My Trans Daughter Is Not A ‘Liberal Ideology’

From Chatelaine:

The world is not as binary and unchangeable as was once believed. It’s time we listened and supported people who are transgender.

Amanda Jetté Knox
Dec 04, 2018

As I sit down to write this, my 16-year-old daughter is getting ready for school. The ease with which this is happening would leave most to believe this is a typical morning; simple actions repeated over many years.

But this is anything but typical for Alexis, and these actions, while simple, are steeped in courage. What it took to get her here — to leave home each day and enter a school where she feels both safe and welcome — was a years-long endeavour in education and understanding for those around her.

And now, much of that work may be coming undone — putting not only her well-being at risk, but that of thousands of other people across the province of Ontario.

My daughter is transgender. She told us in an email at 11 years old, bringing an end to unanswered questions we had for most of her childhood: Why was our middle kid increasingly anxious and depressed? Why was every day a challenge? Why was there such a reluctance to go to school?

When Alexis lived as a boy in an identity that didn’t fit, with a name and pronouns that felt all wrong, the entirety of her life was a struggle. Now that she trusted us enough to articulate it, we could do something to help. I didn’t know much about transgender issues, but I committed myself to learning. I stumbled over my ignorance and made plenty of mistakes, but I eventually grew into someone she considers one of her strongest allies.

That’s how it should be. That’s my job.

Having a transgender child gave me the opportunity to broaden my compassion and understanding well beyond my own personal experiences. Which helped when, just over a year later, the person I knew as my husband of 18 years told me she was also a woman. From my uncommon vantage point, I see the difference between the freedom a trans person can experience when they’re able to come out and find support at a young age, versus having to hide that truth well into adulthood. If a young trans person can be affirmed by their family and society at large, the outcomes are largely positive. Acceptance allows them to avoid much of the pain and struggle people transitioning later can face.

The progress made over decades by trans activists allowed for this societal shift to happen, we can now make space for young people to tell us who they are and subsequently affirm them.

But that’s what makes recent events so frightening. On November 17, 2018, the Ontario PC Party passed a resolution at their convention to open up the debate on gender identity. The resolution paints gender identity as a “highly controversial, unscientific ‘liberal ideology.’” If passed at next year’s convention, the resolution would enforce the removal of all “teaching and promotion of identity theory” from the Ontario curriculum and schools.

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