parents

I'll be walking in a pride march for the first time - for my child.

In a few weeks my family will be one of many marching proudly down Fitzroy Street in the Melbourne Midsumma Pride March for the very first time.

I’ll be marching for my seven year old son and all the other transgender and gender diverse children just like him that make up our close knit support group, Gender Help for Parents Australia. I’ll be marching for all children just like them because they are beautiful, strong and brave and worth celebrating.

I’m proud to be a parent of a transgender child. When I look back two years, I think about how much courage it took for him to stand up and say who he really was and how he had to fight for that recognition and face the fear of rejection at such a young age. It took me a little while to fully understand but I could see how important his gender identity is to him. And why wouldn’t it be? Isn’t it to all of us? I’m in awe of his courage. And so proud.

Watch: Mother alters tattoo in support of transgender son. (Post continues after video.)

Gender is a spectrum. A colourful rainbow. Life would be so boring if we were all the same. I want to celebrate that. And I want to celebrate the acceptance that so many of our children now receive.

Victorian schools lead the way in embracing gender diversity and ensuring that all children feel safe and included. Society is coming to understand more about gender diversity. We are understanding that gender is not sexuality. That it is not a choice. That some women have penises and some men have vaginas and some people don’t exclusively identify as male or female.

And yes – some children know from a young age that the gender they were assigned at birth is not right.

gay-pride-march
“All this is wonderful and I’m marching to celebrate it all. But I’m also marching to protest.” Image via iStock.
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All this is wonderful and I’m marching to celebrate it all. But I’m also marching to protest.

There are still some gaping holes in the laws effecting LGBTIQ people and one big one effects our kids.

Australia is the only country in the world that makes our 16 year old teenagers go to court for gender affirming hormones.

transgender child
Jo Hirst.

The cost – up to $30,000 – and the length of time it takes means that many are forced to wait until 18 years of age to access treatment.

Many nights I’m hearing desperate parents tell of their children who have dropped out of school, out of social groups and out of life. Hiding away at home because they cannot cope with the changes in their bodies that are so wrong for them. The boy who is growing breasts, the girl whose voice is deepening further every day. Some of these changes are irreversible.

Too many times I speak to a parent whose child is in a mental health unit after a suicide attempt. This, despite medical professionals fully supporting hormone treatment for the child. Even explaining that their life is in danger without it.

So, on January 31, I will be marching to protest discrimination as well. Let’s put an end to all discriminatory laws against LGBTIQ people and let’s start with this one. It just might save some children’s lives.

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