- Jude and Koda Gerrard are a father and daughter living in Halifax. Their stories first appeared online at the Halifolks Facebook page.
The last four years have been pretty rough, leading up to my transition. Up until then, I was not truly able to be who I was. I felt placed in a position where expectations were put upon me about who I had to be. The struggle of trying to break through that has been very difficult. I reached a pretty low point where I was trying to decide whether I could even keep going, or whether I could be strong enough to go through with my transition.
When I was very young, I didn't think anything of it. I didn't really have a concept of gender until after puberty. It became more difficult after high school, when I was put into the world and had to show everybody who I really was. I made the wrong decision after high school; I made the decision to kind of further perpetuate my masculine identity. I had a very large beard, and I was going in what others thought was the right direction for me to go towards. It just didn't work, at all.
It wasn't so much a moment of clarity, as it was rock bottom. I got to a pretty low point, where I was considering taking my own life. Everywhere that I looked, I didn't feel anything. I didn't feel like anybody could understand. It was a pretty terrible feeling. Except for when I looked at my dog, of course. It actually ended up being my dog who was my saviour. She's a miniature pinscher. She's a little sassy diva.
The struggle from there was ultimately navigating our health system. It's such a long wait to see anybody, if you don't have any access to insurance or any funds. There's a two-year waiting list to even speak to anybody in Nova Scotia. For a high-risk population being forced to wait extended periods of time, living appointment to appointment to get anywhere...it's really tough. I was extremely fortunate that I was a student last year, and I was still on my father's insurance, so I was able to seek therapy and be reimbursed for that. I'm very fortunate in that regard, because I couldn't imagine having to wait longer.
I recently started hormone replacement therapy. I'm three weeks into it. It's very new still. I've been on estrogen and testosterone blockers for three weeks now. So far it's been so great. I can't tell what exactly is happening because of my persistence and thoughts, and what's happening because of the hormones, but I feel like it at least frees my mind. It's about knowing that something with the process is happening, outside of my own mind. It's knowing that changes are happening.
Being a young person who is transgender can be a beautiful thing, or a struggle, or both. The struggle part comes from society. Being a parent of a child who is transgender can be a beautiful thing, a struggle, or both. The struggle part once again comes from society. (Those whose struggle comes from within, well, they are not really a parent.) I have seen several posting of things NOT to say to a transgender person, but have yet to see one for things NOT to say to the parents of a child who is transgender. So, here it is. (PS, if you are offended, that’s your little red wagon, deal with it.)
- “I thought you had two daughters and a son.” I have three daughters...plain and simple, that’s the answer. Yes, the doctor told me I had a son, but they made a mistake.
- “That must feel like a loss for you.” NO, IDIOT, it doesn’t. I remember taking my child fishing when they were young. I will still take them fishing when they are older. Just because my child identifies differently now than before does not negate all the experiences and the narrative to date. We will continue to build on those experiences and continue the narrative–it’s that simple.
- “Is that why they broke up with their partner?” Ok, so, it’s pathetic enough that you have to be so deeply involved with your own children’s relationships; it’s just plain creepy that you need to be this involved in my child’s relationship.
- “Life is going to be so hard for them.” NOT IF IT ISN’T. Backward-thinking idiots are going to make it hard for them, but its easy to remove those people from your life. Prior to transitioning, life was hard for them. Now, it’s GREAT!
- “Are they going to have surgery?” Probably at some point, on their gal bladder or their wisdom teeth. Why are you so concerned about my child’s penis, vagina or breasts? Dude, it’s creepy. Tell me; how does your child like their vagina? How does your child like their penis? See…CREEPY. Tell you what, you don’t ask about my child’s penis or vagina and I won’t ask about your child’s penis or vagina, deal?
- “But they were created in God’s image.” Maybe they were, but she made a mistake and now they are in her image. Here’s my problem with this statement. Those who are continually quoting scripture to deny one’s identity generally pick and choose what parts of scripture to quote. The parts they pick and choose are based solely on their own biases. They have to be, because when they are quoting them they are wearing mixed fabrics (cotton, and say, leather), possibly eating some shrimp. We pick the parts that fulfill our own agenda. I have no problem with freedom of religion, but when your religion discriminates against another person’s rights…
- “But they always liked boy (or girl) things growing up.” What is a boy thing? What is a girl thing? These are societal roles that we have assigned—nothing more, nothing less. Naw, my kid liked THINGS growing up.
- “Does this mean they will now date the same sex?” You mean the opposite sex? Once again, why are you so wrapped up in my child’s relationships? There are trans people who are gay, lesbian, straight, bi—gender and sexual orientation are two totally different things and have no relationship to each other.
I guess what I am trying to say here, is my child is not here for your amusement, or your curiosity. My child is my child and if you want to ask about them, ask how they are. Ask questions you would ask about any other child. But please, please, do not ask about my child’s penis or vagina…it’s CREEPY!