Trans Children and the 8th Corporal Act of Mercy
I am about to write about religion on the Skepchick site. Seriously, the other redhead in this joint should kick me out while she still can. I am a Catholic. On the Skepchicks. If you keep reading, it’s at your own spiritual peril. You have been warned.
I have come to call this time of night my “ghost hours.” Everyone is in bed, asleep. I have had insomnia for at least 30 years. Little I inherited his insomnia from me and I would sometimes come downstairs in the middle of the night to find him on the couch. We’d make wings or mozzarella sticks, or I would just chide him for still being awake. I’m still in my spot. His spot is empty. These are my ghost hours. I am just haunting this room.
Today I managed to go to church because a friend told me she’d meet me there. That’s my Achilles heel. I am unable to refuse things that get on my calendar, or when I have made a commitment to be somewhere to someone I treasure. She stayed with me for 30 minutes after mass and I think I unloaded my entire brain onto her. We talked about my birth control. As Catholic women, she pointed out to my husband Strange, we are obligated to discuss reproduction when we meet. But, we also discussed purpose. We are deep into the first week of Lent and I know what is coming at the end. Our Blessed Mother is going to lose and bury her son. I told her that I don’t always understand the church, but I understand that. What I don’t understand is what came after.
People are telling me to “take a leave.” Work through my feelings. Sitting with the bereaved is the 8th Corporal Act of Mercy. I am convinced we need an addendum. I saw her sitting with me. It takes physical effort.
My friend asked me if I had felt Little I or had any sense of him, since his death. I told her my feelings for him were the surest thing in my heart. I knew he was wrapped in the arms of the Mother I had aspired to be. I also told her that I knew that her mother had prayed for me because I felt it. I can’t tell you how I knew that except that it is a feeling that came to me. It is the one thing that grants me comfort.
Seven Sundays after her son’s death, tongues of fire came to Mary on Pentecost, allowing her to spread His good news. She didn’t mourn for long. Our Lord left her with a purpose. She didn’t spread the news of His tragic death, she spread the miracle of His life and love. As someone who had experienced the darkest of hours, she was allowed to bring a message of hope to the world.
I prayed to our Blessed Mother when I knew I would be a mother, for help and inspiration. Why would I not pray to her to figure out how to deal with losing one of the most precious miracles you have been given?
So, now let’s speak of miracles.
Two things happened this week that have contributed to my ghost hours. First, my academic society tried to be “fun” and released a survey about their future meeting and what people want. They asked questions about fashion and dress codes. I love shoes. Should be right up my alley, right?
Until you codify it.
People start to contact you. What do you think about this? Do you endorse this? You are a visible member of leadership and have recently commented about your beautiful queer child, and how you spent most mornings parked in spot #1 at the McDonalds ordering two hashbrowns, a Diet Coke (mine), and a large iced coffee (his), listening to Clay Masters tell us the day of the week in a new way, and discussing his/their pronouns. He tells you that he still wants to be your son (aka, him to you) but he is trying out a non-binary life, and will you still love them? You have always loved them, since the moment you knew they were there. He is a miracle to you. They were the most precious gift you had ever been given.
You feel pressed to reveal that the last message your baby sent was if they would be “hate crimed” if they wore a skirt to a school function. You realize you would have thrown yourself in front of them in protection. You would have lent him a skirt. You would have zipped it up for them. You loved your miracle. A miracle is worth protecting at any cost. It is the most wonderful thing God gives us.
In the days following Little I’s death, our state passed a hateful piece of legislation banning trans kids from athletics. The 1st state in the country to allow gay marriage became the 2nd to ban kids who already feel marginalized from participating in the major thing that is good for their health and well-being. To make them feel more afraid. To keep them from feeling included because it keeps them in power.
I felt sick to my stomach.
And, as I’ve discussed, social media starts to learn you. You start to see messages from queer, non-binary, LGBTQIA+ people talking about coming out to their families and how their families rejected them. You want to scream. You’d hug every single one if you could because they are a miracle. Your calendar is full now with local people who learned you exist and want a hug.
That’s the gift of the tongues. Hugs have no language. Our Blessed Mother knew that. Every child is a miracle and every child deserves a hug from a mother who loves them.
You are all miracles. I am full of hugs.
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