My daughter starts fifth grade at a new school next month. It’s a fresh start, where no one knows that she’s transgender.
How do I handle this? How do I advise her? Should she keep her transgender status to herself or be more open?
After you listen to this episode, I could really use your advice: What should I do?
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Gendermom: There are, as you already know, no easy answers to M’s approach to a new school. Some trans people advocate full revelation & some stay woodworked. You & I have met & you know that I have been a stealth transgender woman my whole adult life. My family obviously knows, my husband obviously knows & a very few close friends. Being completely “out” changes everything. For some, that’s fine & for some it’s not. For M to successfully maneuver the school system, she has to decide if she wants to be known as the trans girl or trans kid by her peers. If not, then she can proceed in stealth mode & hope that nothing fouls up her school life. Simply, a very serious decision has to be made. Is the transgender person interested in only living his/her life as they feel, or is he/she willing to step up & be an advocate for the transgender community. The answer to that difficult question can more directly help one to make his/her decision. I am stealth because I did not want, nor could I, step up & be an advocate for the cause. I just wanted to live my life quietly without the hub-bub. I am not ashamed of being a transgender woman, but neither do I feel the need to openly share my history with the whole world. We can all hope that by the time M is older, the world will have moved on & more readily accepting of transgender kids, teens & adults. I have no suggestion for you, except to say that your greatest role is to remain as your child’s hero & support her as best you can & as you have always done. You both are already heroes!