The Hologram of Thankfulness: my Thanksgiving list

I am thankful for Mama…Lady Grace…The Great Holy Spirit and creator of the Universe.  Her comfort, Her protection and Her Wisdom have altered me, transformed me forever.

I am thankful for Jesus…my older Brother and Great High Priest…the very First God in Human Flesh and the maker of the way for me to also be “God in the flesh”, in that His life has lifted me in the power of His Love…He has chosen to take up residence in me by the Spirit of Christ, and oh the indescribable wonder of this.

I am thankful for Father…tender and tall and the Giver of Every Good and Perfect Gift.  All I will say about Him is this:  if you want to know what He is like, get to know Jesus, cus they are just alike…

Try this out:  Consider…what if the Bible is a “self-correcting” book?  Or what if there is a motive in the unfolding revelation, from the beginning of the book commenting on humanity at a certain point of progress, a certain revelation of truth and understanding of the essential core of love and spirituality?  A species, benighted and backwards, suspicious and superstitious?  What if communication was forced to take place in degrees, in baby steps, modulating in a direction, always the same one to the same place, the same Person, until finally, when the time was right, the Face of God was manifest in a manger…from a cross pronouncing forgiveness, and then at the core of all things making intercession ever for us, saving us, preparing us, and then ushering us into Eternity?

Now for other humans (Jesus being the First One I mentioned):

I am thankful for all the really quality people I have met who read here and also who I read.  You are all so ordinary!  And that is the most extraordinary thing of all.  Such ordinary people, bearing burdens, swimming in triumphs, surfing trials, and daily just plodding along waiting for the next amazing sunset miracle and sunrise promise after the dark night has passed.  To all of you…I am truly grateful.  You inspire me, with your style, your perspective…but most of all with your love…it staggers me, the love that Kat has for Kris, that Lori has for CJ, that Hunter’s mom has for him, that John has for his flock, that Karen has for becoming and overcoming, that lil mama has for life and living (big blanket there cus big heart and big power)…these are the ones coming to mind now, but not the only ones…emblematic of the larger whole, you each and every one have become a star in the night of my life and I lay out on Mama’s grassy hillside and stare at you all there…shining in my night.

I am thankful for my children, and on that I will say no more…words fail to express who they have been to me, who they are to me and who I hope they will be to “you”.

I am thankful for my bff, and she knows the depth of this.  Heart…how?  Why?  Such joy, such challenge and wonder, such passion and purpose and intention…and such silly poofery and laughing.  Have you ever reflected on how much we laugh?  Someday those coffees and cocoas and shopping, and reading novels out loud chapter by chapter and sitting in some sunlight nook in the mountains or by the sea, you rattling away on your keyboard and I the same as our heart unfolds into words and the words spool out on the page and we dream that pages would become people as they read and take in our words…I love you very much.  May Mama grant you fullness…in spirit, heart, and…there.

<Many other things and people insert here>

Last, because most:  I am thankful for God’s Gracious Glance…God’s Gracious Gift…my baby.  My heart of hearts, my very blood coursing thru all my hopes and all my fears and all my tears and traumas…you have held me in the night as I lay in towering agonizing fear, you have wrapped around me and held on as death assaulted me and sought to devour me…you have laffed with me…and do you know how much WE laff?  Me and ddh laugh like loons but you and me laff like all ducks in all times and all places flying north and south and landing and taking off and scolding and clucking for always now and forever…in shimmery feathers and pure brown and violent green.  We laff.

Darling, I cannot ever find the right words and I cannot ever stop myself trying, throwing myself heedless on your cliffs beautiful and daunting, your beaches gentle and inviting…I am compelled and drawn and desire you in your all YOU-ness, and so I will the tide run at you to you thru you always.

I am so thankful for you that my tears now run onto my lappie…I love you.

Constance…today…even if it is just one small thing.  Find that nugget, and be thankful at least for that, okay?

Thankfulness is like a hologram:  one small piece contains the entire picture.

Today, thankfulness can be summed up in this:
Do Justice.  Love Mercy.  Walk Humbly.

Much love, and deep grateful thankfulness,
Charissa

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11 Myths, Misconceptions, and Lies About Gender Non-conforming Children

Constance, this article is really good.  Pass it along, please.

Sorry for my terse prose…I am feeling a bit down.

Running to Mama…Charissa Grace

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11 Myths, Misconceptions, and Lies About Gender Non-conforming Children

Source: Lindsay Morris

Originally published on The Huffington Post and cross-posted here with the author’s permission.

Recently, a video about a transgender child in California named Ryland Whittington went viral. It is beautiful and moving and shows the power of unconditional parental love.

Sadly, like every other conversation about transgender children, the comments section was often unkind. Scanning the comments, I saw the same poorly thought-out ideas keep popping up. Many of them were similar to things said about transgender adults, but others were particular to transgender children.

I think it’s time to put these misconceptions to bed.

1. Children are too young to know these things or make these decisions.

The overwhelming consensus of the psychological community is that gender identity is formed by the age of two or three. The consensus of the medical community is that sexual dimorphism of the brain occurs in utero as a result of exposure, or lack thereof, to androgens.

In other words, gender identity and expression are determined before a child is even born. It is only at two or three that they can express it.

Even those psychologists who push for “reparative therapy” to “normalize” gender non-conforming children acknowledge that if a child is still asserting a particular gender identity at the age of six, the odds of it changing are exceedingly small.

2. You are whatever your bits say you are.

In utero, the reproductive organs develop and differentiate earlier than the brain does. When the brain later develops in ways that typically differentiate between male and female, it is based on whether or not the androgens are present and received.

Usually, because the gonads are already in place and producing minute amounts of hormones, this differentiation allows the brain development to match the typical pattern. When something (such as endocrine-disrupting chemicals) interferes with this process, you can get a mismatch between phenotypes.

A person’s sense of self and their gender identity and expression are based on what’s between their ears. Who you are as a person is defined by gray matter, not by genitalia.

3. Gender non-conforming behavior and identities are a result of something the parents did.

Usually this line of attack is meant to imply that the children grew up in a broken home, or that somehow the parents were gender non-conforming or ultra-liberal or somehow encouraged it.

I have spoken with many parents of transgender kids who live in conservative, religious, two-parent military families with both parents filling stereotypical gender roles.

Wayne Maines became an advocate for his transgender daughter and transgender children nationwide despite previously having a very conservative philosophy and values that suggested that transgender children did not exist. Watching his child grow, he could not deny the fact that she was indeed a girl, not a boy.

But these stories are all anecdotal. Let’s see what research has to say about the matter:

There is no proof that postnatal social environment has any crucial effect on gender identity or sexual orientation.”

Next.

4. If you just made them behave like a proper boy/girl, it would fix the ‘problem.’

Let’s look at two of the most famous case studies of trying to “fix” gender non-conforming children. There was George Reker’s case study of “Kirk,” and then there was the case of David Reimer, who was raised as a girl after a botched circumcision.

In both cases, trying to cram these children into a box they didn’t fit in ended up killing them.

Nearly every parent of a transgender child I have met has told me that they reached a point of acceptance when they realized that they had a choice: either accept their child or lose them altogether.

5. My kid said he is an elephant. Does that mean I should put him on an all-peanut diet? No! These parents are just being indulgent of a child’s fantasy.

We’ve already discussed that this isn’t a fantasy; there are biological origins, and simply identifying as male or female is not abnormal. However, this reminds me of nothing so much as the same sort of ill-considered opinions that people have about raising other special-needs children.

It also bears repeating that the majority of parents who have children who have socially transitioned reached a point where they feared for their child’s life. Suicidal ideation is common even in very young in transgender children.

I cannot say this more plainly: You do not have a right to question or judge a parent’s decisions when they fear for their child’s life.

6. When I was young, I was a tomboy, and I didn’t turn out to be transgender.

Individuals saying this sort of thing may have demonstrated some cross-gender behaviors but not a persistent cross-gender identity.

This is a key difference between the two, and such comparisons represent a false analogy.

7. If you let them socially transition, you’re just setting them up to be bullied.

This is another form of blaming the victim. Shouldn’t we focus on preventing bullying rather than making the victim conform? We do not accept that forcing kids to act “less gay” is right. We don’t like the idea that avoiding being raped is the victim’s responsibility.

The parents of transgender and gender non-conforming children aren’t to blame if their children are bullied. More often than not, they are already doing everything they can to keep their child alive and happy.

If blame is to fall anywhere, it more rightly belongs on those doing the bullying and on school administrators who allow it to happen.

8. They’re giving ten-year-old children hormones!

No. Doctors are prescribing Lupron, which blocks the onset of puberty. This drug is already being used on children who aren’t transgender to prevent precocious puberty.

The reason that doctors block puberty in transgender children is that forcing a transgender child to go through the wrong puberty is more or less irreversible, does permanent harm in terms of ongoing dysphoria, and results in greater difficulty living in their target gender.

9. What if these kids change their minds?

For children who haven’t undergone any sort of medical treatment, they transition back socially. However, after age six to eight, this becomes very uncommon. If they are on Lupron, they stop taking it, and puberty proceeds as normal, just as it would for a child who had been given it to stop precocious puberty.

According to Dr. Norman Spack, who specializes in this field:

[A]t the time that puberty begins — that means between about age 10 to 12 in girls, 12 to 14 in boys, with breast budding or two- to three-times increase in the gonads in the case of genetic males — by that particular point, the child who says they are in the absolute wrong body is almost certain to be transgender and is extremely unlikely to change those feelings, no matter how anybody tries reparative therapy or any other noxious things.

At the age of 15 or 16, if the child is still asserting a cross-gender identity, there is almost zero chance that this will change. Then, and only then, are cross-gender hormones administered.

In short, the medical and mental-health protocols are designed to only take permanent medical steps after everything possible has been done to ensure that this is the correct course of treatment. Until that point, everything is reversible.

Along the way, however, steps are being taken to minimize potential harm to the patient whether or not they are transgender.

10. These kids should have to wait until they’re 18 before doing anything medically (including puberty-blocking drugs).

By that time it is too late. Puberty has already given them a body that can’t be easily fixed.

Medical science can attempt to mitigate the harm, but at that point it is expensive and painful, and the results only partially compensate for the effects of going through the wrong puberty.

In short, forcing them to wait can (and often does) cause massive, irreparable harm.

11. You transgender activists want to force all these children down a medical track.

No. No. And a thousand times no. I have met the parents of gender non-conforming kids. These kids may express themselves differently but do not have a cross-gender identification (e.g.: they are a boy who identifies as a boy but likes things that are gender-stereotyped as more feminine).

I absolutely do not want children who are simply gender non-conforming going down a medical track.

What parents of transgender and gender non-conforming children want is the same thing that every other parent wants: for their children to be happy, safe, loved, and protected.

If medical care will help their children go out into the world with every chance of achieving their potential and having a fulfilling life, then they will fight tooth and nail for it.

It’s what any good parent would do.

Brynn Tannehill is originally from Phoenix, Ariz. She graduated from the Naval Academy with a B.S. in computer science in 1997. She earned her Naval Aviator wings in 1999 and flew SH-60B helicopters and P-3C maritime patrol aircraft during three deployments between 2000 and 2004. She served as a campaign analyst while deployed overseas to 5th Fleet Headquarters in Bahrain from 2005 to 2006. In 2008 Brynn earned a M.S. in Operations Research from the Air Force Institute of Technology and transferred from active duty to the Naval Reserves. In 2008 Brynn began working as a senior defense research scientist in private industry. She left the drilling reserves and began transition in 2010. Since then she has written for OutServe magazine, The New Civil Rights Movement, and Queer Mental Health as a blogger and featured columnist. Brynn and her wife Janis currently live in Xenia, Ohio, with their three children. Follow her on Twitter @BrynnTannehill.

Reposting an amazing Post on Being a Parent of…

a non gender conforming child.  Oh, how things have changed.  Where might I be if…

ah well…read on:

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A Thousand Heartbreaks

A Thousand Heartbreaks

While sitting around drinking coffee Sunday morning I came across this post on Raising My Rainbow and it broke my heart. On so many levels. This blog is about a gender nonconforming first grade boy named C.J. and his family. He dresses like a girl and plays with traditional girl toys. He’s amazing. You should read all about him. And, of course, he has a special place in my heart because my daughter Eliza lives between genders. She’s a badass if I haven’t mentioned it lately and so is C.J.

But recently C.J. wet his pants at school because he was being bullied in the boy’s bathroom. Little boys were peeking through the stall cracks trying to see if he had a penis or a vagina. Intimidated, C.J. stopped going to the bathroom at school and peed in his pants. After drying their collective tears, C.J.’s mom found herself at his school, in front of his teachers and principal, fighting for him. I have been there. And I know I will be there again.

We are mothers of children who don’t fit into the binary boy/girl paradigm our culture subscribes to. We are mothers of children who wear ill-fitting boxer briefs because they don’t make them to fit a girl’s frame. We are mothers of children who wear colorful bracelets and pink skirts but have to use the boy’s bathroom. We are the mothers who drag ourselves to the principal’s office, to the swimming pool, to the soccer team to explain once again that our child is different and fabulous. We are the ones who stand firm footed, square-eyed with people who don’t understand and tell them she’s amazing, she can really kick the ball, that she will be on the team, that she won’t wear a swim shirt unless she wants to, that it is okay to call her by the name she chooses even if it’s Frederick. We watch from the front row when she rocks a double-breasted suit at her guitar performance and we tell her every single day how lucky we are to be her parents. We are grateful for her. For him.

And, yet, we are tired. We live one step away from an off-handed remark, from a misplaced comment, from the seething rage we feel every time someone says something unkind to our perfect, loving, generous, brave children. We keep our children in a bubble as best we can, we pay for private schools, we live in small spaces, we try every day to live from a place of love and not fear. We hold them close at night and tell them there are other people like them even though we don’t know any of them. We tell them every day that they are so incredibly loved and we hope like hell the love and acceptance we’ve shown them will pay off, will protect them.

We harbor the kind of worry that is so profound it catches in our throats when we try to explain it. Because we can’t explain it.  We know our gender creative children are exactly who they are meant to be and in the dark moments that is more comforting that you can imagine.

While our children are breaking trail in front of us, we walk close behind with bright lights to search the path ahead. We are vigilant, we are strong, we have one eye on their safety and one eye on their self-esteem at all times. We allow stories like C.J.’s to break our hearts a thousand times so that we keep fighting. We take a deep breath and let it out because we know that if a child cannot safely go to the bathroom at school while dressed in clothes that make him feel comfortable, we have a long way to go.

Can’t get enough of Savagemama? Read more of her stories here!