LGBTQ and Permanency

LGBTQ and Permanent: Trans Youth From Care.

By Jaymee

I was placed in a foster home when I was 12 hours old. As the years went by my mom felt I would be a great addition to the family and she adopted me by the age of 4 years old.

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I lived a pretty normal life growing up, but I was different. I was the good kind of different; I knew something was different about me when I was about 7 or 8 years old. I guess you can say puberty hit me at a really young age. I experienced some changes in my body and right there and then I knew I wasn’t in the right body. I kept pretending I was a female till I was about 14 years of age, and during this time I knew I was destined to be a guy. I decided to rebel against my family when I was 14 years old and I ended up in foster care. My adoption broke down.

While I was living in foster care it was difficult to come out because no one really understood anything and most of all I was scared of being judged. When I came out as a lesbian at the age of 14, I thought it was only a phase; people around me always told me I was going to be straight and that I was going to date a man. My parents also told me it was ‘only a phase’. I wanted to come out really badly when I was 14 but I waited until I was a Crown Ward. During this time I got ‘sick’; my mental health took a huge toll on me. The reason behind this was because I had anxiety living in a female’s group home and sharing rooms with other girls. When I was in a treatment facility/hospital, I had my own room - I felt safe, I felt like I was able to be the real me, the real man I was destined to be.

When I was 19 years old, I came out to everyone. I got mixed emotions. People were telling me I was sick and other people were telling me I was finally able to break free (they already knew). It was a difficult progress; my parents didn’t take it well at first. When I started my hormones they were coming around, to this day they still have some difficulties calling me a ‘he’ and I wish this wasn’t the case. I know deep down my parents love me and want me to be as happy as I can be. 

Overall, I have had a good experience with my family and I wouldn’t change it for the world. If you ask me about my birth family, I met them when I was 18 and 19. My birth mom basically wanted to kill me when I told her that I was trans, and my birth father was a teacher for the catholic school board. I am closer to my paternal side however; he still has a hard time adjusting to it. He has come a long way since I’ve met him and I am thankful for this. He is no longer homophobic… however he refuses to call me his son; instead I am just his child. This is something I will not argue about with him -- he knows I don’t like being called his daughter and he definitely respects this about me.

I feel like my adoption would not have broken down if supports were available to help me understand ways I could go about my LGBTQ journey, and help my parents understand more about this. Although my foster parents still have a hard time calling me by the correct pronoun, I am still thankful for them. I wish there were more resources and supports. I feel like parents have expectations about what their children are in regards to gender and sexuality and when this goes against their ideals, it is tough to understand and navigate (not only for them but for me as well).

A part of permanency is the ability for a person to be themselves when it comes to gender and sexuality, regardless of the expectations parents may have.