Feelings of guilt and confusion instantly flooded Jessie’s mind when she learned the news.
“I think maybe a year before she came out, I started to suspect something is not exactly right,” recalls Jessie, a mom of two. “She grew apart from her male friends. In ninth grade, she’s starting to grow distanced from the boys and she had a lot of girls as friends. And that is the period of time and I did really started to notice that she has a lot of feminine habits,” she says.
Jessie and her husband’s second child was born a boy. They named him Kevin.
“The first thing that comes to me is, is it something I did? Like when I raised her for 15 years did I do anything that causes this,” continues Jessie.
From age 11 to 15, Kevin, soft-spoken and studious, undertook a profound process of self-discovery. For four years, he searched by himself for answers, knowing something wasn’t right.
“I think during that time, it was more of something in the back of my mind, or something that I more or less knew,” says the now 16-year-old.
“But I didn’t really see a good way to do anything about that for the longest time. So I more or less just kept it inside. I think for the most part, what I was reading was more informational. What does this mean? What are the next steps? I learned a lot about myself during that period.”
Kevin also came to discover he was transgender (trans).
According to the American Psychological Society’s website, “Transgender is an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth. Gender identity refers to a person’s internal sense of being male, female or something else; gender expression refers to the way a person communicates gender identity to others through behavior, clothing, hairstyles, voice or body characteristics. “Trans” is sometimes used as shorthand for “transgender.”
As Kevin’s journey evolved, she has come to be known as Rose.
During an interview with Lianne Castelino of Where Parents Talk, Jessie and Rose detail their individual journeys and that of their family — accepting and adapting to life with a trans teen.
– How the family was told their child was transgender
– The family’s reaction to this news
– How and where they sought support
– Dealing with fear and worry
– Struggles with an eating disorder
– The impact of the Pediatric and Adolescent Gender Clinic at Stanford Health on Jessie’s journey
– Cultural and other challenges they faced and are addressing
– The future journey
Watch the full video interview with Rose and Jessie:
Click for video transcription
Pediatric and Adolescent Gender Clinic, Stanford Health
Video interview with Dr. Tandy Aye, pediatric endocrinologist at Stanford Health, and one of Rose’ doctors