Finding out the sex of your baby is one of the most enamoring times of any pregnancy. Whether you’re one of those anxious parents who tries around 14 weeks to get a peek, or you wait until the moment he or she arrives into the world, knowing whether you’re raising a little princess or mini superhero is one of the proudest moments of many parents’ lives.
Based upon the sex of your child you begin to subconsciously create a life for them. For your baby girl it could be dreams of her becoming a famed ballerina, a la Misty Copeland. And for your baby boy it could be hoop dreams—maybe much like the ones Lebron James’ mother fantasized for her son. But as singer R. Kelly and his ex-wife Andrea Kelly are currently learning, now more than ever, parents are having to deal with the complicated task of raising homosexual and transgender children. And complicated is relative.
For some parents “complicated” means the struggle of accepting your little girl doesn’t feel true to herself in big bows, pink dresses and leopard print headbands. For others it’s trusting that their little boy can stick up for himself when bullies tease him for being too girly.
As Jaya Kelly, R. Kelly and Andrea’s son who now simply goes by Jay explains, he knew very early on that he did not identify with the female body and mold he was expected to fit. In a question and answer session on website Ask.fm, he knew he didn’t want to wear dresses, grow his hair long or have breasts or female sexual organs. And now, he has decided to have a life-changing operation, which will officially make him the boy he has always wanted to be.
“I believe I am a boy and want surgery and the medication to help me [be] who I was supposed to be.”
Jay explains that while he hasn’t heard from his baby-making-music-singer father since he made the announcement, his Hollywood Exes star mother has been there by his side supporting him every step of the way, “My mom was like, ‘Baby, you know I love you if you were bi, gay, lesbian, you name it and I would still love you so much.’”
And while there’s an initial shock once your child confirms that he or she is anything too much outside of the lines, parents must understand that “the lines” are what we make them; bounds are set to be pushed and limits are made to be broken. And as we instill in our children enough fearlessness to conquer the world and challenge life as we know it, we can’t limit that drive to one particular facet of their lives. We have to give our children the freedom to unashamedly be 100 percent their authentic selves.
If we, the person who birthed them, raised them, taught them and told them we are their number one fan, limit our support of their endeavors, decisions and ambitions only to things we agree with, we are limiting their potential and diminishing their value to the world.
Imagine a world where President Barack Obama’s mother disapproved of him attending law school and going into politics for fear that it might be too much pressure for her son. Or a world where Tina Knowles thought her daughters dreams of singing and dancing in front of thousands of spectating fans was a little too ambitious—get a medical degree just to have a Plan B, Beyoncé.
As parents, we must trust our children and be there to guide, advise and support them. That’s what they need us for. We weren’t entrusted with their lives to mold their spirit, we were, instead, given the gifts who are our children to be the first example of unconditional love and unwavering support. Teach them, guide them, love them, but most of all trust them. You’d be surprised how much you can learn from them.