My girl wants to fight her own battles


Annie Oakley

We went to my sister’s house this weekend for the day.  M. spent the afternoon running around with her cousin, A., who is six years old – one year older than M.

As we were leaving, my sister told me that the kids had been fighting in the backyard.  She said that A. had called M. by her old “boy” name, X., and that M. had started crying. “A. said he was sorry,” my sister said.

In the car on the way home, I asked M. about it – sideways. “Did you have fun with A.?”

“Not really. He wasn’t very nice.”

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.  Are you angry at him?”

“No, but sometimes… I find him very hard to love.” (She really did say that! I swear! Not sure where my kid comes up with this stuff sometimes.)

“Did he do something you didn’t like?”

“No.” Pause. “Well, yes.” Pause. “He called me X.” Then her voice turned low and solemn, like that of a child-actor given an eerily adult role to play:  “I don’t even like to say that name.”

“Was it an accident? He said he was sorry, right?”

She shook her head.  “It wasn’t an accident.” She was calm, sure of her story. “He was being mean. When no one else was nearby, he said, ‘Everyone calls you M., but your REAL name is X.'”

That little shit.

This isn’t the first time this has happened.  My nephew was the last hold-out on acknowledging M.’s new name and pronouns when we switched almost two years ago. Since M. and A. are the two youngest members of the extended family, and he’s the closest thing she has to a sibling, I suspect some sibling rivalry is afoot here.

But I was still fuming, of course.  “I’m going to talk to your aunt about this,” I said. “You cousin CANNOT be saying that to you.”

“NO! NO! Mama, please don’t.  Please don’t talk to her!!”

“OK, I won’t if you don’t want me to.  But why not?”

In response, M. delivers another line that sounds way beyond her years (I keep thinking of that little kid in The Sixth Sense who saw dead people.)

“It’s private,” she says, “Between me and A.”

Wow. Respect.

I imagine the two little kids meeting at high noon on a dusty Wild-West-style main street, the only sound a saloon door creaking on its rusty hinges. They draw their Nerf guns at twenty paces…

I wonder: Is this how it’s going to be?

She’s only five years old and already she wants to fight her own battles: “I got this one, Mom.”

I hope she’ll at least keep telling me about them and letting me be a coach, or a cheerleader.  I’m sure she’ll need cheerleaders.

I consider telling my sister anyway, but then realize that this would be a mistake.  M. knows what she’s doing.  If I break her trust now and she finds out, maybe next time she won’t let me in.

But I can still cheerlead:  “Well,” I tell my little cowgirl as we drive home through the darkness, “When you DO talk to A. again, you tell him that EVERYBODY knows your real name is M.  Your MOM, your DAD, your DOCTOR, your FRIENDS, your NEIGHBORS, EVERYBODY.” I try to think of the most official place I can think of, where people use names. “It’s your name at SCHOOL!”

M.’s voice brightens. “Yes! Yes!  And my teacher doesn’t even KNOW that my name used to be X.  She doesn’t even know that!”

Oh honey. My heart aches anew as my wise little child reveals the immensity of her innocence. She really does believe that no one at school (save her BFF Sophie) knows she is transgender – and her voice is full of triumph when she tells me this. Of course, the staff at school all know she is transgender. What will happen when she realizes this?

Deep breath.  Yet another glorious and terrifying moment for her mother, as I marvel at how safe we’ve kept her, and wonder how long it can last.


Footnote: Please do not construe this post – or the accompanying image – as me condoning gun violence. Annie Oakley was famous for shooting tiny objects from a distance – not people – and she did it better than any man around. So no, I do not think my child should shoot her six-year-old cousin, or anyone else. It’s meant as a metaphor for her standing up for herself – as a girl and as a trans person. Because she is certainly going to need to be one tough girl to deal with some of the bad guys and outlaws she will no doubt encounter.

31 thoughts on “My girl wants to fight her own battles

  1. It’s hard to step aside at times and not jump in and take matters into our own hands, especially when our kids are wise beyond their years. Perhaps they are old souls, something special, just plain brilliant, or a combination of the three. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is she obviously has a great support system in place which she will need for the rest of her life, but mostly through her young adult years. It sounds to me like M is off to a great start and apart from the usual ups and downs that every kids faces, she already knows what shes’s up against and with the encouragement and guidance from you and your family and friends, she’ll turn out to one amazing human being. In fact, like my kids who come from a two-dad family and are now fully grown adults and receive compliments at every turn on how they turned out, she will probably set the example for most citizens from what I’ve read. Carry on Annie O., just be sure the guns are soft and squooshy and made by Nerf! Love, Glinda The Good Bitch (
    P.S. Remember to spread the word about my page here at WordPress and "Like" my Facebook Page… Thanks! 🙂

    • Yes, I do think sime kids are born kids and others are born old souls. About the latter we have this saying in Jamaica, “It’s as if (s)he has been here before, in another life. If your M is fortunate, the heartbreak won’t come till he can handle it. My son’s came when he eas 16, got a full scholarship to Stanford. It shouldn’t have surprised anyone who jnew him for he had been a National Merit Scholar but … Some parent who I’ll call ass-wipe, tild my kid, “Doesn’t matter how many scholarships you get, you will always be a nigger.” Yah, my boy who had been fighting his battles all along wept in disbelief.

      • I would have told that parent, “And you will always be an ignorant racist bigot.” Imagine anyone calling anyone the N word. What century do they live in?

      • You tell your boy to hold his head up high and be proud of who he is at all times. And if necessary, look at people like the one who said those horrendous words to him on that day and say, “You may call me a nigger, but you’ll always be a coward and a disgrace in the eyes of our Maker. Oh and by the way, your Maker is my Maker and He doesn’t make mistakes. Amen.” And then tell your son to tell that ass-wipe to move along and have a blessed day. 🙂

        ❤ Glinda The Good Bitch ❤

      • You are funny. Made me laugh and also made me remember Elton John saying, ” I don’t know what makes people so cruel. Try being a gay woman in the Middle East — you’re as good as dead.” He was talking about Jesus and the importance of compassion for your fellowman/woman..

  2. Yes, M is quite the intelligent little female soul that she is. And, yes, she will be fighting her battle for a long time to come, but it does get easier over the years. M will always be miles ahead because of her indomitable spirit and her wonderful loving and supportive mother. Life is good.

    • “Life is good.” That is a phrase my kid uses all the time.Bogged down and under pressure at university and you ask, “How’s it going, kid?” His response, “Working hard,” then comes the, “Life is good,” phrase. I think it would do parents well to listen to their children, know when to step in and when not to. That racist bigot? Oh, I so wanted to go to the school, to his house, to the newspaper, etc., but my kid says, “Let it go mom. He’s not worth it.” To which my only response was, “Well, I guess if it had to happen, better it happen while you are still at home where you will surely have love and support, than that it happened when you were away at college.” If you are a good parent, you will realize that you can learn from your child. You try to treat M as you would any child, not as special because he is transgendered. My kids know that they are black but they learned not see themselves as such, if you know what I mean. They were taught that being black does not define who they are and being transgendered does not, or should not define the person that M is and will become. And M is quite fortunate. If M had been born some place like Jamaica, life would not be good, sadly.

  3. It’s amazing how children can show such a higher sense of reasoning and problem-solving skills than many adults. I hope she resolves things to her satisfaction. This was a nice post.

  4. I am assuming that this is an adults only blog. If it is not please delete this post.

    You are very wise and I am very glad that your child was born here and now instead of 40 years ago. My child was born with both genitalia. The doctor and the father both decided what they thought was best without allowing my opinion. Therefore my child was surgically created into a boy. Well, he just never was like other boys. My husband was going to MAKE him be what he thought he should be. My husband ended up being a very abusive person both physically, emotionally and sexually.

    By age 12 my son had been abused in every way. Most of the worst when I was not at home. His big brother finally told me. He had been so extremely threatened that he didn’t dare tell me. His father made sure that bruised areas were always hidden under clothing. By age 13 he lived in locked Phyc. units until he was about 16 1/2 years old. By that time his father and I had divorced and I had spent years trying to get any help I could for him.

    Long sad story short: Developmentally his body grew, but somewhere along the line emotionally he was far behind his chronological age and he had never grown up in a normal school with kids who were normal. He was in special ed by 3 years old, already emotionally damaged. I became extremely ill and he went to stay with his grandparents in another state for a while. Unknown to me they sent him to a horse farm where he was isolated with another unwanted child. The parents made no secret about how they wished that they had never adopted him. Those parents and the owners of the horse farm all took off on weekends for the Horse shows leaving that little kid with my big kid. My kid was about 13 or 14 emotionally but 17 physically.

    With the background, I don’t need to spell out all the details. No he didn’t rape this little boy but he did molest him. He went to prison. An 18 year old with a 14 year old’s mind. In spite of that we both prayed God would keep him there until God knew he wouldn’t hurt anyone ever again.

    He wrote the parole board and told them he was not going to parole out. He was staying as long as he could. That is called doing ” flat time”. It is the longest amount of time given to you at your sentencing. 15 months before he was due for release he found out that they had a program for sex offenders. He asked to get into the program. He was told it was only for parolees and that he didn’t qualify because he was doing flat time. He was able to get hold of the department head of that program and told him he knew he had a problem and he wanted any help he could get. The guy pulled some strings and got him into the program.

    He still works the program today. He has not re-offended and he had never missed a check in date with the local sheriff’s office. He was voluntarily castrated.

    After he was castrated changes started to take place in his body. When I realized he was growing breast I told him he had to go see the doctor. Well, He IS NOT A HE! HE IS A SHE!

    He/She is never going go be able to get a job. We live in a conservative southern area called the Bible Belt. Just with being a registered “sex offender” even though it has been over 20 years since that incident, he is also transgender. Even the Psychiatric Treatment Center Here will not accept transgender people for what they are. They will treat them by trying to get them to accept that they are really what they are not.

    Without any kind of hormone therapy my daughter (ex-son) had estrogen levels at the top of the scale for a normal female. All those years of Hell trying to be forced by an abusive father to be a boy all the while he was a girl and she liked dolls and make-up and dying her hair and sewing.

    She will never be employed. She will never marry. She will only have a very small few people ever accept her for herself. Even her brother will not accept that she is a she. But he doesn’t seem to accept us as his family anymore. There is a very high cost to this problem.

    For all of you parents who are so wisely accepting your transgender children I commend you and I want you to know that by accepting them and supporting them you are helping your child avoid the kind of life my daughter has had and will have to live with for the rest of her life.

    No one asked me for my opinion. 40 years ago the doctor only needed one signature and that was the fathers signature. Even when I had my tubes tied at the recommendation of medical specialist it was my husband’s signature that was needed. My signature wasn’t accepted at that time in history.

    I am so glad your children are being born today and not 40 years ago. I am go glad to read about how supportive you are of them and that you have a group to support each other.

    From your children will come a better generation. From you they will learn how to love and to love themselves.

    Sue Signor

    • Oh, Sue. If only I could reach through my computer monitor and hug you and your daughter. Thank you for sharing your story. Yes, times do seem to be changing for the better – slowly. I plan to fight as hard as I can to make sure they keep changing – for my daughter’s sake, but also for all the other sons and daughters who don’t yet know how perfect they are. I wish you and your daughter all the best that can be. She is lucky to have you in her corner.

      • She had been the reason I still live. I will not leave her alone and without anyone to help give her just plain daily needs like a bed and a roof over her head and food. So many take these things for granted, but when you have tried for 8 years and no one will give you a job not even after graduating with a Cum Laud degree with a Major in Welding and she is extremely good at it, yet still no one will give her a chance. I just keep praying. God knows everything

        Thank you for your care and for the position you are taking on this issue and for your childs sake thank God you are her mom.


      • Oh wow. Maybe your girl should try finding a job in the Bay Area, you know, search around online first, see if places like The Crucible (Oakland) and others that are associated with Burning Man (San Francisco based) event, have welding opportunities for her. The Bay Area is expensive but so much art going on here around metal works, etc. Good luck.

  5. I always have teary on each posting you got. But I kept coming back.
    No need to go back to 40 years ago, abusive things still happen these days to most transgender, esp. the young one.

    Hugs to all loving people.

  6. Its so hard to shield our kids from the nasty world and the being that occupy it. I was teased a lot as a kid by my cousins. I fear I maybe too overprotective of my girls if someone teases them. My daughter has a speech imparemtent and the kids in day care have been acting some kind of way towards her cuz of it. As moms, we can only protect them so much. We have to let them fight their own battles every now and then. However, we keep that hawks eye on them. All we can do is guide them in the right direction. Keep on pushing, Mama!

  7. Your baby already has an understanding of conflict resolution and a self-awareness that will stand her throughout the difficulties she will face that is definetly something you should take pride in

Leave a Reply

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

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

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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