On the occasion of the world day against homophobia, transphobia and biphobia on May 17, a mother and her transgender daughter told us about their relationship, between support, cooperation, and commitment for more tolerance.
It’s a story that seems to have many, and always will. It was of a young woman who was destined to be a man at birth, who had conquered her being. Thaïs 19, her mother Elodie 49, and two years later first came out as a transgender woman.
It all started with a disease of youth: “I never felt good about myself, and it was especially emphasized in college”said the Thais, “But at that time, in our education, we weren’t told about anything LGBT, gender identity, sexual orientation …” The young woman then began to learn, she researched gender issues to better understand herself. “I went through two stages: at first I thought I wasn’t binary, so I asked my friends that I was gender neutral, and that was good …he said with a big smile.
There’s something, there’s something in her, but I don’t know what.
At first, her mother was worried, especially in the dark, even at the thought of her daughter’s suicide. She realizes that her daughter is not well, not understanding the source of her suffering: “I think it’s because of bullying, being overweight, not integrating into college …”he regrets, “I really like the LGBT cause, but I have no doubts about the Thai personality.”
At the end of the first confinement, in May 2020, Thais had just turned 18, and he decided to give himself to his mother, via a long letter sent from his phone: “That night I wrote a big letter, talking about gender dysphoria, trans, everything I feel”as he said, “I’m tired of hiding, I told myself that now, if I don’t regret it later. » Elodie received this message about three in the morning and, somewhat stunned, tried to understand the meaning of each term used to better understand her daughter: “I have to go to find out, so at night I am on my phone to find out what is in his message because for me he is asleep.»
The next day, the two women have a long conversation, and when Thais comes out of it more easily, his mother first asks herself a number of questions, with a specific guilt: “What I miss about me, as a mother, is my education, and what I miss about the calls she makes to me, at some point and I completely ignore it.»
Of course, the mother and daughter developed and adapted. Thais began her transition, took hormone treatment, and grew her hair. Elodie, for her part, tried to find, and incorporate her son’s new name into their exchanges: “To begin with, it is necessary to completely remove his” dead name “from my vocabulary because sometimes it still comes out.»
In contacting her daughter, Elodie gradually discovered the entire lexicon, such as “gender dysphoria”*, the “dead name”*, or even “misgendering”*. She also faces a reality she doesn’t yet know: the suffering of children and teenagers in the same situation as her daughter, and the intolerance that still exists in society to in the LGBTQIA + community. “I don’t think, before becoming more deeply interested in it, that there are a lot of people committing suicide because of that, it’s something that scares me compared to the Thais.»
The two women also offered themselves a fresh start by leaving the Paris region to settle in the agglomeration of Poitiers, at the beginning of the year.
I introduced Thai to my daughter. When people come, neighbors come, he’s my son.
There, Elodie approached associations, to get support, advice, and find a welcoming community: “The first time I went to the LGBTI association in Poitiers was to talk to parents, to try to understand what needs to be done, what I can do best for the partner, to make him feel better”, he said. After the first visit, Thais also went to meet other members of the association and share his experience: “For me for two years it was the dream life, it was complicated for some people but everything was better, especially now, with the body going and following the level of the woman”he was delighted.
The mother and daughter always had a close relationship, and discovered Poitiers and its surroundings. Precious moments dedicated to their new life: “We go shopping together, or at the restaurant, and that’s nice than when we say ‘hello ladies'” of Elodie smiling. For her, her daughter’s move has hardly changed: “My philosophy of life is that everyone has the right to do what they want, what they want, as long as they’re happy and I don’t bother. »
I don’t understand people who are transphobic, homophobic, etc. I don’t understand why we are up against someone who has finally felt joy inside.Thais, young transgender woman
There remains a concern shared by the two women: the professional future of Thais. The young woman was looking for a job-study job to become an assistant in the medico-social sector, but was afraid to look at others while waiting for her voice to calm down and become more feminine, thanks to speech therapist sessions.
In this day of the world against homophobia, transphobia and biphobia, the two women are still hoping for efforts from public authorities to simplify the journey of transgender people: if Thais are able to change her name in state civil, he is still waiting for his case to progress to officially change his gender.
Their hopes also focus on the evolution of mentalities, and on a change in society’s view of the LGBTQIA+ community: “Just because you’re a transgender or gay person doesn’t mean you’re no longer the same person, my preferences haven’t changed much, I’m not a monster, I’m human” meaning in Thai. “I can’t understand why we’re up against someone who finally feels joy inside. »
This Saturday, May 21, the mother and son will travel to Poitiers for their first Pride March.
* A little vocabulary …
LGBTQIA+: this acronym refers to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual people, and covers the spectrum of sexual orientations and gender identity.
A transgender person: a person whose sex work at birth is different from their birth.
A non -binary person: a person whose gender identity or expression is neither male nor female (exclusively or not).
A cisgender person: a person whose sex assignment at birth is consistent with their gender identity.
Exit: voluntary disclosure of homosexuality or gender identity.
Gender dysphoria: difficulty experienced by a transgender person due to the mismatch between their assigned gender and their gender identity.
Megender: assigning a gender to a person which is unknown to the person.
Dead name: birth name. It should not be used by a transgender person who changes their name.