It is almost Christmas. In a previous blog I celebrated the the gift that my child is. If you are a parent of a transgender or gender nonconforming child, you have a gift. Celebrate that gift with a great gift. There is a difference between accepting and affirming. There is also a difference between affirming and celebrating. I have said many times that being transgender is not my child’s defining characteristic, but it is a part of him. A part of him that is shamed by some of our elected officials, religious leaders, school officials, neighbors, and family members. They are wrong. In any gift giving season, you have a great opportunity to celebrate your greatest gift with gifts.
This is not about spoiling or anything grandiose. There are gifts that celebrate gender diversity for every budget. This is a visible reminder that lets them know that you not only recognize, accept and affirm your child, but also celebrate who they are. In my last lesson I touched on internalized transphobia. When you celebrate your child’s gender identity you not only affirm them, but you teach them that they should celebrate who they are. This is an important lesson.
We live in a world of judgment and self loathing. So many people do not like their bodies, their income levels, their circumstances, their hair, and so much more. Loving oneself and celebrating oneself is a greatest gift someone can give themselves.
I realize that a material possession will not do that in and of itself, but it is a little tangible thing that you can do that shows you value and love who they are. This may even happen surrounded by family members who do not completely accept and affirm your child yet. You are helping set the tone that this is something beautiful and to be celebrated and not an “issue” or “debate” or “sin” or “choice”. This is an integral part of your child and it is to be treasured as the gift it is.
I am on an extremely limited budget, so the celebratory gifts I get are little stocking stuffers. Small flags, buttons, funny tee shirts. Things like that. Additionally, I get items that recognize his gender. Neckties, men’s fragrances, hair care products, clothing items, etc.
The Lesson Behind The Gift
In my case, I spent my son’s formative years buying gifts that enforced the assigned sex. We live in a culture that lives in blue and pink for children. There is little to no nuance. When my son was young, without knowing, I was contributing to dysphoric triggers. Many of us were. Our mindsets often associate assigned sex as one’s gender.
Accepting, affirming, and celebrating goes beyond proper pronouns and names. This is beyond the clinical things to do. This life beyond the binary is a mindset change. In gender reveal parties (which I personally loathe), we celebrate the sex of a child. The first bike is often decidedly male or female in it’s design. Clothing, toys, events like daddy/daughter and father/son community events.
We have, without being aware, celebrated their assigned sex. In this world full of legislation, school board rules, religious leaders and small minded relatives and friends who would make our child’s gender a matter of shame to be restricted, they need our celebration.
Today’s resources will be gift ideas. Some of these items may not be something you can do by Christmas, but items like clothing and beauty products are likely a short drive from your home. Additionally, many stores in shopping malls such as Spenser’s and Hot Topic carry a variety of LGBTQIA Pride buttons, stickers, tee shirts and other assorted items.
Have fun. Celebrate your gift with gifts!
Link and Book and Video Resources
Book: “Beautiful Music for Ugly Children” by Kirstin Cronn-Mills. I have a confession on this book. I have not read it. My son has. He suggests it as a great read that is very affirming and is a page turner. I am going to trust him on this one.
Video: What Parenting a Trans Teen Teaches You. It is a heartwarming video with interaction between a teen and a mom. Enjoy. This is part of the gift. They teach us.