Thanks to the openness of Caitlyn Jenner, Laverne Cox and others, transgender stories are coming out of the woodwork more and more, creating a space in which those going through a transition, whether they’re adults, teenagers in school or as young as five and six can feel safe, confident and at ease with their experience. Some years ago, if your son or daughter presented behaviours that could be considered transgender, it would likely be attributed to a ‘phase’. Though deciphering whether or not it’s just a phase or is indeed a case that they will forever identify as the opposite sex will be incredibly difficult at such a young age, it’s inspiring to know that the world is becoming accepting of diversity. Currently in the press, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have made it clear that they fully support their daughter Shiloh’s decision to identify as a boy named John. Whether she grows older and continues to identify as male or not, they’re determined to make her feel at ease every step of the way.
Adding even more to the world of equality that we’re approaching, this mother’s letter to her transgender son has touched many a heart. Speaking to Buzzfeed, Lorna McGuire realised her son Paddy was identifying as a girl at just five years of age. To help Paddy make sense of this feeling, and understand why others his age weren’t the same, Lorna wrote her son a poem.
I had a little caterpillar, small, cute and blue
He reminded me so much of you
I loved him and fed him, tended his every need
But he wanted to change
I had to follow his lead
I loved and supported still wondering why
‘Til the day my boy said goodbye
You spun your silk all round your shell
You wove your web and said your spell
The inside of your soul shone out
And the real you came about
I was amazed, what else could I think?
No longer a shy boy whose heart would sink
But a beautiful butterfly, loud, proud and pink
Sometimes I miss my caterpillar boy
But my butterfly girl fills my heart with joy
“At two years old she was walking round with necklaces and handbags, with towels on her head pretending she had long hair. She bugged me for two years from the age of three to buy her a dress. As soon as she put the dress on that’s when I knew… It was a eureka moment. A light bulb went on. As soon as she had the dress on, and I saw her face, tears came down my eyes, and I knew. Her face lit up. She was so happy; I’ve never seen her so happy in all my life.”
Offering advice to other parents in the same boat, and echoing the sentiment of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, Loran says: “Just love your child the same, no matter what, and accept your child. They’ll be much happier in the gender they are in their mind than they are in their body.”