Love through Acceptance

I would like to share a most touching story.  It is an article about a transgender woman, Andy Marra, coming out to her birth mother.  Andy was adopted by an American family but always wanted to find her Korean family.  She felt she needed to meet them as a final step before her transition.  Miraculously, Andy was able to locate them, and she quickly bonded with her family despite language and cultural barriers.  She initially concealed her true identity, however, as she feared rejection if she came out to her birth mother as a female.  Towards the end of her trip, Andy decided to tell the truth to her mother, who sensed something was troubling Andy.  Her mother’s response was: “You are beautiful and precious. I thought I gave birth to a son, but it is OK. I have a daughter instead.”  I believe this interaction captures true love through acceptance.  Imagine if we all responded in this way to those who do not fit societal norms.

Since I work in a psychology lab, which studies suicidal adolescents, I have become very interested in different statistics on suicide.  According to a 2010 study, 41% of transgender individuals attempt suicide, as compared to only 1.6% of the population attempting suicide in their lifetime.(  This figure represents an outrageously high number.  Imagine how this percentage would plunge if people were nearly as accepting as Andy’s mother.

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1 Response to Love through Acceptance

  1. shivanis1 says:

    I think this story highlights the effect individuals have on each other. As we see in society everyday, the stereotypes surrounding LGBTQ people and the shame some associate with their identities can force them into hiding and injure their self-esteem and life in many other ways. Andy Marra was only able to start her journey as a transgender woman because of the support given to her by her American family, and then she was only able to continue it because of her Korean family. The idea of love, in this case unconditional love even for a child unseen since birth, is a very strong one. As you say, such love and the acceptance springing from it could allow for the reduction of suicide rates, and extrapolating from this probably depression rates, amongst transgender individuals. By accepting and aiding LGBTQ individuals of all affiliations, people who know them can help the LGBTQ community at large. It is only if individuals make these decisions to love, accept, and aid that society as a whole will start critically examining its stereotypes. It is only if the acceptance given to transgender individuals is discussed and celebrated, as in this article, that society can start to shift its perceptions, so that LGBTQ identities are not associated with shame but with love for one’s self.

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