Have you been watching the news this last year and noticed that trans people are more visible and more accepted than ever before? Are you feeling guilty?
You called your child, now grown up, such horrible things and closed the door on them. They've not yet come crawling back?
The twitch of a neighbours curtain made you do it. Couldn't you bear the shame?
You'll never use their new name. Who do they think they are?
They're out there you know, your transgender child. They're living their life with a vitality that you've never seen. Taking their new name, and maybe a changed body, out into the world. A world that's slowly changing for the better as the tolerant and the kind assert the truth that people are people, and we all deserve to be treated with respect. Its still a harsh world though and harsher still when you're on your own; what did they do to deserve this?
I imagine that you thought it was 'your kind' and 'our sort'; that you couldn't comprehend the disconnect between what's between our legs and inside our head. When we came out to the world, our gender didn't change, its just that now we're living as we want to be seen, as we know is right and how we were meant to be. We can't change our gender any more than you can. How dare you let them down like this!
Despite what you think, trans people are brilliant and strong; certainly stronger than you. When you hid from your fears and sent your child off in to the world to fend for themselves, you lost and they gained. There's little worse than a loved one sniping, mocking, stealing confidence, belittling feelings ... and for what? It didn't work, couldn't work, your child's true self broke through and the best you managed is to prolong their pain. Know this: there is no coming back, they will not realise any mistake and, unless you change, they will be gone for good.
This new year, reach out to your child and ask to be part of their life again. You have no right to do this of course, having betrayed their trust, so don't do a thing if you're not going to accept them unconditionally as they are. They on the other hand have every right to be angry with you, to be suspicious of you, to not want to see you at all ... but with time, there is hope. You can become a parent again. Will you try?
I've been lucky to have parents that could get over their discomfort at my transition but its cruel that in the 21st century, not every trans person can say that, leaving them without family support simply for trying to be happy. Its horribly common too, with the Scottish Transgender Alliance's 2012 Trans Mental Health study finding that almost 1 in 3 trans people had unsupportive parents. Society must try harder; there is nothing wrong with being trans, but there is something wrong with abandoning trans people. Help stop this, please.
Most parents await the birth of their child with excitement, perhaps preferring a boy or a girl, but usually hoping simply for a healthy child who will be loved regardless of their gender ... why should that change now?