Those were the first words out of an acquaintance's mouth last week when she saw Kegan in a skirt and tee-shirt. We have very occasional play-dates with her and her son, so have not seen them since Kegan turned in her "boy clothes" for "girl clothes."
This mom is on my list of people I still need to talk to/inform/check for acceptance, but I guess our small community circumvented another "coming out" email or talk. I could not have been more pleased with her reaction or her kindness to my Kegan. Of course, she hammed it up with a big thank you smile.
That was just about the extent of the conversation as we ran into her as she was heading into an appointment she was already late for, so we didn't even have time to say more than "It is so nice to see you." I expected acceptance from this mom, but her grace and quick response to Kegan were so much more than I ever expected.
Later, on this same day, we finally had a play date with some neighbors who I have been avoiding while I try to figure out how to re-introduce my child to them. We live in a middle class, seemingly conservative-ish neighborhood. Although, to be honest, I am basing that on very little information, just a few casual observations. Anyway, our house is one of the favorite places for the kids in this neighborhood to hang out. I don't know quite why (other than my kids are awesome! Humble, much?) and I have been quite worried about my kids losing friends because of a lack of acceptance.
So our little friend, who is slightly older than Kegan, did a double take when she saw Kegan decked out in a denim skirt and fitted tee-shirt, but then carried on as usual with her standard questions of "Can we play blah, blah, blah?" I had been having anxiety all week because we have been coming home when all the kids are usually out playing, so each day my nerves have been completely shot as I prepped for our first encounter. (I even, quite disturbingly, have been hoping for rain rather than these glorious spring days!)
Today, I intentionally threw my dinner plans out the window so we could stay out longer in hopes of getting this "living in hiding in open sight" drama done with once and for all. And it worked, yay! Our little friend and my kids played just like they always have. I was prepared for questions and answers, I have our Be Who You Are book at the front door, ready to be given to her parents, I have been building up my strength to go talk to her parents....and I had to do nothing.
Her mom also responded with nothing, which I am taking as a total positive. I was going to explain that Kegan is now identifying as a girl and go through the whole crash course on gender identity I have been rehearsing, but then it suddenly seemed unnecessary at this point. I decided, "Let them just think Kegan is being gender non-conforming without any gender identity aspects." My line of thought is to let them just get used to seeing Kegan dress this way...to slowly build them up for this drastic change in the playmate down the street. I feel like with everyone else we have told we have had to go full throttle with details and a major shift in who Kegan is with no prep time. If our neighbors are comfortable with Kegan being gender fluid for now, then we can ease them into her being a girl as the spring days keep warming our faces.
Everyone else we have told so far are people that my kids would miss, but would not overtly miss because we don't see our family much and I could readily make excuses (they are sick, we are sick, we are going to ___ instead of there, etc.) that would be accepted with minimal questions. I am not saying my kids would not miss their cousins and grandparents, they would, but we see them infrequently enough that their absence from our lives would be relatively easy to excuse. But the kids in the neighborhood, while not as important relationship wise, would be heavily missed and our daily life would be very negatively affected if our community of neighbors was suddenly unfriendly and didn't play with us. My stress went from 100 to 50 after this encounter. So much relief flooded through me due to their lack of commentary, which I am taking as a total positive and hope it is. We made casual plans for more playing while the kids are on the upcoming spring break...my kids have their friends still!
I hate that our society is so intolerant of differences, that my expectation is almost always rejection, despite our very positive and often quite loving responses so far to Kegan's gender identity. I hate reading so many articles about the cruelties thrust upon those in the trans* community, I am terrified by the suicide rate of trans* teens, I am often overwhelmed at how much hardship my oldest will face, simply for being true to herself. I hope the acceptance we continue to receive for her is a predictor of a better world for her as she grows.