One year ago today my daughter Eliza informed my wife and me that he is our son Elijah. The intervening year since has been a pretty wild ride. Obviously, it has changed our younger child drastically, in many ways. But it has changed us too, drastically and pretty much permanently.
Elijah, who prior to last year had suffered mentally and physically, has become happy and self-assured. We still do have some anxiety from time to time, but we all know what’s going on. But mostly, we have an enthusiastic high school student who loves his friends and family and his schoolwork. He has been accepted by the local Boy Scout Troop 1 as one of their own, which is an accomplishment of this wonderful community for which words are simply not enough. He has known virtually nothing but acceptance from his family and friends – and kudos to the four grandparents for being right there first. He has been given world-class medical care through the GeMS clinic at Children’s Hospital and is now months into his testosterone regimen. (At 14, he self-administers and the treatments are definitely having their effect.) And best of all, he is just a kid. Not the trans-kid, just another kid. Awesome.
As for Laura and me, well…we’ll never be the same again. The turning point wasn’t just one year ago, but last February, when we took a chance and spent a weekend with other families with transgender kids. Two things happened there. First, we met all these fabulous families, learned about their difficulties but also their joys, and found so much common ground and friendship. Second, we got some in-depth education (sorely needed) about the social and scientific aspects of gender. That enabled us to know where to look for further education and understand how human my child is considered under the law.
It was then I learned that, under the current law, my child isn’t 100% human.: just in school, although I can see from anonymous comments in newspaper articles that even that fact enrages some people. Learning that, I first took the opportunity to speak with Gov. Baker as someone who voted for him and contributed to his campaign (and is increasingly regretful) about why the law needs to be amended to include protections for gender identity in public accommodations. I then found the awesome people at Freedom Massachusetts, notably Mason Dunn and Katie Guare – these are people who have been lobbying the right way, with quiet but forceful dignity. (This is in sharp contrast to our opponents, who, at the State House hearings, verbally abused FM’s volunteers who were helping people find the auditorium.)
So for the coming year, I look forward to a lot of things. The growth of both my children into adults who will emulate the wonderful role models all around them. Another year of marriage to my awesome wife, who has stood by Eli despite the trauma of losing a daughter. Another year of fun and accomplishment. And, by the way, the passing of the public accommodations bill into law, which at this point may be accomplished if Gov. Baker would simply state that he will not veto. (And if you do, Gov. Baker, you have a guaranteed contribution to your campaign and several votes for your re-election in the bag.)