Last night we had our engagement party. It was the very best night EVER! We had a fancy club, fancy food and fancy cupcakes! We also had fancy people. Yup. It was so amazing to have all our friends and family support our love for each other. My family are pretty awesome and teach me so much every day about ALL the things I don’t know. They remind me, teach me and sort me out when I am ranting about some particular issue or lying on the floor hyperventilating!
There were some beautiful speeches from the Docs Mum and sister…. sob, hiccup….. and one from my boy. The big spunky boy.
I have a transgender child.
He was born at home at 42 weeks. People were like ‘Shit Edie I think that’s a big baby’. I was like ‘It’s all cool’.
(My midwife and doctor friends are now going ‘Oh Jesus’!) Anyway, he was a great big massive shoulder dystocia. Show us your posterior arm! Out he came blue as a whale and a bit of resus later was all good. Phew right!
V spent most of his childhood disposing of his French designer dresses in the pig pen, the chicken pen or under the hedge. He would stand there defiantly in his pants and wellington boots, bare chested and daring me to put them back on. I was like ‘Meh’ so started letting him choose his own clothes from the boys section.
I had a few gender diverse friends back then who said… ‘Hmmm I think there might be a gender thing going on’. I was like ‘Yeah, it’s all cool, lets just see what happens’.
I remember a school disco when we lived in NZ and the theme was pirates.
The spunky boy dressed as a pirate. The spunky girl drew on a beard and did all the dressing up. We turned up to a bunch of girls dressed like Miss universe in sparkly dresses and high heels. And there was V as a pirate, surrounded by 10 year olds who looked 16. He wasn’t too phased by this. He bloody loved his pirate look!
When V became a teenager things became a bit more tricky. Life became a bit hard. I ignored this for a while whilst hiding every sharp implement in the house because my child was slicing himself up with distress. It broke my heart. I remember sobbing on the back step thinking, ‘Shit V you’ve just gotta call it. I can’t do it for you’.
Then he did.
And I thought yup, I’ve got a transgender child.
Things then got easier, and harder, and easier. It was a journey. A massive journey. I had a LOT to learn. I like to think I’m a diverse thinker but I didn’t know shit about this. A bit, but not enough. So I learnt. I made some mistakes. Right at the beginning of this journey I took V out for a fancy pants Italian meal. Then I misgendered him to the waiter. It cost me $120 and an hour of stony silence. I never did it again. It was at the beginning, it happened with friends. There were many conversations about correcting people, forgiving people and educating people.
There were many one am conversations, many sobbing moments, much building up. There was an adolescence. It was not too bad in the scheme of things. I smiled quite a lot about it. There were moments of joy with things like facial hair, spunky deep voice, name changes and official document stuff. There’s a lot of joy in a tax number and Medicare card etc with your correct gender on it. There was the time V lost his official name change certificate and there was pure hysteria and a hurried trip to the town hall with me ranting all the way. There was the Australian Citizenship people going right out of their way at a moments notice to sort out the change of name and gender before the ceremony.
I met a great partner who just happens to be a Doctor who specialises in transgender health. The world works in mysterious ways! We are a same sex couple. We know a little bit about diversity.
There were Doctors and Surgeons who have been amazing, affirming and are the total shit when it comes to supporting transgender people.
There is the spunky girl who is the best daughter and sister in the world. She loved that child when he was born and she loves him now. She has been the most affirming amazing support for V. She is one of the very special people in the world.
My family, Mum and Dad have been amazing. We just do love and acceptance in our family. And ranting. And yelling. And drinking!
When you give birth to a child you want the world for them. You love them more than anything. You look out for them. I look out for V a lot.
Transgender people are more at risk of violence and suicide than anyone else.
There are many resources on the internet that will teach you good stuff about the trans community. It’s worth looking. Worth getting educated. Even if you don’t understand something you can take a step towards learning more. You have probably come across many awesome trans people in your life. I’ve got this deal with V, If you ever feel so bad, you call me. I will come and get you. Wherever I am, I will come and get you.
The spunky boy stands up, outs himself and works so hard to make people think a little deeper about trans issues. He’s got a voice. He maybe gets that from me.
I could have chosen to have a dead daughter. I chose to have a live son.
I would never have chosen anything else.
V you are a legend. Take up your space in the world.
Here is V’s speech from the party. Sob, hiccup.
When I think of my mother I think of huge hugs, laughter and occasional rants. She is one of those people who loves and cares indiscriminately. I think of the simple guidelines she lives her life by, be funny, be kind and drink a lot. I think of the day I told her I was transgender and the months that followed full of one am conversations where she would just listen, without judgement to everything I had to say.
The kindness that defines her is shared so deeply with Fiona. Everytime I see Fiona she is writing a speech, organising a conference or thinking about her patients. They are both such compassionate and deeply caring people not just towards each other but towards anyone who needs it. I know that without a doubt both of them have saved countless lives with just a moment of unconditional acceptance and understanding.
I can’t think of two people more suited to be together. They are a brilliant couple and I am so thankful that the universe has brought them together. The Mother has always been of the belief that small groups of people working together is what changes the world. I think that her and Fiona prove it’s smaller than that, that as a individual making a conscious decision to live your life with kindness and joy makes a significant impact.
Thank you both for being such a positive light in the lives of everyone here. I love you both dearly and know you will have an absolutely wonderful marriage.