Tuesday, September 25, 2007

An Experience that Changed Me

I've resisted posting this for a while but since I believe Oprah will be opening a forthcoming show (October 12) with it (or an excerpt of it), I figured I may as well make this public.

My son wrote this essay. He is 13. The topic was "An Experience that Changed Me." I hope this brings people hope and love.

An experience that changed me

An experience that changed me is that my dad is transgendered, and became my “Maddy.” A person who is transgendered has a lifelong sense of being born into the wrong body.

I was about four when Maddy began the “transition.” I don’t really remember the experience well because it was over nine years ago. Once the transition had taken place, I was comfortable with it. But I was worried what my friends would think. I kept it secret for a little bit, but eventually they found out on their own. They all accepted it a lot better than I thought they would.

One night we were all around the table. I brought up that we needed a new name because she was no longer “Daddy.” Because she was still sort of in the transition, I said, “Why don’t we call you ‘Maddy,’ which is half Mom and half Daddy? My brother S----, who was pretty small, said “Or Dommy.”

Now I feel that if we call Maddy “Jenny” it would sort of be like having a step-parent instead of a parent.

Maddy is a funny and wise. We go fishing and biking. We talk a lot, about anything that is on our minds.

One night this spring, Maddy and I had a fancy dinner at a restaurant called A----- in Waterville. It was a special night. I wore a jacket and a tie. I had a steak. It made me feel like Maddy and I were really close. Maddy said that she thought I was growing up and that she was proud of me.

Sometimes it’s true that I wish I had a regular father, but only because I don’t remember what it was like to have a normal family. Sometimes it’s hard to have a family that is different. But most of the time I think I am the luckiest kid on earth. Even though my family is different, I can’t think of any way that life could be better.

From this I learned that everybody is different. No matter how different people are, you should treat them all with respect and kindness.

For instance, I know a boy named A-----. He is developmentally delayed, which means that although he is fifteen, he sort of acts as though he’s ten. At my public school, people are not necessarily nice to him. They call him names and make fun of him and tease him. When I see him, I try to be nice. Most of the time when he sees me, he gets distracted from what he was doing, so I try to get him back on course. When people make fun of him, it makes me feel like these people will make fun of anybody for anything. That makes me angry.

I hope to help support the rights for everybody, no matter how different they are.

I know people from lots of different kinds of families. Some families are divorced, so some of my friends only live with one parent at a time. Other families have someone who is mentally challenged in their family. But no matter how different they are, they are all people. My goal is that some day everybody will be treated with love.

1 comment:

Michael said...

That's a pretty terrific kid you have there. Articulate writer, too. This essay piece is a fantastic testimonial for coming out to your kids sooner rather than later, having open and honest communication with them rather than secrets, and trusting them and your love for each other. I hope a lot of people take a lesson from it.