A few years into our journey with our transgender son, we decided he needed affirming medical care. To start with, I wanted to make sure he had a pediatrician that would treat him respectfully. We had been going to the same pediatrician since he was a newborn. That pediatrician had retired by the time my son was ready to transition. However, the remnants of his practice that had always made me uncomfortable were still there. There were Bible verses on the walls. There were children’s books explaining creationism and how the existence of dinosaurs fit into that story. I had always used our trips to the pediatrician’s office as opportunities to discuss growing up in the southern Bible belt. We talked openly about creationism and how hard the books in the pediatrician’s office tried to explain away evidence of evolution. I talked about how even though I was Christian, I was uncomfortable with the constant references to Jesus on the walls around us because I knew that Christians often used their beliefs as weapons.

When my child came out as gay and later transgender, suddenly, the constant attacks on LGBTQ+ people became much more personal. Even though the pediatrician who put all those biblical verses on the walls had retired and we had a new doctor, the Bible verses remained and so my discomfort increased. We told the new pediatrician that my son was transgender, and she immediately began using the correct name and pronouns. However, I started having issues with the office staff, who were very rude when I would correct them over the phone and ask them to use the correct name and pronouns. I went to a parent meeting at the local pride center and asked other parents which pediatrician we should see. I found out there was a local practice that was affirming and treated LGBTQ+ youth with respect. We had no trouble getting in, and the doctor was great. There were jungle murals on the walls and pictures from cartoons in the patient rooms. That was a big improvement.

The doctor wasn’t very knowledgeable about affirming care, but he recommended that we go ahead and start my son on hormone replacement therapy. We had previously planned to wait until he was 18. The doctor thought it would be good for my son to spend the rest of his teenage years growing into a young man’s body. He told us his jawline would change, his voice would deepen, and he would have more hair growth. The pediatrician knew of one local endocrinologist who provided affirming medical care, but he recommended we head to the big city for someone with more experience. The doctor he recommended in San Antonio was no longer practicing. So I decided to call the San Antonio Pride Center for a recommendation. They told me most parents took their kids to the Children’s Health Center in Dallas. The Genecis program in Dallas specializes in affirming care for transgender youth. Since we were nervous about our son starting testosterone, we decided to call Genecis and set up an appointment. They were wonderful and answered all our questions. They provided counseling and walked us through the whole process. They made sure our son really wanted HRT and met with him individually. It was a good experience. Genecis helped us soo much. I felt like my son was in good hands. We were so impressed with Genecis that we didn’t mind driving hundreds of miles to get the care our son needed.

We did not tell people why we made occasional trips to Dallas. It wasn’t their business anyway. Medical care for minor children is between a family and their doctor. Later, when Texas legislators began attacking access to affirming medical care, my stomach turned. How could they possibly take life-saving healthcare away from our children? How could they restrict parents’ rights to get their own children needed care? I don’t know any parents who rush out to get hormone replacement therapy for their trans children. It’s only something they do after much thought, with the guidance of medical professionals, and after their children spend time exploring their gender identity with a therapist. When politicians in Texas tried to criminalize affirming medical care and affirming parents, we ended up testifying. Those bills did not pass, but a bill banning transgender children from sports did pass. I am sure politicians will attack transgender children during the next legislative session. Families like ours have the right to get their children needed medical care, without interference from politicians. We should also not have to talk about private family matters in a public forum, but silence is also not possible.

I know getting our son affirming medical care was the right thing to do. I know because he is thriving. Our son is a senior in high school and has big plans for the future. It’s important to remember that the journey is not the same for every transgender child, but the goal is. The goal is to have a healthy, happy trans child ready to take on the world when they officially become adults. Thankfully, we have reached that point. I am hopeful for the future and excited to see where life takes my son.

Rainbow Advice

I'm the parent of LGBTQ+ children and I want to empower other parents to advocate for their children. If you can't find an answer on this site, please email me at admin@rainbowadvice.com. I will try to locate helpful resources for you.