Kids are funny, yeah? Unless you teach them something isn’t quite right, they roll with it. Unless you teach them that one is better than another, they think everyone is equal. Unless you teach them that a little girl who never felt like a girl at all, but more like a boy who is now living his true self is sick and wrong, they’ll think it’s the most logical thing to do. Be who you are, don’t worry about what others think.
I asked Luke what he would say to someone who didn’t support him, who thought it wasn’t right for someone with girl parts to really be a boy and live like a boy. He said, “I would tell them that it’s okay to be who you are and you should just accept people for who they are.”
Kids get it.
So when I went to Luke’s school and spoke to the principal, the school psychologist, and his classroom teacher, we all pretty much agreed that this would be a smooth transition, that children would be accepting. Because that’s how things should be. Treat others how you would like to be treated. Call me crazy, but I think maybe that even includes transgender children and adults. So imagine my surprise when one of the teachers refused to be supportive (not Luke’s classroom teacher and not the school psychologist or principal…they were and are so amazing. My kids are so lucky to be at that school). She refused to take this as an opportunity to teach her students that Alice isn’t transforming into another person completely, she’s just changing her name to Luke and would like to live as a boy…that same friend is still there, just with shorter hair and a different spelling of the name. Imagine my surprise when she not only put his name change party invites into a sealed white envelope for her class, but also posted about it on Facebook, telling parents that the kids have no idea what’s in the envelope and she wanted them to see it before making a decision. The invite literally just said, “name change party.” I didn’t use words like transgender or queer or go into detail about our situation. There wasn’t even a rainbow on the invite for God’s sake. It was a simple invitation to all of Luke’s friends to come and celebrate this huge change.
I shouldn’t have been too surprised. Some adults will make a big deal out of things no matter what. Even when it makes it harder for children, harder for families, adults still feel like they need to insert themselves into every situation and try and take charge. This isn’t something that anyone can really take charge of. It’s not something that can change. This is just the way it is, and if you know Luke, you know it’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.
This weekend was Luke’s name change party and how lucky are we that so many people came?
All these people were here for Luke. Parents I had never met, close friends, kids from the other class, siblings…all of these friends were here to tell Luke that he’s great. That this change is one that will be met with love and support more often than judgment and hate. These are the people who will be his allies, his helpers, the people he can go to when things get hard.
Oh, these friends of ours (and so many that weren’t able to come and aren’t pictured, too!)
I think I took more Polaroid photos than I did normal ones, but this is a pretty good representation. Luke’s face never quit smiling.
We had food and goodies and such a great time.
Gifts. People brought Luke gifts.
What’s one way that someone can show you they love you? By traveling hours and hours for an event that they know is almost as important as a birth to you. (It was. That might sound crazy but this was so important.)
These guys know life isn’t easy and they know it’s going to be even harder for Luke. They know that the one teacher who isn’t supportive is just a tiny taste of what we’ll be met with for years and years. They know that one thing that a child can never get enough of is love. My kids have no doubt about who they can turn to when they need it.
These are my people. And all the ones on the other side of the camera. And all the ones to the side and behind us. All the people who see Luke for who he is, what his heart shows, how he treats others, how he loves and how we love him. These are our people, whether they were at the party or not, those who show us love and respect and compassion – those are our people.
There’s a song in Hamilton (I know, I know) and the lyrics make me tear up every time.
“…you will come of age with our young nation.
We’ll bleed and fight for you.
We’ll make it right for you.
If we lay a strong enough foundation,
We’ll pass it on to you,
We’ll give the world to you
And you’ll blow us all away
Every time I sing this song, I think of what I’m doing for my kids. How hard I’m working, how hard my family is working, how hard my friends are working. It’s not always easy to speak out when you know something is wrong. It’s not always easy to be who you truly are, especially when so many people so loudly disagree. It’s heartbreaking to see someone hate your child when they don’t even know them.
But if we lay a strong enough foundation, we’ll give the world to our children. And they’ll blow us all away. That, I know, and that’s why I’m willing to fight and make it right.