My enby teen, now 14, started binding earlier this year — March, 2020 — and then, The Pandemic. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
We paced through the necessary appointments with C.’s health care team:
Therapist — check! Given the mental health benefits of binding, and C.’s therapist’s deep experience working with trans youth, this appointment was a gimme. Score one for binding.
Family Practice — check! However, I was rather disgruntled by this appointment. I’d anticipated that our beloved cis/het/fem family practice doc (Dr. W.) might not have all the info, so about a week ahead of time, I…
Getting my child’s new pronouns (they/them) correct has become easier over the last few months. My partner and I have practiced enough that they-ing and them-ing feels pretty natural. In my case, the ability to get the pronouns right is an indicator that I am fully present and in command of my prefrontal cortex. But I falter when my lizard brain takes over, and out comes she/her — a sure sign that I am stressed or distracted.
A few months into my child’s nonbinary journey, they expressed interest in experimenting with a new name — a variation on their given…
My Teen Wants a Binder — And Not the Three-ring Kind
As a Gen-X, cis/het female, my relationship to my body has been one of learning to love and accept it as it is. I was born to a feminist Boomer, a mother who protected me from Barbie.
Girls of my generation, the ones lucky enough to have freethinking mothers like mine, lived and breathed the Free to Be You and Me anthem. In later years we steeped our psyches in more mature themes of Our Bodies, Our Selves. All bodies are beautiful, each one unique.
I brought these themes…
The community of writers on Medium has been a lifesaver.
As I transition from parenting an assigned-female-at-birth (AFAB) child to parenting a non-binary (NB, =enby) teen, having a the space to process the experience through writing is invaluable. Reading about the experiences of other parents, hearing from LGBTQ+ readers, sharing from the heart — I am hooked.
Over the last few months, my teen (C.) has progressed through new personal frontiers: pronouns, wardrobe, hair. But we are now plunging into more personal topics.
As adults, we are hungry for ideas about how we can best support our children’s gender exploration…
Few other forms of gender expression are as powerful as the language of hair. Who taught me this? My non-binary preteen.
Shortly after coming out to us as non-binary, C. asked me to book a hair appointment. They wanted to go with a more androgynous look, both through clothing and hair style. In full-on supportive parenting mode, I complied — poised at the intersection of enthusiasm and grief, a mash-up of emotions that is becoming increasingly familiar to me as the parent of a gender queer child.
In the first few weeks of eight grade, it felt like C. had…
Like so many parents of a certain progressive bent, my spouse and I did our best to go gender neutral after the birth of our child. We skipped the color coding of our baby, choosing instead a neutral palette for the nursery and favoring a full spectrum layette.
We welcomed the hand-me-downs that flowed into our child’s closet — gender-neutral onesies, footed pajamas and sleep sacks. But over time the gendered clothing began showing up, too: the pink frills and sequins adorning an otherwise practical turtleneck, for example. We leaned toward the bold stripes in primary colors and the brown…
My brain is tired. It’s tired in a way that feels familiar, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. Then I realize — It feels like the exhaustion of language immersion.
I have felt weary in this way before. Once as an exchange student living in Germany. Again as a Peace Corps Volunteer living in a remote village in Panama. In both cases, I was steeped in learning a new language and culture 24/7. Although my current situation involves only a handful of mono syllabic words, all of them in the third person, the sensation is recognizable. These…
I was impressed. When my kiddo decided to switch up their pronouns, they had a number of suggestions for support they were looking for. Specific things that, after some focused research, conversations and consulting with experts I could probably have come up with. But they were ready and made these suggestions themselves — over the first week or so of school. I will list them here.
“Mom. I need to talk with you.”
My daughter is grabbing me by the elbow and pulling me down the hall. It’s back-to-school night, and she’s leading us away from the hubbub of the cafeteria.
“I need you to tell Ms. J. that I’ll be using they/them/their pronouns this year.”
I stare at my nearly thirteen-year-old, who is going into 8th grade.
“You want me to tell Ms. J. you are using they/them/their… pronouns this year.”
“So…. you are changing your pronouns.”
“You don’t want to use she/her/hers?”
“And you want me to tell Ms. J…
Writer of creative nonfiction (memoir). Conservation biologist. Cis/het female parent to enby teen. She/her.