Children Through A Transgirl’s Eyes

Last night, I spent some time with a couple that I am friends with and met their young daughter. It was the first time in a long time I’ve had any prolonged interaction with a child. It was a lot of fun, seeing how full of energy the young girl was, jumping around, smiling, playing with her toys, wanting to join in the adults’ conversation. Something about being around such innocence and optimism can be a truly amazing experience, though for me, it was also intensely melancholy. It dawned upon me that this probably isn’t now most adults react, but being transgender complicates what should be relatively simple.

As a note, I’m not going to talk about my childhood or anything like that, but a typical response to a transgender person interacting with a kid. My personal story is for another day.

Seeing a young child can often be a bittersweet experience for a transgender person, especially when that child is born into your chosen gender. Ever since transition, my immediate reaction to seeing a child seeming so happy is envy. On some level, many trans people feel almost jealous of cisgendered people who got to experience childhood in what later became their chosen gender. Things as simple as getting to wear dresses, play with dolls, or even take the role of mommy when playing house, these are the things a typical transgender woman do not have, even if we desperately wished we could. Many transgender people feel as if they were robbed of their childhood, a period that should be blissful and happy. We never had our mothers teach us how to brush our hair or what to wear, or the feeling of being our father’s princess. And its something you can never get back.

Thats not to say we all hate our childhood, or are angry at kids who are lucky enough to be born into bodies that will match their gender identity. Even if we did not have that, many trans people had very happy childhoods, and even if it wasn’t happy, it shaped us into who we are today. While it is alright to reflect on what could have been, its important not to get caught up in regret, which happens with unfortunate frequency for many transgender people.

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