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.(http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CD4QFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Ftransequality.org%2FPDFs%2FNCTE_Suicide_Prevention.pdf&ei=ZgW0UMGEOtC80AHeloCgAQ&usg=AFQjCNGi1HZcLY40Ou_pzahQikvU0Ox09w) This figure represents an outrageously high number. Imagine how this percentage would plunge if people were nearly as accepting as Andy’s mother.