“As a parent I had a dilemma. I knew how complicated the world was, so in a way I wanted to slow it down. But on the other hand, I also wanted my kids to be themselves in everything.” Willemian, 48, is a mother of four, ages 27 to 17. Two of her children are transgender and one of her children is non-binary. In recent years, she and her children have been looking for a way to make this happen.
When Willemian’s marriage ended seven years ago, she had a lot on her plate. She has to look for a new home, and the church she grew up in is reacting negatively to her divorce and her mother just passing away. During that period, her eldest son was in bad shape. Like other Willemian children, he has autism and was depressed at an early age. When he tells Willemian he feels like a girl, the puzzle pieces fall into place.
“I was still in the rubble of my life when he told me this, but the puzzle pieces fell into place. He hadn’t been happy for a long time and was suicidal. I was taught in church that being transgender was not good. I didn’t know anything about it and just thought: How am I going to do it?” Is this in my family? I prayed a lot and asked God what to do. I also talked to my son a lot. When asked how he felt, how he noticed it, and what he wanted to do with it,” says Willemian.
Together they decided that he would start a course with a therapist from a sex clinic. Although it feels good for him to talk to someone, he doesn’t finish the process. The damage caused by admission to psychiatry has not yet healed enough to be able to continue. Willemian says of this: “He was afraid he wouldn’t be able to go through with the operation, so he deliberately stopped doing it. It’s very clear to him: He’s a woman at heart. That’s enough for now. On the surface, he hasn’t yet felt the need to tell or show.” That. I just call him ‘him’ and by his boy name. In the online world, he’s female. That’s where his life revolves and there are people who understand him.”
Panic of body change
The youngest of two children at Willemian are identical twinsAnd the Two girls were born. Lotte* and Sarah. The experience with Wilmaine’s oldest child makes her realize there’s more going on with Lotte, too. The twins went to a school where wearing skirts was part of the rules. Lotte has really made a point on that in the long run. when is (Although he was born with the appearance of a girl, he always felt like a boy, so we talk about him as “he”, ed.). When he was nine years old, he told more and more that he was a boy. As a parent I was in trouble. I knew how complex the world could be, so I wanted to somehow slow it down. But on the other hand, I also wanted my children to be themselves in everything.
Lotte’s feelings get stronger as puberty goes on. Willemian says, “Lotte panicked. It made no sense at all. Menstruation, a changing body, when he felt like every boy. He hated his body because it didn’t fit his identity image. Lotte got stuck and came home exhausted.”
The grieving process
Living within the Willemian family, Lotte is now fully a boy and has adopted the name Floris. The transition is one of grief for Willemian, but also for Flores’ twin sister. “We were at the hairdresser once and when Flores decided to cut his hair off completely. He and his twin sister were crying so hard. Suddenly it turned out that he was no longer Sarah’s twin sister, but her twin brother. It’s a grieving process. You’re really missing something. I gave him a name when he was born, I named him after my sister. I had to let go and that was hard, but in the end I just wanted to be there for my baby.”
How important this acceptance is to Floris is shown when she presents him with a bracelet bearing his new name for Sinterklaas. “He was so happy about it. And it was right in front of my eyes. It was a turning point where I realized I wanted to fight with him to be who he was deep down. This year his new name will appear on the Christmas card for the first time. This is a milestone for us.”
Tell family and friends
Although Willemian’s son was already a boy within their family, family and friends did not know anything until recently. “I felt ready to tell the family, but the man was nervous. Flores asked me: ‘What if they say we can’t come anymore?’ Then I said: Then I choose you. Fortunately, it turned out 100 percent.”
Willemian’s friends and family react differently, but certainly not lightly. “I notice that it’s difficult for people. They ignore the topic and don’t quite know what to do with it. Or fill in how it comes. Because of autism or upbringing or divorce. At first I wanted to explain and defend a lot, but now I realize people are still in the dark,” says Willemian. The beginning of their knowledge and that we have already advanced.”
Journey with God
For Willemian, the journey she takes was, and still is, with God. “My middle child told me she is not binary. She does not identify as female or male. This still eludes me. I have asked God so many questions. But there was no answer other than ‘I love them unconditionally.’ God loves us unconditionally, too. A restriction or condition, and by doing the same for our children, we reverse it.”
Tips for other parents and the environment
Willemian’s environment also has questions about how to reconcile her children’s gender identity with her faith. “I have these questions myself. I ask those around me – and this is also my advice to the readers of this article – to keep looking at the child and who that child is. God created my children and we all as Christians agree that he doesn’t make a mess. How can I not have an answer when I don’t have to?” “. Do not ignore the topic, but ask questions: how did you experience it, what are you struggling with? So you start a conversation. It would not happen if you immediately came up with your own views. ”
Willemian likes to give advice to other parents and their environment who are facing the same process. “Try to be there for your child unconditionally, because that is the source of loving advice. Stay close to God, that is the source of your strength. And seek professional help. Before you take a step into a sex clinic, there are already therapists out there who can help you understand More about what’s going on.
Would you like to contact Willemien, for example because you are in a similar situation? Please contact the editors at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*In regards to privacy, Willmain’s children’s names have been changed.