Updated: Jul 29, 2021
By Nicole Harvest Sims
Hi, all! My name is Nicole, and I have two kiddos. They are both adults now, really. The oldest is almost 25 and in law enforcement. He’s a cisgender male (meaning he identifies as the gender assigned to him at birth). The youngest is a senior in college studying Technical Theatre and is an AFAB (assigned female at birth) male, using he/him pronouns. I have been married for 26 years to my awesome husband. This is my story of becoming a boy mom.
From the time Grayson was born, he always did things in his own way and in his own time. By the age of two, he pretty much refused to wear dresses. Clue #1 maybe? I, as the mom of a “girl”, was very excited to put my child in dance. He danced for a year and a half before saying that he was done with dance and wanted to play soccer like his brother. I was devastated, but soon learned to LOVE soccer. After all, he was my child, and I wanted him to be happy in what he did. In high school, Grayson’s clothing choices were very much on the masculine side of the spectrum. It was then I started to wonder if my child was gay, but I would never say anything for fear of insulting him. Dress shopping for school dances was a nightmare, as you can imagine. I was still clueless at this point, and he was being forced to be something he wasn’t, and I had no idea. Looking back, this still makes me very sad that I didn’t just get it.
By his junior year, he started to talk about gay friends and to ask me questions about my gay friends. Again, I started to wonder, but kept silent. Well, the day came when he was ready to come out. We were at lunch, and he asked if I would still love my child if they were gay. I said of course! And so, there we were. He came out, and I knew I had a gay child. I proudly supported the suits vs. dresses but still didn’t know how to advocate for my child. I just supported him and loved him. We did not tell others in the family at this point, as he was not ready. It was so hard to watch him only get to be himself around me and his friends. I finally pushed for him to tell his dad. He was nervous because his dad grew up very conservative. But Grayson told him, and it went well. His dad loves him no matter what. It did take his dad a minute to absorb and digest it, but he got there. So there we were, evolving. We love our kids 100% and support them always. Grayson’s girlfriend was always at the house, and we love her. Things were going well, and family kind of figured out that Grayson was gay without us really saying anything. Some embraced it. Others just didn’t say anything, and that was fine for then.
Grayson’s years in college were where things got hard for us all. By the middle of his sophomore year of college, Grayson texted my husband and me from school and said he was going by the name Grayson and leaned more male, but was not trans. We both said okay. He said we didn’t need to change the name we were using, but he wanted to let us know, since his friends would be calling him that. So, we were in this weird space of him not really being gay but also not being trans? I was so confused but was like, ok, it’s all good. Again, we supported him, but nothing really changed at that time for us.
Exactly one month later, we got another text that told us that in fact he was transgender and identified as male and hoped we still accepted him and loved him, but if not, he would understand. My first thought was wondering how my child could think I wouldn’t love or accept him. I immediately texted back and said, “I love you no matter who you are and accept you!” Then, I said that I understood but needed time to process. This is when my world turned completely around. It felt like a punch in the gut for many reasons. How did I not see this? I just lost a daughter! What will everyone think? Again, not everyone knew, so I was in a weird space.
The big bang, if you will, happened when he called and said he couldn’t live two lives anymore and was going to post who he was on FB and let things fall where they may. I said, “I got you. Post away, and call me if things get crazy.” I needed to be strong for him, but I was still mourning and reeling. His post garnered a ton of support, even from people we were sure would just write him off. However, there were those that did not accept this, including some family, which was very hurtful. I think the worst response was from our church. Grayson was a huge part of the worship band at church, and they just dropped him from everything! No discussion, no text, no nothing. Just as if he no longer existed. That was the hardest to swallow, honestly. We had gone to this church for over 20 years.
So, over the next year and half we learned how to use the correct pronouns and name, which was not easy to do after 20 years of habits. My husband took a little longer to get there than I did. I continued to mourn the loss of my daughter for about 6 months and then really looked at my child and how much happier he was and realized I had a happy, healthy child and decided to focus on that. I still have moments of that feeling of loss, but I am a proud boy mom now! His life makes so much sense now. When I see pictures of him as a girl, they just don’t look right now that I know him as his true self.
Top surgery was this summer, and that is what made the pronouns and name change easier for my husband. Our family has, for the most part, been uber supportive, which has been so helpful!
I have gone through so many emotions and feelings surrounding this over the last few years, but through it all have always supported and loved my child. I felt like a failure for a while and kept wondering how I could not understand that my child was struggling and that gender was why. I wished that I’d given him the avenue to just be who he was from the start. I felt guilt around forcing my child into girl things for so long and being clueless, again all while my child was suffering. But what I try to focus on now is that when it counted, I was there and full of support and love.
My son is getting married next year to the girlfriend that has been with him through all the roller coaster, and I couldn’t be more excited! All is well in our family.
So happy to be a Boy Mom!