If you’ve been paying attention to the media lately, this past weekend was all about Diane Sawyer’s interview with Bruce Jenner.
The former Olympian confirmed that he’s transitioning from a male to a female during Diane Sawyer’s 20/20 special on Friday, April 24. In the two-hour interview, he covered a variety of topics, including how his family reacted, when he began to cross-dress, contemplating suicide, what his three ex-wives knew, and more.
It seems now more than ever, we are hearing more and more stories from transgender individuals. Most recently, NBC’s Kate Snow shares a story of family who describe their emotional decision to allow their young daughter to transition into boyhood.
And then there’s Aydian Ethan Dowling. He’s blowing out the competition for Men’s Health’s “Ultimate Guy Search” with more than 53,000 votes. It’s more than 40,000 votes than the contestant in second place.
The nationwide contest aims to find a man who “possesses all of the qualities that make up today’s well rounded, active, health conscious and thoughtful guy.”
I have to admit, when I first heard of Aydian, I watched a few of his videos on YouTube and I was hooked! I must have watched about an hours worth of videos and then realized that I was not only drawn in but really hoping that he’ll win the contest.
As a mom, I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to talk to my kids about what it means to be transgender and how they felt about the subject.
My 11 year old shrugged her shoulders and said “Meh, doesn’t matter to me. As long as he is happy.” Now, my 15 year old had more insightful words “He’s brave to be able to share his story. If he’s happy being a woman and it’s what completes him, than that’s all that matters. Good for him for coming to peace with his inner struggle.”
The next question, I asked is how would they feel if a family member told them that they were transgender. Again, both said that it was fine.
So, I asked one more question. “What would you do, if it was your mom or dad telling you? Would you feel the same or would you feel different?” At first, they laughed and said “Mom, I can’t see you being a guy. You like too many girl things.”. I urged them again and asked “But what if I wasn’t. What if I wanted to be a guy. Would you be upset? Would it be weird to have a mom that is now masculine looking on the outside? Think about it. It’s a lot different when it’s someone that is close to you compared to someone who isn’t directly affecting your life”. Both girls thought for a minute and said that they would be upset at first but would support any decision that I made, especially if it made me happy.
I was surprised but wasn’t surprised by my kid’s reactions. Surprised because they seemed nonchalant about the topic. At the same time, I was quite impressed that they see people as people and I feel like I have raised them to be open minded and accept everyone. People are not defined by their race, culture, or gender rather by who they are – unique and amazing individuals.
If only, so many others can see it this way as well.
Are you having these kinds of talks with your kids? If so, what are their thoughts on the subject?
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