Being transgender at seven-years-old can certainly cause much controversy. However, ever since Crystal was three-years-old, she has always said, “When I grow up and I’m a girl…” It was explained to her that Mommy was always a girl and Daddy was always a boy and she would think about it and then say, “Well when I grow up and I’m a girl…” So her mom went with the flow. Crystal’s mom watched for signs of her being transgender or homosexual or simply just experimenting.
Born Isaiah Mikel, Crystal has always been different. As Isaiah, he seemed happy and shy. Always glued to Mom. Then in June, it was decided that it was time for Crystal to go public as transgender. Crystal’s mom was informed that being seven and transgender was common because children know when they are in the right gender or the right clothes instinctively. The next few months were amazing. Crystal transferred into an entirely new child. She was confident, outgoing and outspoken. She did things Isaiah would never have done. All her mom had done was change her wardrobe and name, how could those little things change so much about her? To Crystal she was not transgender, she was free.
However, with Crystal’s debut as transgender came questions and comments that her mom was not prepared for. How can a seven-year-old be transgender? How can you allow your son to dress as a girl? How would a seven-year-old know if they felt they were the right gender? They do not understand enough to make that choice. You should make him be a boy because that’s how God made him. You are sending your child to hell. God loves those who are transgender too.
Crystal’s mom did not have all the answers. She did not full understand entirely herself what being transgender meant either. She was smart enough to shield Crystal from people’s negativity. Her mom still just let Crystal be who she was and followed her lead. Crystal knew that if at the last minute she wanted to be Isaiah again, or at any moment change her mind, that was an option. That was not what Crystal wanted. Crystal wanted to be a girl. Crystal was transgender. When Crystal was asked what was different from being Isaiah to being Crystal, she said, “I am comfortable. I am me.”
Crystal’s mom was advised to change school districts, but opted not to. Her family had received a lot of support from the school district over the years and Crystal’s mom thought coming out as transgender and having to make new friends would be too much stress on anyone, especially a child coming out as her true gender.
The school officials were fabulous. The principal and previous teachers already knew that Isaiah had feminine tendencies so there was no surprise. It was agreed without argument that all of Crystal’s things in the classroom would say, “Crystal,” except for legal documents like report cards and permission slips. It was also agreed that Crystal would be able to use the girls’ bathroom. Crystal’s mom also recommended a children’s book to Crystal’s teacher to handle questions classmates may have about Crystal’s transformation, or being transgender.
It was decided that a letter should be sent out to parents. The letter stated that children might know this child as a boy but this child would be dressing and acting more feminine now. The letter also stated that the children would probably dismiss it or take a couple days to get use to the name change but it would be the parents who would have the issues and should be careful about comments made in front of their children about her being transgender. It also gave a little information about being transgender so young. The LGBT community was also supportive.
Over the summer, Crystal had developed a catch phrase for herself, “It’s not that big a deal.” This was her way of dealing with those who would not call her Crystal or acknowledge she was transgender. Her family and friends were very supportive but all were concerned about the first day of school. As Isaiah, he had a bully on the bus that would often threaten and make fun of him. Crystal’s mom was not sure how this bully would react to “Isaiah” in a dress”. Transgender is not something a fifth grader understands.
The first day of school arrived and Crystal’s mom got a lot of negative comments about her child being in a dress. About her child being transgender, different, but she was strong, better her than Crystal. Crystal’s mom waited all day for her three children to come home to see how the day went for all of them. When the kids got home, none of them were more excited than Crystal. Crystal said her bully met her on the bus and said, “Why are you wearing a dress?” Crystal responded with her brand new confidence and attitude with, “I can wear whatever I want. It’s not that big a deal.” After that her bully had nothing to say. About a month later, the bully even apologized and now calls her Crystal.
Crystal is now almost eight and is still transgender. She is the happiest that she has ever been. She is not getting into trouble in class. Her grades are amazing, but mostly, Crystal is amazing and still often states to those who oppose her, “It’s not that big a deal.”
By Jeanette Smith
Photo courtesy of Nedra – License
Photo courtesy of Moyan Brenn – License