By Jasmine-Arabella Post
It has always amazed me how much you can learn from your children. When they are barely able to speak they will point out things that we have forgotten are important. As they get older, their free thinking and hunger for new and better answers continues to challenge us. But what has amazed me most is how they can even teach you about yourself.
Our family was very religious for a long time. Unfortunately, our religion told us that all things LGBT were a sin. We just accepted that like so many other things our religious leaders taught us. As the years rolled by, my spouse and I started questioning what we had been taught about LGBT and other things. I don’t recall ever openly discussing our changes in beliefs with our kids. When with others of our faith, we would mostly present the status quo that was expected. But with closer friends and around family, I think our shift in perspective came out a bit in our comments and attitude. At this point all of this seemed mostly academic. With the exception of a gay coworker we didn’t know any LGBT people, at least that was what we thought. Then in early 2018 one of our adult kids came out as transgender. Had this happened a few years earlier, we would have been flipping out.
This is where my child taught me not just something about myself, but who I am. After discussing our trans child and how we both were absolutely going to love and accept them, I knew I had my own coming out to do. I always knew I was different. But growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, I knew this was a different that was not allowed. At a very early age, I shoved all of that deep down inside of me. I knew what society expected of me, and I knew there was a part of me I could not share with anyone, not even myself; not then. I barely had a clue about what transgender was at the time my child came out. But I knew it was the answer to the prayer I had never prayed. I felt like all of the puzzling pieces of my life finally made sense. So a few days later I came out to my wife as a transgender woman. That was intense, but we have gone through a lot together. We concluded we were going to go through this together, too.
The next few months were quite amazing. My wife and I started learning as much as we could about transgender and how we could best support our child, but they had already moved out a couple years prior. As best we could tell, they had some good friends for a support group and were mostly looking to us for acceptance.
For me, my journey would have to wait, or so I thought. We lived in a religious community. Nearly all of our neighbors and friends were quite religious. I knew that trans was a spectrum, but I didn’t think anywhere in that spectrum would be acceptable to them. Besides that I had bigger problems, unemployment. Working in the tech industry in Seattle and needing to find a new job was rather common, but it taking months and months was not so common. We were getting very close to the end of our savings and were quite concerned. Then HaShem (a Jewish reference for God) solved both problems in one of the most amazing adventures of my life–a job in Utah.
We had considered moving away from Seattle before but nothing ever came of it. To say we were not in a good position to move was an understatement. We had nearly no savings, our house was very far from ready to sell, the list goes on. But this was one of those times when the expression “on angels’ wings” very much felt like a reality. It was almost like we were spectators as HaShem made everything happen. Not only did moving to Utah give me a new job, it gave me a new start. We weren’t living in a religious community anymore. We didn’t know anyone, it was our chance to reinvent ourselves and for me to explore who I am.
We had only been in Utah for a few months when one of our other kids came out as gay. As with all coming out events it was quite intense, but we assured them that we loved and accepted them. I wanted to share my story with them at the time, but I still wasn’t sure who I was. Over the next few months, my wife and I privately learned as much as we could about being transgender. I was still very confused about where I fit in all of this. A few months later it became obvious we needed professional help. It quickly became clear that this was not going to be a part-time presentation for me as it is for some. In November of 2019, I came out at work and to the world as a transgender woman. Several of our other kids have now come out. Of the twelve people in our family, half of us now identify as LGBT.
Many people say “Life is a journey.” That is so very true. It is an amazing journey. That isn’t to say there are not hard times. I have cried more in the past year than I have in the past few decades. But I have never felt so alive. Nearly every day I learn something new about being the parent of LGBT kids, about myself, about life. There are times I cry so very hard wishing I had been born in a girl’s body as I should have. But then my journey would be quite different. So as much as that hurts, I accept that this is my journey and that I am privileged to experience all of the wonders that life brings to me.
(You can read more about Jasmine’s story at her blog HERE.)