This past weekend was a big one for my family. Saturday was a day we had worked towards for a very long time. The day when our child revealed to his friends that he is transgender via his brilliant video on Facebook, and I revealed to my friends and the DGMS global audience that our family is not just allied with the LGBTQIA community, but proudly a part of the neighborhood.
Yes, Carson - now Toby Carson - is transgender.
Since his posting of his video, the support shown on his wall has been heartwarming. Not just from those he was reasonably certain would be on board, but from those who truly surprised him by stepping up with their hearts, and leading with love.
On the whole, I have experienced the same both on FB and in the comments at DGMS following my posting of my Full Disclosure piece Saturday night. Surprise from many? Sure. Of course there is surprise when someone steps forward with a big reveal. But the overwhelming sentiment has been love, support, awe of Toby's bravery, and appreciation for how our family has never blinked, never stopped embracing him.
As Toby received unexpected personal texts of love and support from people he had firmly expected to lose, tears fell, fast and hard. It was during one of those sob sessions that we discussed cognitive dissonance and how that was perhaps the best gift he was giving people, and the one I hoped to be giving some of my readers and friends as well.
A moment when what they thought they knew, felt, believed, collided head first with the reality of actually knowing a transgender person. The reality that they had known a transgender person for years. And in that moment, all they thought they knew, felt, or believed collapsed under the weight of one thing: love.
Love, because they realized Toby had been none of what the media tries to portray him as. Love, because they remembered every moment they had shared as Toby's friend; the privilege of being in Toby's orbit, and how incredible that experience has been. Love, because they read my mother's perspective and finally got it. What a parent is supposed to represent to their child - a harbor, not a horror.
The show of support has left us with a wonderful hangover of sorts. :)
Yes, there have been some less than kind emails. I expected that. Some people simply cannot help themselves from believing they hold a position on some supreme moral court in society and are somehow duty bound to tell the rest of us we are wrong/guilty/condemned.
To them I have asked, Is it possible, just possible, that me - having been with this individual nearly every single day for almost 20 years - might just know my child better than they, who are working from a set of preconceived, bigoted, religiously warped marching orders? That they may just be wrong?
I tried to break it down as basic as possible for one particularly ugly individual: I would rather have a live, happy son, than a dead daughter.
Not surprisingly, when faced with the fact that I was not going to devolve with them into some email cage match, they have not responded. None of them. Whatever. As I said when I wrote about this, your understanding, empathy, or ability to "get" this is not required.
There is not something wrong or condemnation worthy about my son. He remains what he has always been - the most amazing human being I have ever had the privilege of knowing.
I would encourage every parent to truly think about what I wrote, what I described in the moments when he confided his inner truth to me, and the year that has followed. Think about it. Think about the environment you are raising your children in. Because someone reading this will be in my same position at some point.
Build love. Build acceptance. Build a dam against a world bent on hurting those not like the herd. Be their harbor, not their horror.
Because this is what you signed up for when you created or adopted another life. All of it. The good, the bad, the unexpected.
As for us, we have completed phase one of the plan we set into motion a year ago. Toby has left UTD and will be living at Gateway. We arrived yesterday and as I walked the property this morning, I was reminded yet again how perfect this place is. The peace, the beauty, the scope - the mountains and canyons that don't care about Donald Trump or Game of Thrones or the fact that my child is transgender. They have seen it all, will continue to see it all. And they will stand tall, outlasting the very last hater.
I shall take my cue from those magnificent mesas, palisades, and outcroppings - I, too, am standing tall, ready to outlast the haters in defense of my child, in the pursuit of opening eyes and hearts - for as long as I have air in my lungs.
No secrets. No hiding. No shame. I am a proudly transparent trans parent.