And now, on a more personal note... December 08 2015

 A few weeks ago, my fourth-grader came into the living room and announced,

"Mom. Erik. I'm not a girl. I'm a boy. I'd like everyone to call me Allyn and use male pronouns."

Erik and I paused in our tea work, looked at each other, and just said "Okay, cool."

This is not the first time my son has come out as transgender. In first grade he went by Benjamin for a couple weeks before deciding the bullying and confusion weren't worth asking to have his preferences respected. Since then, he's confided in me that he's always felt like a boy. Benji was not an experiment. Now, three years later, my child has finally built up the confidence to come out. It's been a bit of an adjustment for everyone, as we expected it to be. Many of our extended family members are reeling and having a very difficult time wrapping their brains around it. Frustrating for Allyn, but understandable so shortly after such a big announcement.

We're fortunate enough to have been placed into an excellent school. Small classes, close parent-teacher-child relationships, excellent staff, great kids. Allyn's school counselor called a meeting with the two of us as well as his homeroom teacher and a lady from the district office who specializes in helping children navigate confusing gender identity crises. Allyn was allowed to take charge and decide how he wanted to go about coming out at school. He and his teacher gave a short, simple speech to the class about the new name and pronouns and discussed ways to be a good ally to a transgender classmate and friend. That day, I received the following email from Allyn's teacher:

Obviously I cried. Like, a lot.
When kiddo got home from school, he was carrying the book of letters written by his friends. I read them all aloud and wept like a friggin baby. Like an inconsolable, open-mouth-wailing baby. They're beautiful!

 Some are so sincere and sweet...

Some are aggressively supportive...

And some are just so damn perky and enthusiastic!

We are beyond grateful to have such a supportive community for our little guy. So many places, it wouldn't even be safe for Allyn to talk about who he is, much less be fully out about it. As parents, the reaction Allyn has received is the best any of us can hope for. Kiddo is happy. Kiddo gets to be himself. Kiddo has support and a safe environment to continue just being a kid. And yes, I'm totally crying again. I'm not even embarrassed. Just grateful and proud of my son.

You do you, TeaBoy.