As an LGBTQ+ parent you feel confusion around how did you not know. You are not alone.
You fear the challenges that the future might hold. You are not alone.
You worry about the opinions others might have. You are not alone.
You accept your child because you love them no matter what. You are not alone.
And... you have questions, oh the questions you have. You are not alone.
So one day you are sitting there with your daughter, let's call her Suzie. You are doing a puzzle, and you are thinking, heck I'm putting in some major quality time with my kid, because it's one of those 1000 piece puzzles. So yeah you, bonus points towards Parent of the Year. And then, what feels like out of nowhere, she tells you she likes girls.
Wow, you're a bit shocked, but you are open and progressive, you love your child no matter what, and you talk through it. You tell her "you love her, you accept her and you support her always". The next day you go to that cool store in the mall and buy her the lesbian flag pin and a shirt to show how much you support her, bam, Parent of the Year, here you come.
A few months later, you and Suzie are hanging out, more puzzle time, 2500 pieces this time. She has come out to a small group of friends and you are comfortable with everything in her life. More importantly, she is comfortable with everything in her life, so you think. But again, out of nowhere, bam, she shares that she is bisexual, not Lesbian. You are shocked, again, but think, okay, she's doubled her chances for a date, I can be okay with this. You still love and support her always. So back to the store you go for the bisexual pin and a new shirt. No fear, Parent of the Year is still in sight.
Time passes on. Suzie likes brunette boys and red-headed girls. She has opened up about herself to a few more close friends and even told a few cousins. She wears the pin on the inside of her sweatshirt and sleeps in the bi shirt, while the lesbian shirt sits at the bottom of the drawer.
Meanwhile, you are learning. You learn that being bisexual doesn't mean she is Lesbian AND Heterosexual. You learn that asking if it's a phase or if she is being pressured by her bisexual friends is absolutely the WRONG thing to say. You learn that you thought you were a cool parent that accepted everything and now you are realizing that maybe, somewhere deep down inside, you know you are clueless and don't know what to say. But still, you are hopeful that Parent of the Year isn't completely lost. As the months tick by you learn how to navigate the conversations, support her relationships and continue to love Suzie as you always have.
Then, just when you have the bisexual concept clear in your head and you haven't inadvertently insulted her in a few months, BAM, Suzie shares with you that she isn't comfortable with who she is, she's always known that being a girl wasn't how she felt and now she would like to be a boy. She asks you to use He and Him and wants to be called Steve from now on.
Talk about shock, you admit that you really didn't see this one coming.
Okay, you got this. She, wait no, HE has shocked you before. First sharing she, no he, was a lesbian. Wait is that even possible? A he can't be a lesbian unless he was a she, which she was, well is, but now she is a he, and OMG, I can't keep it straight in my own head, how in the world am I going to be able to keep it straight with her, damn, I mean him. Whew, this is exhausting.
Then you start to think about everything else. What will the rest of the family say?, they didn't even know she, I mean he, was a lesbian, and the holidays are coming up soon. She (he) wants to be called Steve. Oh man, I knew a guy named Steve, nice guy, but this is my daughter (son?) we are talking about. Do they sell shirts and pins for this? Damn another wasted shirt at the bottom of the drawer. Will she get bullied in school?, will the school be willing to change his name and pronouns?, he wants to cut off all his hair, he wants a binder, what the heck is a binder?
Then you think some more, about what's really important. This is your child. The child you loved from before they were born. The child you held and hugged. The child that gave you that silly, adorable handprint he made in kindergarten that you still have. The child you cared for through every illness, went to every game and watched in every play. The child you laugh and cry with, cuddle and console, sat through 5000 piece puzzles with. The child you love, always.
This child, your son, trusts you with his deepest thoughts and feelings. He knows that you are the person he can go to when he feels alone, unsure, scared. He knows that you will support him through it all. He knows that you will love him, always, no matter what. And he is right. Bam, Parent of the Year.
If this resonates with you, please take a moment and share it with your child, it might resonate with them as well.