We are a family of five. I'm a kiwi born in Lower Hutt, and my husband is English. Two of our children were born in the UK, and we moved back here when they were tiny so that we could take them to Playcentre and be involved in their earliest years. My wonderful rainbow was a child that was destined to be born. There is a five-year gap between him and his brother. X has never been defined by gender. He has always been ‘he' but his early influences were not gendered at all He had a wonderful child-led Playcentre education, and has had the benefit of being part of a very community minded, and open family.
When he was about seven X mentioned that he wanted to ‘evolve to be a girl'. That led on to a fixation with mermaids and all sorts of empowered female role models. When he was about nine, he started to want to wear clothing that was more femme, and started to wear the female culottes in primary school. That led to him then branching out into all sorts of wonderful clothing choices, culminating in his decision to wear the girls uniform in year seven. A hugely brave choice considering we lived in a pretty conservative area and the school was a year 7-13.
We never even considered not supporting X. Our eldest daughter's Godfather is gay and has been married to his wonderful husband for years. We have many friends on the rainbow spectrum, and as a practising witch, I'm quite used to controversy. X has never been a victim. He has always been very sure of his place in the world, and his value, and that has helped him be strong when things have got a bit tough. He hates not being able to defend himself and has found secondhand gossip the hardest to handle. At the age of 11, he decided he identified as a gay male, and is happiest in a group of mostly female friends.
My immediate family has been the biggest challenge. To be honest, we just don't engage. I listened to an amazing podcast once, where the speaker referred to their family as an island. Only the people who supported them 100% were allowed on the island. That is how we are. It's hard, but our first allegiance is to X and if anyone in our lives can't accept him, then they just don't get our time, energy or attention. For the last five years or so, X has been a light bearer. He flies his flag high so that others can gather near, or underneath and know that is ok.
The most important thing is to gather those around you that will support you and not judge. Your beautiful child is going through a huge journey and your job as a parent is to be their rock and their port in a storm. Make sure YOU also have support and people around you that you can trust completely.