Altruistic Support

By Sylvie Griffiths:

This weekend I finally read a book I had been dusting on my cluttered desk. It was not that I wanted a new paperweight; grad school, four kids, and a husband changing jobs had me pretty much occupied. I had ordered two books on transgender kids online two-plus months ago, and I was feeling like the time to do this would never come. Well, thanks to a check engine light that trapped me at my car dealership the time to devote to reading one of these books presented itself. But let me backtrack a bit.

When I started writing my blogs I felt a lot of different emotions; anxiety, pride, fear, and joy were just a few examples. I felt primarily concerned with making my blog anonymous or not. My transgender son Jake encouraged my writing; he occasionally journals about himself and happily shares them with our family as well as his favorite teacher at his elementary school. His support, as well as a small circle of my friends and family, got me to the point where I could hit send on my emails to the publisher without having a panic attack. After the first blog went live on this website, anonymity was not an option.

The book I chose that day at the dealership was a book written in a false name from the perspective of a mother of a teen identifying as being a transgender male. I finished it, except for the resources section after the ending, during my time waiting for my car. (I am a fast reader.) The book made me feel less alone. I realize so many kids are struggling with their identities related to being transgender, but I do not know anyone in my community or my circle who is a parent of one of these fantastic humans. Reading the book that day I laughed and cried because this mom’s experience was so like mine. And this made me feel like my journey was supported, and from a total stranger at that. The authors’ sympathy and empathy for her family’s story around their son, who requested his life be kept private, is as inspirational as it is empowering. I feel so much less awkward and alone parenting my son. I feel like a have a friend out there who knows how I think, regardless of if we ever meet. The fact that she opened up to the world about her real life increased my confidence in my decision to blog about our family.

I realize not everyone who reads this blog will have a transgender child. I also know that not everyone will understand our decisions and values regarding our youngest. But I write to celebrate our time with Jake on this journey; he teaches our family so much! Do you have a child who identifies as being part of the LGBTQ community? Maybe a friend or family member who struggles with their own identity; perhaps you do. We recently disclosed Jake’s story to a family in our cub scout den. I even sent the link to this blog to the parents. The positive and accepting response to both gave us such joy; my husband and I always worry for the day Jake is exposed to harmful views of his situation. But for now, I thank you for reading this blog. Jake thanks you too; he is thrilled I write about him. The youngest of four loves attention.

About Sylvie Griffiths:

Sylvie is a happily married mother of four who enjoys writing, people and chocolate.

She is an Evaluation Associate and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Behavioral Healthcare-Adult Community Concentration, from the University of South Florida. She holds more than ten years of experience in performance assessment and behavioral health services and is currently enrolled as an MBA student at Springfield College, School of Professional and Continuing Studies.