Rejected By Your Family? Go Get a New One!
It’s NOT an unusual story to be shunned by your family when you tell them that you are transgender. The very concept is just so impossible to comprehend that unfortunately, they think you must be wrong and have turned your back on God. They beg you to pray, they have their Pastor pray for you, NOTHING you say really gets listened to – and when you decide to live out your life as the person you really are they reject you. They kick you out of the house or perhaps refuse to see you ever again – in my case my parents and brothers have never seen me since I transitioned 25 years ago.
But the loss of your biological family doesn’t mean you don’t have to be without a family. Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase “friends are the family you choose”. Well, that’s exactly what you do, you BUILD your family. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean everybody you know. I have some awesome and amazing friends, and a subset of those friends are what I would term my “family”. It doesn’t mean that these are “better” friends than others, it’s more about the role they play in your life. The wonderful thing about “building” your family is that it’s a two-way street. Not only do you get to choose them, but they are choosing you. I met my “sister” Andrea fifteen years ago. I would do ANYTHING for her. If she called and needed help, I would be there no questions asked. I can call her and tell her anything. We may go months without talking, but that doesn’t matter – we’re family. My “brother” is a dear friend and in fact his whole family has pretty much adopted me. He sometimes leans on me and sometimes I lean on him. We support each other especially when we’re down. He’s also rather protective over me – and advance notice to any potential boyfriends, he has several guns and knows how to use them (c’mon, it’s Texas after all.)
You need to be OPEN to building a family, and it doesn’t happen overnight. Just hanging out with people LIKE you isn’t necessarily your family. Families are diverse. My best friend has a set of twins, a boy and a girl and they’re VERY different, and both are different than their big sister. It’s OK to tell God you’re lonely. It’s OK to ask him to bring people into your life that will both love you unconditionally and also tell you the truth when you need to hear it – whether you might like it or not. My “brother” came into my life about seven years ago, the brother part about six. My spiritual mom came into my life around fifteen years ago, but she really didn’t become my “spiritual mom” until just the last couple of years (took me that long to figure out I needed one.) They may be people you already know, they may be people at your church or perhaps they are friends who go to another church. They may live in your town or they may be cross country. My brother is here in Austin, my sister and my spiritual mom are in California. It works. We have so much technology at our disposal staying in touch and connected is not a problem. We have Skype and Facetime to be able to see each other. The only thing missing are the hugs, and when the special opportunities present themselves allowing us to actually be in the same room, hugs are plentiful.
That was beautiful. Full of hope and encouragement. You can’t take the hurt out of being rejected by your family of origin but it doesn’t have to mean that you have to stay in that for the rest of your life. Chosen families can be even better actually!!!