We're honored to share this open letter from Violet, the mom of a gender nonconforming child. Her words are powerful, moving...and we thank her for letting us share them here.
Hello. My name is Violet, and I am writing this because last night I received extremely hateful and disgusting messages on Facebook. Out of everything I have experienced in my life, I have never experienced rage and fear so strong that it physically manifested itself and made my body shake and sweat uncontrollably. My heart was pounding and my ears were on fire. I am only now, a day later, beginning to calm down.
I am the proud mother of a gender-nonconforming son. What does that mean? Well, let’s break it down. Gender: the state of being male or female (typically used with reference to social and cultural differences, rather than biological ones). Non-conforming: refusal to conform to an established or conventional creed, rule, or practice. Basically, my son does not adhere to typical gender roles. He loves Hello Kitty and all things sparkly. He wears bows and clips in his beautiful long hair. He wears dresses and carries a purse. He prefers the things typically associated with the opposite sex. and guess what? We don’t care. We don’t care that he likes to shop in the little girls section, we don’t care when he chooses the pink sparkly winter boots, and we don’t even care when people call him our daughter or address him using female pronouns (because he doesn’t care either). He freely chooses to express himself this way, and we allow it. We did not choose this life for our son. We do not force this on him. Nobody in their right mind would choose a life of struggle for their child, which is why it is important to us to give him the freedom to be the person he is.
Is this a precursor to something bigger? Does it matter? The answer is no, it does not matter. What matters most is my child’s wellbeing. I, like most every other parent I know, would do absolutely anything to ensure my child’s wellbeing. It is my responsibility as a mother to make sure that we are raising this child in a safe, nurturing, accepting, and loving environment. My child is happy, healthy, moral, and smart and that is what matters.
Sadly, I knew this day was coming. I’ve been expecting and preparing for it ever since he decided to pierce his ears and started painting his nails, years ago. I’ve played out scenarios in my head where I had to fiercely defend my kid against ignorance. I just did not expect it so soon. He is only six years old.
I am aware that not everybody “agrees” with us on this. For a lot of people, a lack of understanding and a fear of what is unknown or different can be very frightening. Generally, as humans, we are used to what is “normal” and what is comfortable. When something comes in and shakes up our views, we may react poorly. Unfortunately the woman who sent the nasty messages saw us as a threat to her small world, and she attempted to frantically defend that small world using religion and hate as a weapon. The thing is, religion and God should not be used as a weapon. If God created my child, then God created him exactly how he should be. If you believe in God, you should know better than to question his work or his plans.
The world is a huge place. You are sharing this planet with seven billion other people, each of them unique. Each of them from different cultures and different walks of life. Each of them facing their own struggles. If you personally could make it a point to practice love, acceptance, tolerance, understanding, and compassion, perhaps the suicide rate among people like my child would not be 41%. And for the people who cannot do that, and will continue to spew hatred, remember: my love is far stronger than your hate.