When I first started this blog, I told you Bud’s story (When Older Kids are Bullied – A Mother’s Story, I Couldn’t Sleep at All Last Night). But I have never told Boo’s story – until now. That is because some key family members were not aware of Boo’s change until a few weeks ago. But now that it’s all out in the open, Boo has given me permission to talk about being transgender.
Boo was my first child, my first-born baby boy. Such a doll baby, a little colicky, but with such a sweet temperament. And so smart!! He won the geography bee at his school in the 8th grade and got to compete against other students from across California at the state competition in Sacramento.
But he always had a hard time fitting in. In middle school they called him “Encyclopedia” because he knew so many facts on so many different subjects and was wiling to spout them at the drop of a hat. His first year of high school was no different. He had a few friends who he hung out with at school, but almost no one who would spend time with him outside of that.
By his sophomore year, Boo was in multiple choirs and had found his niche at school. The choir kids accepted him as their own and he enjoyed learning to run the sound system at church with Art.
During his senior year in high school, Boo was assistant stage manager for the high school musical and met his girlfriend, who went to another high school. They were so much alike they could have been siblings. It was also during this time that Boo let us know he liked to dress in women’s clothes. We were very surprised, but told him it was fine as long as he kept it outside of the house.
Boo left for college in the fall, about 12 hours from home. We talked once a week or so, by phone and it was a hard adjustment for him. He did make some friends right away and talked about going to poetry slams and the gym.
He came home for Christmas, and after that school seemed to become more difficult. Boo told me he had worn a skirt to a poetry slam and was threatened by some men on the bus. We worried about him, but there was not much we could do from such a distance.
In June we drove to Portland to pick Boo up from school. He greeted us wearing makeup and a tank top with a pushup bra. Again we were shocked, but tried to roll with the punches as he treated us to lunch and we helped him pack for the drive home.
Once in the car, Boo dropped the bomb that he was really a girl. For me, it seemed to make sense. I can’t completely say why, but somehow it explained the past couple of years. We had him find a gender therapist as soon as we got home and the past year has been a period of change and some level of acceptance for all of us. In December, Boo started on hormones and can now pass as a girl in public. We are still working on calling Boo “she” and have started transitioning to a different name. It’s not easy, but we all love each other and want to stay together as a family.