Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Girl with the Princess Sticker

Important Disclaimer! It is really hard for me to label clothes as belonging to one gender over the other. I have not done that until Kegan identified as transgender and she needed a way to show her femaleness. I honestly hate the constant clarification of which gender the clothes are or if they "belong" to girls or boys. Somehow, even though we have always tried to treat clothes, shoes, toys, stickers, and hair as belonging to all humans, when you have a girl in a boy's body it seems the only way to clarify her identity to observers is to let her pick all the "girly-girl" options very intentionally.

I love her feet!
Kegan wears a dress or typical girl clothes about 75% of the time now. I never know what reaction we will receive, fortunately we have only received acceptance or tolerance. So far. At least in person, we have family that do not approve, but we obviously don't see them anymore.

Earlier this week I had an appointment at my PCP, Kegan wore a very feminine outfit she selected and Sean ended up in classic boy attire that he selected as well. As we were leaving the office, Kegan asked, "Do they have stickers here?" One of the nurses overheard her and said, "I have stickers right here, hang on, I will bring them to you." My kids are used to peds offices where they get to select their own stickers, so when the nurse handed them each a sticker, I wasn't sure what to expect. 

Kegan smiled largely and said, "Thank you!" I asked, "What did you get?" With a grin, she said, "Princess."  I don't know if this nurse, who I have not seen before, assumed Kegan was a girl or could tell Kegan had a boy body and was comfortable with a gender creative or trans* kid. At this point, and maybe always, it doesn't matter.

Sadly, for Sean the same rule applied and he responded, "But I don't like Piderman!" We had a hushed and quick conversation about appreciating what someone gives you as we left and I asked him what he would have preferred. Sweet Sean answered, "A  kitty-cat."  I was honestly surprised that Sean wasn't sad he didn't receive a Princess as well. Sean, like most little brothers, looks up to Kegan as if Kegan not only hung the moon, but also proposed it, designed it, constructed it, and then after all that also hung it. So while my, to this point, male gender child was disappointed with his "boy sticker," my MTF transgender child was thrilled to be placed in the box with other girls, (As was I.)

On Friday, I took Kegan into our pediatrician's office for a sick call visit because I thought she had pink eye. We are fortunate to go to a practice that allows us to see the same pediatrician for each visit, unless it is a sick-call appointment and our regular doctor is unavailable. It happens, that this month our ped is off on Fridays, so we saw a female doctor we have only met one other time. Because I have spoken with our pediatrician and have been assured that the entire office staff will be welcoming to Kegan, I expected at a minimum, tolerance and no sideways glances. 

The doctor complimented Kegan on her dress, made small talk about the design (earning a few big smiles from K) and used the pronouns she/her very comfortably and naturally. It was awesome! As the kids were selecting stickers, I was able to speak with the doctor privately. I said, "Thank you for being so accepting of Kegan." She said, "Of course! Why wouldn't I be?" I replied, "I don't know why you wouldn't be, but some people just aren't. So thank you, very much." 

I keep waiting for the bullying or the nasty to come out and I don't know if we are just in a honeymoon phase or this transition will be mostly smooth-sailing in the public eye, but I am immensely thankful for the kindness of people who welcome Kegan as a girl in this world. 

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The more we educate and have open dialogue, the safer our world becomes. Please share your thoughts, be honest, be brave, be kind. I can't wait to hear what you think!