Recently, great strides have been made for transgender people and the LGBTQ community at large... but the person behind the progress may be younger than you'd think. Proud wife, mother and blogger Debi Jackson wrote on blogher.com earlier today about her daughter A.J. who, at only six-years-old, officially decided to complete her transition that began when she was three. While others identified her as a male until she was about four, A.J. did not hesitate to tell her mom that she knew she was a girl at a young age.
Though Debi Jackson was neither familiar with what a transition would entail nor particularly prepared to raise a transgender child, she could not be more proud of A.J. And while her daughter's decision to transition has undoubtedly been for the best, Debi does not deny that the process and its explanation came with grief and scorn from their surrounding community. Some criticism came from parents who felt that A.J. was too young to make such an important decision about her identity, and some came from the Christian community. Regardless of who opposed and why, though, Debi Jackson remains firm on the fact that her daughter's insistence, consistence, and persistence convinced her that transitioning was the right thing to do. Additionally, her religion taught her to be open and accepting of all, if nothing else, and is more prepared than ever to continue standing by her daughter throughout her journey.
It seems to me that we need more people like Debi Jackson, who strive to educate themselves in order to help their transgender children make their transitions. A feeling of acceptance, especially by parents, can serve as a means of support and positive reinforcement during such complicated times. I can personally vouch for this, as I have experienced the transition of my friend John. When he was a senior in high school, John, who was still identifying as a female at the time, came out as lesbian very publicly. His family, friends, and many others in school and my town were extremely supportive, even throwing him a coming out party. Since then, John has come out as transgender, and again received a great deal of support from those around him.
Having known John since the very beginning, I attribute much of his happiness and success to the unending love he was shown, just as I believe Debi's support and pride will positively influence her daughter. This would surely prove true for others who identify as transgender, are currently transitioning, or are still figuring it all out.