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June 22, 2016
The Borders I Cross is a series of reflections from BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz members and friends about their peacemaking journeys. This particular series focuses on the many borders crossed for peacemaking, which include physical borders as well as those such as language, culture, race, religion, nationality, generation, class, and sexual orientation. These essays come from people from all walks of life; those who cross borders as students, in their paid professions, in their volunteer time, in their family lives and/or in retirement. We hope you enjoy this series from BPFNA!
A kid gave my kid two cookies in a plastic wrapper yesterday.
My kid was finally ready to go live at school as his true gender self. We were following the plan: new haircut, teachers and administrators on board. At the last minute he hung on the door of the minivan and didn't want to get out, so we said the verse together he had picked out for his transition (Joshua 1:9, “Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid, because God will be with you wherever you go”) and he got his courage up. We happened to walk into school with a BFF and dad, then climbed the steps together to the 5th grade hall, where the guidance counselor was hanging out in the classroom as planned, and the teacher gave me the signal.
I hugged my kid. "Pray for me," he asked, as he always does. "As always," I said, and left.
I blindly ran a few PTA errands and left the building shaking, but couldn't leave the parking lot. I almost needed to keep vigil, and it wasn’t like I was in any shape to drive anyway. I knew the plan: the teacher would simply tell the class that Amanda* and Amanda’s family had decided that he would go by Aidan now, because that's just what seemed to fit him better. The guidance counselor would be there if any questions came up, and they would just see what happened.
When the guidance counselor called me afterwards, still in the parking lot, she said that things had seemed to go smoothly so far. Then she said that one unplanned thing had happened after I left and before the teacher made the announcement, while kids were still unpacking.
A kid from another class, whose mom had already told him what was going on with Aidan, asked his teacher if he could leave to give something to Aidan. After checking the package, the teacher gave permission and he went to my kid’s classroom. There the guidance counselor met him in the hallway, listened to his request, checked his package again, and called Aidan out in the hall. The kid handed Aidan the package and said, "I knew today might be tough for you, so I wanted you to have these."
A child gave my child two cookies, and I sat in the school parking lot and bawled like a baby.
I don't want this to sound like the Facebook highlights reel of my child's transitioning. In the past 48 hours three well-meaning families have already told my husband and myself that they love us, but we're wrong, citing pseudoscience printed out from the internet. And a few people in my extended family are taking this really, really hard. So it's not all sweet.
But still, a child gave my child two cookies, and I thank God for that.
*names have been changed.
The author lives in the southeastern U.S. When not driving a minivan full of children, she is active in various literacy initiatives in her community. She, her husband, and their two children attend a church affiliated with both the Alliance of Baptists and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Her story was first shared on the blog Serendipitydodah and its private Facebook group of the same name. The group was specifically created for open-minded Christian moms who have LGBTQ kids and want to develop and maintain healthy, loving, authentic relationships with their LGBTQ kids. The group is secret so that only members can find it or see what is posted in the group. It was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 1,100 members. For more information about Serendipitydodah, contact [email protected]