An Open Letter to an Unsupportive Mother

I give thanks to you for many things. I thank you for giving me life. I thank you for always being there to kiss my booboo’s and mend my broken heart. I thank you for showing me love and compassion, and raising me to show it to others. I thank you for teaching me right from wrong. I thank you for still being here for me today, even after I have come out and told you that the daughter you gave birth to, is actually the son you thought you never had. I thank you for trying to understand. I thank you for wanting me to remain in your life.

However, there are a lot of things I can’t thank you for. I can’t thank you for the jabs. I can’t thank you for constantly telling me I am still a girl and that even after surgery I will still partially be a girl. I can’t thank you for telling me that you will probably never use my real name or pronouns. I can’t thank you for always bringing me down. With all of the things I say thank you for, there are ten more than I say no thank you to. I understand that this is hard. You gave birth to a girl, and now you hear that that girl isn’t a girl at all. You never had a son, you don’t know how to feel about having one now. I get it. It is a lot to take in. It is hard for you to understand, because you have never felt what I feel. Do you want to know what I feel? Will it make any difference on the way you treat me?

I feel lost. I feel sad and sometimes very deeply depressed. I look in the mirror and never see the person I ought to be, I only see her when I want to see him. I point out all that is wrong with me and nitpick every single flaw. My breast are too big, my binder does very little to flatten, my body is too feminine, at least I have broad shoulders, my fingers are too slender and my hands just look dainty. My eyelashes are too long, my hips are too wide. I look at myself and I see a girl. I tell myself that I will never pass, even when I medically transition. This spirals me down into self loathing the likes of which you have never seen. I hear people call me by the name you gave me, instead of the one I have given myself, and I inwardly cringe. I hear people call me she, her, girl, woman, lady, and I want to cry. Why can’t everyone see the man that I am? Why can’t my reflection show me the man that I am?

I cry sometimes. I put on these big happy faces, because really, life is moving in the right direction, but I am still sad. I’ve come out. There are no more doors holding this man back. I’ve asked to be called by my new name and male pronouns. I am seeing a therapist and there is talk of getting me started on T sometime next year. I should be thrilled, and sometimes I am. Then I talk to you, and I want to share my happiness with you. I want to tell you how I finally felt like I should because I put on an oversize hoodie with my binder and my hair was on point! Instead of being happy for me, you bring me down. All of the things you say hurt. I don’t know you mean it. I know you aren’t thinking about how it feels for me to hear it. I wish sometimes that I could just scream at you to stop, but I have too much respect for you. I wish you could show me an ounce of the respect I give you.

You said you would try, but you haven’t. I am still that girl. I am still your daughter. You keep drilling it into my head that I will never be anything but that in your eyes. I just wish, for once, that you would say “I am so proud of you, son.”

By Trent Xenos

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