Fear and Love in the Transgender Life

by Tammy Plunkett

It can be very difficult as a mother of a transgender son to not be utterly terrified when you read the news of our closest neighbours to the south and the headline ‘Transgender’ Could Be Defined Out of Existence Under Trump AdministrationYes, we live in Canada and things are different here. But a change in government is always possible, and let’s face it, asking a majority to vote on the needs of a minority is a precarious situation.


This is but one headline, one news story, one Tweet in a sea of judgment and negativity that feeds the fear of transgender people and their loved ones. Is it safe to come out and be true to themselves? If all you read are the headlines and the comments from keyboard warriors who suggest I should be in jail for supporting my transgender son, no wonder the youth are struggling with their mental health.


But there is another reality on this transgender journey.


My son was experiencing back pain near the end of the summer and I booked him in for an appointment with Dr. Natalie at Structural Chiropractic. We are in the process of making a legal name change, but for now, my son’s insurance coverage goes under his birth name, and therefore we had to have the conversation about using male pronouns and his preferred name. No issue at all. We were welcomed and treated with nothing but respect. After the initial exam, Dr. Nathalie requested some x-rays. I just assumed I would have the same conversation at the x-ray clinic, but I didn’t.


Dr. Natalie went out of her way to call Pureform Radiology ahead of time and explained our situation and requested they not publicly ask my son when his last menstrual cycle was, as they would with all female patients. The clinic manager instead called me and we did that over the phone privately. When we arrived for the x-rays they addressed him as a boy with his preferred name and asked if he wanted me in the room. He did, so I stayed. They showed him his x-rays and his preferred name was on the image. It was a quick, compassionate, and painless experience.


I would be lying if I didn’t admit to being afraid of being judged as a mother or having someone say something mean to my child every time we leave the house, it is part of our new reality in the current political climate of divisiveness, but experiences like these definitely make me feel that there are safe places, with compassionate people, that accept us all as we are.


Yes, there may still be some fear in the transgender life, but there is so much more love if you take the time to look around and see it. You just may have to look and listen a little harder because while fear screams, love whispers.