Today people are going to wish me a Happy Mother’s Day. Mostly I appreciate it, but honestly, there are some who make mothering hard for me every day. I am less inclined to accept their well-wishes.
When people hear that I have four trans kids, they tell me I’m brave for supporting them. Other mama bears hear the same when they reveal that they have LGBTQIA kids.
We don’t want to have to be brave. We’re only brave out of necessity. And we’re angry that we have to be brave all the time.
We’re brave because we might have to leave a church when someone finds out that our son is gay or we discover that we’d been introducing our daughter wrong all along. We may get the dreaded, “Can we get together to talk privately,” message from a pastor where we have to defend our child’s right to exist as a member of a the church family. We may be forced to choose between the flesh of our flesh and the group who claims the label of family as long as it’s convenient, but who oust you when the status quo is in any way threatened.
We’re brave because politicians are conspiring against our children. Whether it’s a transgender ban in the military, trying to overturn marriage rights for same sex partners, whether it’s being allowed to deny healthcare to LGBTQIA patients because of your “religious beliefs,” or rolling back protections for LGBTQIA students in public schools, there is a group that is hell-bent on seeing the death of our children.
We’re brave because our children have a 40% chance of dying by suicide. In our secret Facebook groups, a week seldom goes by that one of us doesn’t end up in the hospital with a child who couldn’t bear the pain anymore. And far too often, we must grieve with a mother whose child loses the battle.
We’re brave because when our kids go to school, they will be bullied with no consequences. Most often by other students, but sometimes by school administrators who might follow our children into a bathroom and demand that they urinate in front of them to prove that they’re really who they say they are and THEN tell them, “You freak me out.” And when we write letters and attend board meetings and protest, they keep their jobs in the same school.
We’re brave because people tell us that we’ve made our kids gay or trans. They tell us that we’re mutilating our kids, regardless of knowing how we are dealing with their trans-ness. They fake gag at the thought of our gay sons and infantilize our lesbian daughters. They call our non-binary kids “it.” They mock and insult and pour condemnation on us and our children.
We’re brave because to not be brave means that our children are less safe.
Yes, we’re brave, but we’re also angry. We’re angry because while all parenting requires some measure of courage, it shouldn’t require courage for simple things like going to church or to the bathroom, but for our children, that’s part of the deal.
So today, maybe don’t wish a mama bear a happy Mother’s Day if you’re working against her kid. Don’t tell her she’s brave if you’re part of why she she needs to be brave. And maybe think about how you can bear some of the burden so we can be a little less brave and a little less angry. That would be a happy day.
If you’re the mom of an LGBTQIA kid and need support, shoot me a message and I’ll get you in touch with Liz Dyer who has been instrumental in creating the mama bear movement.