For two years, I wrote regularly in an earlier version of this blog.  It was my way of dealing with the fact that, just before turning ten, my youngest child, assigned female at birth, declared that he needed to live as a boy and to be recognised as one.


Today, I’ve less answers about parenting a transgender child than I ever had. Since October 2014, I’ve learned a great deal about gender, being transgender, being gay, being straight, being forever in-between.  I’ve learned about the limitations of parenting, and of self.  I’ve learned about being privileged and what it’s like when some of those privileges crumble beneath you. I’ve learned how much further I could fall.

Meanwhile, O keeps growing and changing.  He has faltered in many, many ways but he’s not faltered in his declaration of his gender identity.  As his mother, I can’t see where this story is heading, where exactly we’re going to – but if that’s a concern for O, he doesn’t express it.   He is who he is.

These days, this blog space feels less celebratory.  O came out pre-Caitlyn Jenner, pre Leelah Alcorn, pre-the Australian Safe School wars, pre-US bathroom laws and pre-Trump. At nine, he was innocent enough to think that he was stating a simple truth about himself – and that after declaring it, the world would acknowledge him and move on. Perhaps I was almost naive enough to think that too.

It was also before the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, which cast a pall over my fictional name for my own child. I thought then about changing the name of the blog and of my pseudonym. I’d intended it to be an homage to Virginia Woolf and to the possibility of containing multitudes. I hope that the many victims of the Orlando tragedy see my decision to keep the name as being borne out of solidarity.

I stopped writing a blog because I could no longer understand why I was writing – and I didn’t know if I was actually writing about O or about me.  In the end, the answer was simple: this blog is for me and about me. I have a child who is transgender, but this is my story.  It will never be his.

I don’t have any answers about being transgender or even how to support a child who is gender-questioning, gender non-conforming or gender diverse. I  particularly don’t want to be drawn into polemic declarations about feminism, masculinity, parenting and the wrongs and rights of supporting a child’s gender identity.  If you’ve found this blog because you want to talk about how to support your own child – I will try to help, but I can’t offer anything definitive.  Right now, I’m trying to “hold space” for O, to allow this to be a time of uncertainty, to resist moving prematurely in any definite direction.

I plan to keep questioning, to keep living the deep, impenetrable conundrum of being the mother of O.  At present, I’m guided by these words of Rilke, from Letters to a Young Poet:

” . . . to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

2 thoughts on “Home

  1. It seems like a necessary place for you to be. I use my blog for processing, and perhaps you have done all the processing you need to know that way. Now you can support O, and facilitate his own development into who he is, his maturing which is simply himself. It is about him not you. Congratulations on reaching that place. It is not easy for him, or for you. I hope it goes well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry to take so long to respond Clare, and thanks for dropping by. I’ve dipped into your blog as well – as Pink says, you write superbly. I’ve found lots of interest there. You’re right – my blog is where I prevaricate and doubt and vacillate in my opinions. As my son says himself, I have the kind of temperament where I’m never 100 percent sure. So, in other areas of my life I try to shut up and listen. Here, I’ll probably continue to process and be contradictory! Hope to talk to you again.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s