so proud of James that he didn’t.  I cannot tell you what a great feeling this is.  I know odd, right??  I have asked him this so many times.  I was so proud of him.

The most important piece of information that we received was to follow James lead.  Check to make sure he is comfortable with the steps we were about to take.  For example: telling close friend and family, contacting his current school, contacting his high school.  I even checked with him about this blog.  If we are not too sure about something, we asked James.  I know this is “simple” information but it makes sense now more than ever.

As I said James is ready to hit the ground running.  James dad and I need to catch up with him.  On the car ride home, he turns and says. “Mom when can we go shopping for the binder and new clothes.”  I said, “this weekend.”  My heart sank.

Looking back, I think James dad and I were shocked at how much research James had done before coming out to us.  He bought a binder with a friend, decided this is who he is, downloaded an app that indicates trans bathrooms, plus came out to a few friends and us.  Wow what an amazing kid and he was ok with everything.  James has been a sick child and we went to the Teen Clinic A LOT but after he came out, all his medical issues went away.  I think the medical issues were from the stress.  Even the Teen Doctor said James seems to be doing so much better.  James is so much more happier and has more energy.  Its amazing.  He still has to take iron pills but who cares.  My son is alive and doing great.

I am so proud of James dad for coming to this appointment.  He had to take time off work plus this is hard for him.  In the coming days, I will be more impressed with him.  What a great dad that he is.

James comments – it was great trying on binders at Sick Kids plus doing it with a professional.

Making Doctors Appointments

I called James pediatrician that night and left a message.  In the message, I told them why I wanted to see the doctor and if possible, asap.  I was thinking that this appointment would not happen for a few weeks as it is so hard to get an appointment.  To my surprise, they called me the next day and we go an appointment the in two days.

I had an appointment at Sick Kids Hospital then next week at the Teen Clinic already scheduled.  The process  was in motion or what I thought the process was. 

It was so easy leaving a message but I was wondering how I would be at the appointments.

I cried a lot that night.  It wasn’t because I was upset but overwhelmed.  I was trying to picture what life would be like for him.  I knew there would be challenges and I couldn’t always be there to protect him.  I just wanted him to be safe.  I want both of my sons to be safe.

Talking To Brother and Dad

This was going to be the hard part. James dad isn’t always opened minded. I had no idea what his older brother would say or do. I was worried about telling both of them.  I told them both on the same day he left the note for me.  I was so nervous.

First I told James older brother. I sat him down when he came home from school. James was in his room. I told his brother about the note and let him read it. After he read it, he said ok. I asked if he had any questions and he said no. Wow that was easier than I thought. Believe me the next few weeks would tell a different story.

He said he would try to remember to call his new brother James but it might be hard for him to remember. I told him to try his best. Besides James has ALWAYS corrected the name and pronoun.

I told him I loved him and we will work together as a family.

WOW that was easy. One down and one to go.  Sigh, I expect this to be harder.

James dad came home from work and took a shower. Then we went to a local bar to talk over food and booze. James dad knew something was going on but he would never have guessed this.

After the first beer was done, I gave him the note to read. He didn’t believe what he was reading. It took him a long time to process this. I think he was hoping this was a joke. He thought James could have been a lesbian but not this. Hell, he really didn’t understand what transgender was. I did my best to explain it to him. The limited knowledge that I had from googling that day. I told him to google transgender. To this day he hadn’t. I think he is afraid of what he reads.  That day he said he would support him plus go to the doctors appointments that I was about to set up. To thus day, he thinks it’s a phase. He has mourned the loss of his little girl a bit but not fully as he thinks it’s a phase. Argh.  At least he is willing and that’s all that matters.

I am so proud of James dad. He is handling this better than I had thought.  I am worried what happens when he realizes this is not a phase.

Talk After School

James was a bit late coming home from school on the day he left the note for us.

When he got home, he came to my bedroom and I gave him the longest hug and kiss.  I must have told him a thousand times that I love and so proud of him plus he will always be my kid. I remember him saying ok I get it.

Before he got home from school I googled transgendered children and found lots of information. Thank goodness for Google.

I had lots of questions for him. Here are some of the questions and his answers (I cannot remember the exact order of the questions).

Why a note? I thought you could talk to me about anything.

-we can but I felt comfortable this way

What do you think I would do?

-wasn’t quite sure

Why James?

-I like the name

Do your friends know and how did they react?

-few close friends know and they are fine with it

How long have you felt this way?

-about a year, I was confused about everything

He then asked if he could tell the rest of his class and teachers, I asked him to hold off for a few days. I need to wrap my head around this.  James wanted to hit the ground running with this.

I reminded him that dad and his brother didn’t know yet. I told James that I would talk to them each alone and then we will have a family meeting to talk openly about this. He thought this was a good idea.

I told him that I would have lots of questions the coming days, months, etc. He said he would answer my questions as best as he could.

I also assured him that I won’t do anything without first consulting him. I want him to be comfortable with everything that I was doing.  The information that I read said to take the lead from your child and make sure they are comfortable.

I told him that I would make a doctors appointment so he can talk to his doctor and Sick Kids doctor. I wanted to make sure he was sure about this and he wasn’t confused.  I knew one of them would know the next step to take.

I then called his dad and told him we needed to talk when he got home and we would be going out.  I told his dad everything was ok but we needed to talk about our daughter.

James comments – don’t press your child to come out – they will do it when they are ready. Plus NEVER EVER call your transgender child by their birth name if you are extremely mad at them. In school, he read a book called Beautiful Music for Ugly Children.  This book is about a transgender female to male. He thinks this is a really good book to read but it is fiction and made by a cis person.

Coming Out

On April 27, 2016 is when my son came out.  It was one of the hardest and confusing days of my life.

I was home from work because I wasn’t feel well, I opened my bedroom door and saw something taped to my door.  I instantly thought, oh shoot I forgot to sign a permission form.  I looked closely at the note and in his writing it said for mom and dad.  I opened the note and I was stunned.  I must have read the note at least a dozen times.  The note was very well written.

The note said, “I could not tell you this in person because I was afraid of what you might say or do so I decided to do this in a note.  I am trans gender which means I feel like a boy on the inside and out.  I know this might be a lot to take in but I hope you can accept me like this and get used to it.  I wanted it to keep it short so it’s easier to take in.

-from your loving son James”

After reading the note, I called my best friend to talk about it. Then I texted James .  The text said, “I love you.  I am proud of you.  We will talk when you get home.  Xoxo.”

He wrote back “You too.  See you when I get home.”