My Toddler Came Out As Trans, and This Was His Journey

  • My son came out to us as trans at a very early age.
  • Giving him a boy haircut made him so happy, and it solidified his real identity. 
  • I often feel overwhelmed with what others might say, but my son is so much happier now than before.

The inside of the cake is pink. “We’re having a little girl!” I shouted. Fast-forward a couple of years, and my now toddler is letting me know that he is, in fact, a boy. At first, I kind of shrugged it off, assuming this was another one of those toddlerisms. My older child was a dinosaur at 2, and my second is a boy. 

“I don’t want this hair,” my almost 3-year-old told me. When asked what haircut he’d like, my toddler enthusiastically said he wanted hair like his older cousin Will. I was hesitant to charge down this path. I redirected. I asked if he wanted a girl bob instead. It was quickly rejected.

I pressed on with the bob style, almost pushing to the point of tears. Then, I decided to follow my gut and give my child what I knew was needed — pictures of little-boy haircuts. “Yes! Yes, that one!” The joy and validation were evident on his face.

We filmed my kid’s reaction to seeing himself in the mirror post-cut, and I still rewatch it nearly three years later when I need a boost of happiness. Watching my child see himself in a mirror, the way he sees himself in his mind, was pure gold. There’s no way else to describe it. It was beyond beautiful.

I think I knew before then, but it was all overwhelming to digest. It was that moment that solidified the knowing.

My son started telling me he was a boy a few months before he turned 2. We started using his affirmed pronouns around age 4 — it took some time for our language to catch up with our hearts.

I have a trans son

There have been gray areas along the way of figuring out where we could course correct and how we navigate this path of having a trans son, but I do know that we’re on this path for a reason. 

I’ve learned that the pink color of the cake wasn’t wrong because boys can have pink cakes, too. We had just guessed our son’s affirmed gender prematurely.

The short hair turned quickly into “boy” clothing and underwear. From sitting to pee to trying to stand while peeing. From she/her pronouns to he/him pronouns. From the name we chose for our child to the name he chose for himself. 

I’ve often felt like I’m drowning in motherhood. In the early days of new parenthood, I was overwhelmed by nursing all the time and the many wake-ups throughout the night.

This next stage of parenting — cellphones, social media, romantic feelings, puberty — it overwhelms me. 

And now there’s another layer: thinking about what other people might think when they learn my child is trans, wondering what questions they’ll have, and contemplating the judgments and gossip not only at school but also anywhere we go together.

It’s so easy to let these thoughts slip into my mind when I read headlines of parents fighting other parents because their trans kid wants to play on their nontrans kid’s soccer team, or when I have a near panic attack explaining our situation to friends we haven’t seen since my son’s pronouns and name changed. Then there’s when I heartbreakingly watch grandparents pause when they need to say a pronoun in conversation and awkwardly choose no pronouns at all.

Earlier this year, a woman who knew my child back when he used she/her pronouns casually asked me which pronouns she should use around our son. This simple acknowledgment filled me with hope.

Meeting my son has been humbling and truly sacred. I am amazed by him every day and so very grateful we’re on this path together. I’m so glad I have gotten to meet the real him.

Editor’s note: The author has remained anonymous to not out their son during his journey of coming out.

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