The hosts of An American Conversation dove right into the nitty gritty of Jolene and Jeanette’s heart-wrenching stories in their 54th episode entitled Mothers Fight for their Children.
Jeanette, a staunch progressive and gender-nonconforming women herself, lost custody of her 13-year-old daughter when the child become trans-identified, said her mother was unsafe, and was assigned to live with her dad, with whom she also had a strained relationship. Jeanette was perplexed by the suddenness of this since she had previously worked with her daughter on LBGTQ issues. After a year of investigation, the court said Jeannette did not have “insight” into her child’s transgender identity, and until she does, she cannot see her child. The court also said Jeannette could not use her child’s birth name and if she continues to could be charged with child endangerment. In the end, Jeannette doesn’t blame her daughter for how any of this turned out and still calls her “the light of my life.”
Jolene always welcomed into her home all sorts of LGBTQ kids but was still completely befuddled when her 15-year-old son suddenly came out as a transwoman and lesbian with an immediate ask for estrogen. His older sister tried to guide their parents on “the correct things to do,” but Jolene insisted on doing her own research and came to question the affirmation-only approach. Two years later he says he’s non-binary and uses they/them pronouns. She does, with trepidation, call him by his chosen name, but is extremely wary of him going to college next year, where hormones are easily accessible.
Thank you to the hosts of An American Conversation for their open minds, for reminding parents to be the adults in their children’s lives, and for giving voice to these mothers.