Transitioning, parenting a transgender child, and conscious parenting


I want to tell you about a conversation I had about a month ago, with a mom I met locally. It was kind of in passing but the person who introduced us said, “Oh, and [this is] Judy. She has a child who went through a transition. And you guys should get a chance talk.”

An Unexpected Introduction

I took that as a great opportunity. I emailed Judy and asked her if she would mind having lunch or a coffee so we could chat. When we sat down to meet, she said, “OK, so why are we getting together?”

“I just want to pick your brain,” I said. “By all means, you don’t have to answer any questions but I’m really curious about what it was like raising a child who went through a sexual transition.” She was born with a son who transitioned to a woman. And please forgive me. I’m still learning the lingo, so I don’t mean to be offensive. It’s a tricky thing, learning these new terms. And that was part of this discussion: I want to educate myself.

A Bit of Background

Judy told me what it was like to have given life to a boy. And she knew something was different, “Something’s different about this child.” And she named her child Corey, which interestingly enough, can be for a boy or a girl. From very, very early on, and of course there’s a spectrum of what this looks like, but Corey leaned more toward more girl-like clothing and behaviors.

So Judy always knew, Corey should really be a girl. They had a super close relationship and it was during Corey’s Bar Mitzvah, which is for boys, that it really came to light, like “how can I go through this transformation if, I’m a boy, but I’m not, and my belief is that I’m a girl and that’s who I ascribe to and what I want to be and how I want to represent myself?”. And it was that turning point that both Judy and her daughter Corey went along the path of transitioning and finding a therapist to be able to do the whole transformation and what that would look like with their friends, and with their synagogue, and with all of the other pieces involved, in school, and everything. And I know I’m not getting all of the details right, but the thing that kept striking me during this conversation, was how much Judy loved her daughter. As you may or may not know, much of my work is based around conscious parenting. Conscious parenting is really about letting go of our own agenda, of what we think should be. And here is a situation where Judy easily could have been thought, you should be a boy. I gave birth to a boy, you should be a boy. Instead, Judy was able to put aside her fears and her concerns and whatever it was about whatever her own thoughts were, and really tune into what her daughter’s needs were, and where her daughter was.

Staying in the Present

We are, as parents, always thinking about the future, Oh, my goodness, where are they going to be in the future, are they going to be successful? So many things keep us out of the present moment. And what Judy was able to do was stay in the present moment, and meet her daughter where her daughter was, and accept her daughter for who she was. And again, that’s not easy for us to do. We often want to change our kids: they’re too rambunctious, they’re too social, they’re too messy, they’re too shy. And we don’t accept our kids for who they are.  

Keeping Conscious Parenting at the Forefront

And this gets me a bit emotional, because I heard this mom talking about how much she loved her daughter, no matter what that looked like. Whatever she looked like, she supported her daughter, and transgendered kids are having such a tough time, with depression, and shame, and guilt, and suicide. And now her daughter is 20-something years old. Coming out of her shell beautifully, advocating, supporting other kids and adults going through their transition. And I have not met Corey, but she seems amazing. And part of that is her mother. Her mother really embraced who she was, and to me that is just the most special and most clear example of what conscious parenting is: accepting your child for who they are.

And it shows.

What did that relationship do? They had a connected relationship. They talked about so many difficult things. And they made it through. And, again, at the end of our conversation, I was bawling. I couldn’t even breathe. Because I loved what she was able to do for her daughter. So, Judy: she’s a stylist, she creates beautiful jewelry and also styles people beautifully. Part of what she does, is that she works with parents and kids who are in transition. She helps them style themselves. So that process of going from boy to girl, or girl to boy, or whatever that representation is for you, wherever you lie on that spectrum, if there is an outward transformation that needs to happen, whether it be hair, makeup, clothing, anything, Judy has helped the parents go through that transition but also helped the child go through that transition, so that they can feel beautiful in whichever way they want to express themselves.

Corey lives in California and has connected with the transgender community and is doing some amazing work. She has written some beautiful blog posts. Some of them have to do with the relationship she has with her mother, so you can see it yourself. There’s a touching Mother’s Day blog by Corey that gives a clear example as to why I’m so impressed with and so grateful that these two people exist.

To learn more:

Instagram: @imcoreyrae

Instagram: @judyzinnato

While I’m not an expert, I am eager to educate myself on this topic. I will help you find the right connections to help you through this if this is something you are going through or if you know someone who is.