One Parent’s Path

Posted by – September 4, 2010

It’s rare to see an article by a parent about a child’s transition, much less one that openly struggles with the issues a religious faith brings into the mix.

Inwardly I wrestled with the changes in my child: shoulders broadening, cheek fuzz turning into beard, voice deepening. In a way it was fascinating: Who could imagine that a body would respond so dramatically to hormone treatment? And yet…where was my daughter? I couldn’t bear the thought of her disappearing before my eyes.

Outwardly, with the exception of my mother and one or two other people, I kept what was happening private. Talking about the situation felt too uncomfortable. I was embarrassed and ashamed that such a shande (shameful thing) could have happened in my family.

That year I met with a therapist several times. I also prayed. Psalm 118 was my daily focus: “I called on God from a narrow place; God answered from a wide expanse.” I hoped that God would help me open my heart in acceptance and love.

I thought of the story of the heartbroken father who came to the Baal Shem Tov for advice: “My son has turned his back on Judaism. What should I do?” The great Chasidic master replied, “Love him even more.”

I’m happy to add that I gave someone who knew this parent a few resources a couple of years ago when she was first struggling with her child’s transition. I hadn’t heard an update, & this one is about the best I could have hoped for.

1 Comment on One Parent’s Path

  1. ascensions says:

    We should not prop up, combine or further someone’s religious dogma with gender. I have no problem if someone is religious, but it’s instances like this in which we should simply say “what you believe is wrong.” Otherwise people will continue to justify the injustices against transgender people, and women in general with their religion. It’s justifications like these that leave women in the middle east buried to their heads being stoned. To quote Gloria Steinem: “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”

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