Last month, America watched athletic hero Bruce Jenner come out transgender. But most Americans have no concept of what transgender means. Others who watched Jenner’s Diane Sawyer interview were family members whose lives have been affected by a transgender loved one. As I heard Jenner’s story, I felt saddened, and remember the grief I went through when my father came out to me as transgender. After all, this is undoubtedly emotional for all involved.
As a nine-year-old, my identity was still forming when my father took me aside, just the two of us, and told me of his desire to become a woman. Suddenly, the idea of being a girl and growing up to be a woman and a mom blurred. What does it mean to be a woman, or a man?
I no longer felt free to embrace my identity as girl in our home. I felt rejected by my father. I was too embarrassed of my father and his impact on our family to talk about it with anyone—even to my best friend. Even so, I loved my dad and desperately wanted him to serve in the capacity of being a father.