In the past year or so, I’ve been witnessing how pronouns literally change a person. I have witnessed this in my travels, and I have witnessed this in my home. I have two children, one of which had been struggling to find their inner voice, how they self identify, and where is their place in this world. Then one day, they decided to be identified by the pronouns he, him, his. And asked to be called a different name. The name was similar to their birth name, but now could be interpreted as masculine. After he shared this at home, he began advocating for himself with his friends and at gatherings of people who have known him for years. Then, as the world around him began acknowledging his request, there was less depression. There were more smiles. There was more laughter. There was more self expression. As the world outside acknowledged how he felt inside, there was more visible joy in his life. To love your child, to acknowledge that inner voice, to watch that human being blossom. To watch them feel ‘seen’. To witness this person unabashedly become themselves. As a parent, what a gift to behold.
The other night, at bedtime, I heard a voice quietly call out for me. He was ok, he just had one more request, “can you call me a boy” he asked. I smiled, gave him a hug goodnight, and quietly said “goodnight beautiful boy”.