When a T-Shirt Means EVERYTHING

I had the sheer luck of stumbling across this account during my early days on Instagram. I reached out to the owner and gushed about my obsession with his movement. He is running a page called “What Trans Looks Like” and it is dedicated to trans people and allies of all types sharing themselves in statement shirts that scream “WE ARE JUST LIKE YOU! WE ARE PEOPLE TOO!”

I loved everything about this from the minute I laid eyes on it. Not only is this man single-handedly running this little shop as a side gig, but he’s doing it to change the public’s perspective on transgender people and the overwhelming stereotype that has been perpetuated towards this community of people. Breaking the stigma of the “scary trans” person one t-shirt at a time. And doing it all with humility and overwhelming love of the community.

So when my son and I got a couple of these shirts it meant so much more to us than a piece of clothing. When my son opened his up and I explained what it said and where it came from, we scrolled the instagram feed together and he saw a string of faces, all different from his, but all the same. He saw that he’s not alone in the world as the only trans person. And at his young age, that’s a reminder he needs OFTEN. He learned that it is possible for him to one day look like a man with a beard or a mustache (although I didn’t exactly explain precise details on HOW just yet), instead of a boy with breasts.

My son got this t-shirt and he felt like he was understood. And he didn’t even know what the damn t-shirt said until I read it to him. If this doesn’t show you the power of community, support and affirmation… I don’t know what will.

My son wrote a letter to the maker of the magical t-shirt and it said, “I like being a boy because it makes me happy. When I was a girl, it made me REALLY REALLY sad. {my mom helped me write this}.”

We put on our new shirts and we posed for some photos. We had so much fun together knowing we were both doing something to make a difference in the world and to show people that just because you were born or look a certain way, doesn’t make you scary or weird. It just makes you different and unique.

Here is my post from when I shared our photo shoot on Instagram about how something as small as a shirt meant so much to me and especially my son:

Hey hey! When I first started this account I stumbled on this amazing movement @whattranslookslike shedding light on the trans community and full of photos of people brave enough to share and break through stereotypes of what it means to be transgender.

A lot of non-affirming sources on the Internet have this fixation on sexuality and gender being simultaneous and interchangeable but it doesn’t work that way. If you’ve ever read a well researched article on gender you would know that it’s something you can’t choose for someone else based on their biology. It’s more than your “parts” but also includes your expression and your mind. How you think, feel and present yourself. 

Gender is fluid. Which means it’s a spectrum of variations of how people identify. While some people identify as male or female, others identify as both or neither. AND. THAT. IS. OK. If you find the concept strange to you that doesn’t mean it’s non-existent. It just means that as you developed you did NOT question the gender you were assigned at birth. And guess what? THAT IS OK TOO.

But if you are someone who has questioned your gender you know, it can be scary. It can be lonely. It can be confusing and it can hurt. 

So if you’re like me and you’ve never felt anything but your assigned gender, let’s stand up and be allies together. Because being anything else means we are promoting someone else’s pain and suffering. And that’s never the right thing to do.

Love your trans friends and family and show them that every chance you get, because in many cases their life depends on YOU and those they love showing them that you support, love, and accept them just the way they are.

 

Go hug your trans friends, show them you love them. And find yourself your Ally shirt here at whattranslookslike.com

xoxo, Mom Transparenting

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