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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Mama Dragons Meeting - Learning about Transgender

I was able to attend my first Mama Dragon meeting and dinner. It was held at the home of a Transgender and 2 others - plus 3 Mama Dragons. It was wonderful getting together in support and love.

It's been a learning process for me to know all about LGBTQIA. There is so much to learn and the more I learn the bigger my heart becomes.

LGBTQIA stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Intersex and Allies

This is a great video of an LDS family with a transgender son. Please watch, it's beautiful on how the parents, family, bishop and ward reacted. Such a beautiful example of Christ Like love. 

I enjoyed getting to know these beautiful Transgender women. I was honored to hear their stories and answer questions they had about my belief. I'm not going to share their stories, other then to say they are very courageous to live the gender of the spirit that came to earth in the wrong body.

One of the women was raised in the LDS community. She has some real tender feelings on how she's been treated by family and home teachers. I can tell that the separation she feels is quite hard. I encouraged her to send the video about Neca and Grayson (above) to her sister and hope that it can change her heart in a loving way.

I love being a Mama Dragon and showing love and support to these beautiful spirits.

I'd like to share another story from an LDS mother and her Transgender child in hopes to share some insight in raising an LGBTQIA child.  There are so many precious stories on Mama Dragon Story Project here: 
I was raised in what seemed to be a typical LDS family in the Mesa/Tempe area of Arizona. I was the oldest of five girls and my family attended church just about every Sunday. When I was fourteen our lives were turned upside-down due to my parent’s divorce. At that point In my life I felt like I needed the church more than ever, and I promised myself that I would have a celestial family of my own some day. I believed in the promise of a celestial family, and felt like the church provided the consistency I needed to survive emotionally through my own families trials.

My husband and I were high school sweethearts who managed to survive a long distance relationship while we were in college. We were married right out of college and started working on our family just a year later. Over the next ten years we had five beautiful children all Born In the Covenant and life was good.

When my fourth child turned three years old things really started to change for our family. My precious baby girl seemed to be so unhappy at times, and would often say things like, “I hate Myself” or “I’m ugly”. She would cry and complain about her clothes and seemed to be increasingly uncomfortable with girlish things. My husband and I hoped that she would eventually outgrow her self-image issues, but things only got worse as the years went by.

One day after a primary lesson about the pre-existence. She jumped in the car, and before the car door was even closed she said, “Mom…why did Heavenly Father give me a girl body when my spirit is a boy?” I was speechless, and I found myself holding back tears with no explanation. I remember this moment so clearly because it was a turning point for me as a mother.

At that point I realized that this was something my child would not be growing out of any time soon. My husband and I sprung into action trying to find research that could help us help our child. We began allowing her to wear boy clothes with Sunday as the exception, and did our best to use the proper pronouns. One Sunday she was moping around the house trying to avoid wearing a dress and my husband just couldn’t take it anymore so he said, “God doesn’t care what you wear to church. Go upstairs and get your brother's suit on.”

The smile on his face lit us all up with happiness and his countenance completely changed. We both knew there was no turning back. We praised him for his courage, but warned him that people at church might not be as accepting of his clothing. Nevertheless his determination to be himself clearly outweighed his fear of being judged. As we approached the doors of the church building I could hear his little voice saying, “Be can do this.” Over and over again. I remember feeling proud, afraid, happy, and sad all at the same time.

That day was a family victory, but a few weeks later an incident with the primary president forced us to address the issue with our Bishop. My husband naively assumed that this was something he could easily explain to the ward, and he asked the Bishop if he could speak in church. The Bishop was cordial with us, but declined the offer to speak saying it would be a distraction. He then told us that he could not allow anyone in the ward to use the pronoun (he) while addressing our child in church. 

That is the moment when things got very bad for me and the church.

My child being transgender was never a problem for me personally. I never felt like there was anything wrong with him. However, I distinctly remember being terrified of him being mistreated by people who just couldn’t understand who he was. I thought about his friends, his school, the church, and the people around us in our neighborhood. It was my job to keep him safe and happy. I felt like I needed to wrap him up with love to protect him. How would they treat him? Would he be accepted? I felt crushed by the weight of those questions, and I realized that this decision would affect our entire family.

When it came to the church there was no way I could allow my child to return to what I felt was a hostile environment. Several adults had already made comments to him, and I felt like it was dangerous for him to be there. I just wasn’t willing to let anyone teach him that god wouldn’t accept him as he was. I honestly felt like I was being forced to choose between my faith and my child. For me there was no choice, and it hurt like Hell to see that the church wasn’t behind us protecting my child. I felt like my family was under attack by the same community I had looked to for protection. The same community we had loved, counseled, and served with year after year.

The Family, A Proclamation To the World was the only church document that was ever framed, and hung on the walls of our home. That document was used by the Stake President and the Bishop to explain why we shouldn’t allow our child to live as a boy. I was devastated and I felt completely lost at times. 

For the first time in my life I felt a large separation from the church, and it was almost too real at times. I remember falling to the ground and telling God that I didn’t even know who I was supposed to be anymore. I can honestly say that those were some of the hardest times of my life.
As time went by the fruits of our family decision began to pay off, and I felt like I was finally able to catch my breath. Then one afternoon something touched me in a way that I had never been touched before. I felt surrounded by love and understanding in a room where no one else was around. My heart was comforted and I felt calm first the first time in a long while. I had the overwhelming feeling that my child had been sent to me for a reason, and that it was my job help him fulfill his purpose whether the church was behind me or not.

I realized that we allowed our sons spirit to blossom by accepting who he really was. It was his courage that picked me up when it was down, and it is his happiness that drives me forward now. The most beautiful part of it all is that my son knows I chose him!

Becky Jackson
Mesa, Arizona


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