I awoke this morning paralyzed. Paralyzed by so many feelings.
Fear & uncertainty
Anger & rage
Confusion & disbelief
Doubt & disillusionment
Panic & heartache
A primal need to keep my young trans child safe
How would I face my child as they awoke in the wee hours of the morning?
I did not know how to tell my child of the shame in my heart for what adults had just perpetuated upon their delicate soul. I did not want my child to know of the hatred in the hearts of so many Americans against the very essence of what makes my child the celebration of life’s diversity. I did not know if I could bear to tell my child the person we so proudly voted for, who gave us collective hope for the future, would not see her way to the presidency. So many, many things I did not have answers to. The simultaneous screaming of my heart and mind scared me.
In my despair, I turned to my heroes. They always bring me comfort when nothing else can. I read. I read the work of my dearest heroes. I found myself returning over and over again to this mighty hero’s voice. It haunted me, for its timeliness in today’s nightmare.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. I have decided to stick to love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy to a friend. -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr. King’s words gave me solace, they comforted me and quelled my rage. With all the strength I could evoke on so little rest from my night’s fitful sleep, I entered into my child’s room as they awoke. They curled up in my lap for a morning snuggle and I spoke these words to them:
Love, last night the person we hoped with all our heart might win the presidency, did not win the election. I’m so profoundly sad about that. But, here’s the thing. It will be okay, and, here’s why. We are together. We are strong. We love each other. There will be people at school today who will say unkind things, perhaps even to you. I’ve decided to say this to those that would deliver messages of hatred to me: I choose love today. Showing the love in my heart, being compassionate toward others, and caring deeply for all are my choices today, and every day forward. If someone comes to you with a message of hate, show them love. You cannot respond to love with hate in your heart for long. You are transformed by love. That’s the power of love. The way we position ourselves with others matters. We will show love, no matter what.
My child looked up at me with their big trustful eyes and nodded: Okay, mama.
As we entered campus this morning, we held hands and I said to my child: we hold our heads high today. We choose love today. We show love today. My child asked: Just today, mama? My response: I’m going to say that to you every day from now on, love. Today, and every day, we show love. That’s the only way we will build compassion and love in the heart of others. Show them, love.
As I let my young trans child’s hand go this morning, I wept. I was fearful, terrified really. But, also emboldened to show love and send a message of love through action. Our own antithesis to others’ hate: a message of love and humanity.
I continue to try to process what this election means for my child and their future as a trans person. I still feel paralyzed by uncertainty and fear. But, I have consciously chosen to go forth with strength. It comes from the love I have for my child. My cry of love is my message for my trans child and the world. I will try to recreate this new world in my child’s pulchritudinous image so they have a space to grow into everything they are capable of and destined to be.
This is my cry for my child: love.
Published with gracious permission from a mother of a trans child in our advocacy network.