One Year

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.)


7 thoughts on “One Year

  1. I love that our children have brought us together! We all are so blessed to have such amazing little people! Xoxo Merry Christmas to all of you! See you in two months!!!

    1. Hi Sherri and right back at ya. I love that we have gotten to know you and your wonderful kids and are so happy for you and Ken. Can’t wait until Feb – I’ll have a bottle of scotch waiting. Merry Xmas to you all.

  2. Ron…what a beautiful and powerful and thoughtful statement. Our families have been pretty close for some time, long before Eli began his transition, and I am so pleased to see both of our boys so supportive of him. You and Laura are good friends and great parents. And as you have figured out, you are not alone. I have so many friends who are part of WAGLY or PFLAG, musicians that I perform with and families that I know that are all in the midst of, or some stage of, transition. Gender and gender identity is so much bigger than we thought it was years ago, when it was just a check box…and that shows me how much we have grown – and frankly how far we need to grow – as loving people on this planet.

    I was at Temple Emunah on the Shabbat when Joy Laden gave a d’var, and Eli’s grandfather was there too. My heart opened up and I smiled wide when I saw him go over to Joy after she spoke, put his arm around her, and quietly ask for a copy of her remarks. You are all blessed to have such a wonderful son as Eli and he is blessed with great parents and grand parents.

    As for Laura, I’ve reach out several times and I hope we find time to sit and talk too. I miss those moments when we got together at Temple or elsewhere. She is a woman with such a big heart and loves so many kids as part of her work. She is really there for Eli, and I am sure she has those private moments wondering what happened…how she had a son and a daughter and now has two sons… The journey to and through this moment in time is one that is certainly rough and bumpy and even full of doubt, yet so full of love and blessings. I love that Laura has been there so strongly for Eli, and that she is on this journey she never anticipated, and yet is so strong and loving and supportive – no matter where the road leads. Laura is an amazing mom.

    This is a time when you find out who your true friends are, and who you are. More than that, it is a time when your child emerges from a period of tumult and blossoms into the young man he was meant to be. (hey its adolescence – regardless of gender or gender identity).

    I am proud to know you all – so glad to be blessed with your friendship – and love all that you are. It is a new world we are living in, and it is a good time to be in it…

    Thanks for sharing so much of your soul and your love here…

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