Tag Archives: rainbow

No More Explanations

25 Aug

I want to live in a world where I don’t have to explain all the time.

My oldest daughter recently became engaged to the love of her life. We spent a magical weekend up at Bass Lake, where both families gathered to watch the romantic lakeside proposal. When I relay the story to people who don’t know our family well, they ask,

“How did he propose?”

He didn’t. She did. Then I have to explain that my daughter did the proposing, and it was her girlfriend to whom she popped the question. Yes, I explain—my daughter is gay.

There’s usually a quick look of confusion, then recovery. “Oh, how wonderful!” they exclaim, “You must be very happy!”

Of course I’m happy—I’m ecstatic!

I’m elated that my daughter was finally able to show who she was after hiding for most of her life. That she found a partner who is funny, kind, and most importantly, has a wicked sense of humor that fits right into our family. I’m over the moon that my daughter’s fiancée loves and appreciates her in the manner she deserves. I’m thrilled that we live in a community where, for the most part, people accept and support that two women can fall in love and get married.

Nora and Candice after the big moment!

Yes, we’ve come a long way, but there’s so much further to go.

A few years ago, my third daughter, who is a transgender woman, moved to the Bay Area because she didn’t feel completely comfortable living in our community. While we’re more open-minded in general than other parts of the country, acceptance toward transgender folk is not where it should be. She now lives in Oakland, where no one cares which bathroom you use, what you look like under your clothes, or whom you choose to love.

Cece in her glorious rainbow color!

For the most part, it’s my generation and older that always seems to need an explanation. Why does it matter that people have preferred pronouns? Why is it so difficult to honor what people want to be called? My kids don’t care about sexuality or gender; they use “they/them” with ease. Their decision to like (or not like) someone is solely based on who that person is—not how they dress or whom they choose to love.

We need to take a lesson from them.

I’ll start with myself. I’ll let go of feeling obligated to explain everything to others. If you get it, fine. If you don’t, that’s your issue.

It’s so simple, it doesn’t need an explanation. Let people be who they are.

Love is love is love.

That pretty much covers it.

Beautiful, Inside and Out

30 Sep

Last December, I didn’t send out our annual holiday newsletter. This is unprecedented for me, as for over thirty years, I’ve always sent out a photo card showing our beautiful family of six, accompanied by a letter detailing the many accomplishments of my children. This past year though, I just couldn’t face it.

I was too overwhelmed. And a bit scared.

In 2019, some major changes took place in our family. Our oldest daughter moved back home; our second daughter got married, and our youngest daughter started high school.

And our third child, who was assigned male at birth, came out to us as a transgender woman.

Last summer, at the age of twenty-five, Cecily, who goes by Cece, realized that who she was on the inside did not match the gender originally listed on her birth certificate. For those of you who know our family and are slightly confused, I’m talking about our child whose “dead name” was “Nino.” From now on, I will only refer to my daughter as Cece, and use she/her pronouns because that is who she is, and who she has always been.

It’s so odd that for years, we perceive someone as being a certain way, and have absolutely no sense that they might be someone completely different on the inside. Society has taught my generation that gender is binary—either male or female—so we told ourselves stories about our children based solely on their bodies. We nurtured them as the gender we assumed they were, never realizing that we might not be honoring their authentic selves.

Then, when our children are courageous enough to reveal who they really are, we’re shocked. We’re sad. We grieve for the person we believe is no longer with us. We didn’t realize then how much we had to learn.

While I immediately accepted Cece as a woman, to be honest, it was far more difficult than I imagined it would be. As a perpetual people pleaser my entire life, I worried about what others would think and say about my perfect little family. I was terrified of rejection—not only for Cece, but for myself.

Societal constraints are often oppressive, and for her own survival, Cece unknowingly hid who she was—even to herself. For years she suffered from deep depression because she pushed her true self down for so long. And who wouldn’t want to hide? People can be unaccepting and unkind about what they do not understand.

Our family is fortunate enough to live in a community where people are generally well-informed about transgender folk. I’ve discovered that my kids’ generation is so much better at understanding the differences of others than my generation has been. From the moment Cece came out, her sisters have embraced her with pure acceptance and love. They are closer now than ever.

It’s not always easy, but our family is learning as we go. Our love for Cece has grown exponentially, and there’s no doubt we will continue to support her as she makes her way through life as the woman she was meant to be.

Cece is still the same person she’s always been—she’s just more beautiful now, because she’s finally able to freely show us who she really is on the inside. As for me—well, it took me a while, but I’m done keeping quiet. I’m flying that progressive rainbow flag with pride.

Ultimately, love is all that matters. I loved my child from the moment she was born, and that love has only grown deeper now that she’s given me the gift of knowing her true self. I am so proud to be her mom, and I celebrate her with all of my being.