The Day I Bought My Son a Dress

I can’t say it wasn’t totally unexpected. About 1-2 years ago, Tigger informed me he was transgender. We discussed it, what that term meant, etc., and we I decided (hoped?) it was just a vocabulary mistake.

Nothing was said again, so I left it alone. We discuss gender issues from time to time as they are a big part of current events. We discussed this when he was a little boy, too. “Pink is for girls!” he proclaimed once. I used that as a teaching moment to address that colors and toys (at least for children) don’t have genitalia, therefore there is no such thing as a girl color or a boy’s toy, etc.

As we prepared to leave Mexico this last time, we did some shopping. He informed me: “Don’t be surprised when I go looking in the women’s department. I want to see if women’s clothes are more comfortable.” I remember my instant mental reaction, how my heart seemingly skipped a beat, and how my mouth went dry.

I was raised in a culture very different from today’s. Yes, blue was for boys and pink for girls. Boys didn’t play with dolls, and only “tomboy” girls would dare play with a toy truck. Any male who wore a dress for anything except Halloween or a theater performance was a “faggot.” Boys and men didn’t cry.

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I’ve worked hard to reprogram that cultural learning because I despised it and flat out didn’t agree with some of it. I was determined I would raise a son who believed that crying was okay, that a guy can wear pink, and that there’s nothing wrong with a teenage boy wanting a My Little Pony plush toy. When he openly declared he was a Brony, I felt a sense of accomplishment.

Having worked with transgender and gender neutral teens before, I have learned how incredibly difficult their life can be. I’ve been watching I Am Cait and have been left speechless at some of the experiences of these trans women and just how many of them get killed (one every 29 hours).

It is this knowledge that caused my reaction, not that he was interested in wearing “incorrect” clothing for his gender.

I actually kind of admire people who thumb their nose at society-declared gender norms. I’m quite fond of this quote from gender-nonconforming Jaden Smith: “I don’t see man clothes and woman clothes, I just see scared people and comfortable people.” [emphasis mine]

So we went clothes shopping. He chose a pair of women’s pants and a blouse I pointed out for its funny saying. I held my breath when he showed up at the fitting room. “Are these for you?” she asked a bit surprised. He said yes, and she handed him the numbered placard. Phew!

He ended up liking them and so they were purchased. He declared they were surprisingly comfortable and that was that.

Having returned to Budapest, we went into a discount general store to see what they had. Tigger went exploring and came back and announced “They have purple nail polish!” I took a deep breath and responded: “Well, purple is a nice color.” A few minutes later he had gathered up the courage to ask if we could buy it. And soon my son was sporting purple fingernails.

He discovered painting one’s nails isn’t as easy as it looks, and I suggested he consider a manicure.

I was waiting to see where else this was leading, and sure enough two days later I heard “I wonder what it feels like to wear a dress.” I said that there was only one way to find out. I could see he was nervous, so as we did our daily walk I would point out dress shops so he knew I was okay with this.

About three days ago, he finally decided he wanted to try on a dress. He found one he liked and tried it on. Again I waited breathlessly as he took the item to the fitting room. The clerk didn’t even bat an eye. When he came out wearing the dress, she did a brief double take but that was it. “Would you help me zip this up?” I never expected to hear those words from my son. When he returned in his other clothes, she asked “Did it work for you?” He said yes and smiled.

I wanted to hug her fiercely.

As I paid for the dress, my heart was pounding again. This was really happening.

We left the store, and I watched him from the corner of my eye. Tigger is his nickname because he doesn’t walk. He skips, hops, runs, and bounces. Most of it stems from his anxiety issues. This time there was no bouncing. He walked with the dress firmly clutched to his chest like a prized possession.

When we got home, he immediately changed into his dress. He asked if I would take a picture, post it to Facebook, and tag him in it. I was amazed by his courage and intent to be himself no matter what.

Later we talked about how he felt in the dress. He decided he was gender fluid and would maybe decide he was transgender later as an adult. I was glad he was open and thinking through things. And I watched in amazement as two things transpired.

First, he started organizing his room and the table next to my chair. People often make their surroundings match their insides, and so he tends to like a lot of chaos around him. Suddenly organizing stuff, which he has never done before, told me that his thoughts were becoming more organized, too.

What was even bigger, though, is that for the rest of the night there was no bouncing. He usually has to hop and bounce around the apartment about every 1-2 hours to release the extra energy and ground himself again. Several hours went by without this happening. “Where’s your anxiety at?” I asked. He rated his anxiety as a “zero.”

This doesn’t even happen when he’s on meds. I can count the times he’s been a zero on one hand.

Remember the Captain Underpants look?

Because his usual hat doesn’t really work with a dress, he needed a better fit. Covering his head helps him maintain his anxiety, especially in public. So it’s kind of required gear.

The next day we decided to go to our favorite burrito place in the mall. When I came downstairs, he was wearing his dress (over pants no less). I kept the look of surprise from my face. For some reason, I hadn’t expected that he would wear his dress in public.

As we were leaving the safe confines of our apartment complex, I took a deep breath. I felt tension grip my body instantly as he placed a death grip on my arm. My eyes darted wildly as we walked. I carefully searched for any signs of impending danger, ready to physically defend my child vigorously. Papa Bear was primed and ready.

“Are you feeling anxious?” I asked, already knowing the answer. He did feel nervous but only rated his anxiety at a 4, which I thought was pretty amazing really. I was probably at a 7, and I don’t have anxiety issues.

After eating I spotted a store with hats and we went in. He found a very suitable hat. He was much calmer during the walk home. It helped having his new hat. I was slightly more relaxed having experienced no problems on our first trip, but I was still nervously scanning the crowd so I would be ready.

Again, at his request I took a photo and published it on Facebook. Because I have amazing friends and family-by-choice, he instantly had wonderful comments and fashion and makeup tips.

The next morning I was going through my Facebook notifications. I saw that he had responded “she BTW” in that thread. I asked what this meant, and he explained that he is transgender and wants to go by female pronouns.

I asked some followup questions to make sure I understood everything fully and quickly was smacked by a powerful feeling of grief. I spent some time doing research, joined some groups for parents of transgender kids, and discovered that was a common feeling.

On the one hand, I want her to be happy and to be herself. On the other, I fear for her future. I fear for what she will encounter as “a boy in a dress.” Will she find a woman who will love her as she is (yes, she is attracted to women)?

I’ve also contacted a couple of LGBTQ associations in Budapest and have been reassured that “risk is relatively low.” Even though Hungarians aren’t always the most open-minded people, the country has enacted many laws protecting LGBT people and that’s helpful. Budapest is very youthful and international and that helps as well.

We adore Budapest, but I find myself wondering if Berlin might not be a better fit. It’s considered the most LGBT-friendly city in the world. She would have better access to knowledgeable doctors, therapists, trans teens, and a more welcoming and accepting environment. I think we may go for a 2-week visit or something to see what we think. We had a short visit there last year and really did like it.

She has decided that she will remain Tigger on the blog. I think it’s also important to note that, as always, she has given her permission for me to post about this. I have always checked with her before sharing stories, quotes, etc. She always has veto power.

So it looks like we have a very different adventure now.

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132 Comments

  1. Talon & Tigger,

    Today was the first time I have visited your blog and this post was the first one I fully read. Gave me such deep feelings/emotions and gratitude. Emotions as I’m trying to place myself in your situation as a dad and thinking how I would deal with the situation as I have 2 young kids too. Gratitude for you being such an openminded and awesome dad. Gives a lot of hope to raise the level of empathy, compassion and understanding in this world.

    Big respect and love for the both of you,

    Ties & Shirley

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    • Thank you! Things aren’t always easy to understand as a parent, but AFAIC it’s always easy to live your child fully and unconditionally.

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  2. Talon – I’ve been away from your blog for awhile, not for any reason, just a lot of personal issues. I’m happy to say you have given me a whole new insight on this issue. Thank you.

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    • Good to read! Glad it helped.

      Not happy to see you’ve been having personal issues, though. I hope things have calmed down for you now.

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  3. I think I have just read my own story in your words as I have a 15 year old trans daughter.

    For us, trying on clothes started last year and she began dressing full-time after having hair extensions a few weeks ago. People have mostly been accepting and we have learned to ignore those who can’t accept – we do not feel the need to push the situation on anyone, but we will explain things to anyone who is open enough to ask.

    I am tending to use the word daughter instead of son and it becomes easier every day. I had a few months of using “their” and “they” but in the end it was just easier to use “she” and “her”. I took guidance from my daughter about what she preferred me to use and I guess your child will lead you towards their preference as well. She has a new name which she will adopt in July on her 16th birthday but we do not use it all of the time yet – again, her choice.

    You are doing an amazing and supportive job. Everyone’s journey is different but your role in your child’s journey is crucial.

    I have been writing a blog, although we are in the UK so the medical pathway is different, you might find some common ground: https://mytransteen.wordpress.com/

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    • She’s already let everyone know she is using female pronouns exclusively and has picked out a new name. I agree about letting them guide us through the process. It’s theirs after all. 😉

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  4. I’m so happy and proud of you both! I am not transgender, though at times you xould consider me genderfluid by what I wear and attractions. I was raised in a very progressive family, and as a teen, every time I wanted to talk to my parents they held their breaths and assumed it was going to be the, “I’m gay” talk. That never happened but they were okay either way. There were times even the assured me that if I was, everything was fine with them, and this was because I wore “boys” clothing, played like a “boy” and had many “boys” interests. Well, if there one thing I know, we’re all just people. Labels make it sometimes easier to identify ourselves, but it’s not always so easy for people to be labeled by others. I am astounded by the courage and faith you both have for each other and yourselves. Btw, if Tigger wants to look at some great, beautiful and easy make up, Physician’s Formula is much less bad for your skin, and they have a new line called “Extreme Shimmer” that is hands down the most gorgeous eye make up I have ever used! It’s not bankbreaking expensive either, so even if you don’t like it after experimenting with it, it’s not a total loss! You get six or seven beautiful colors on a palette and the shape of the applicator makes it easier than others to do exactly what you want. I hope Tigger keeps her confidence and explores everything openly and freely, no doubt possible by her having an amazing father! Love and light to you two!

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    • Thank you! She’s pretty confident and unafraid of exploring, so that’s a good thing. I’m glad you have supportive parents.

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  5. Talon Windwalker, oh what a wonderful world it would (could? ) be if all parents were as wonderful and accepting as you. I hope your new adventures are amazing. Xxx

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  6. I just want to say that it is so heartwarming to hear about how a parent accepts and loves their child unconditionally. That is how it should be!

    Recently my 5-year-old son asked me if he could have his nails painted. He has seen me paint mine on many occasions, and at this moment I was painting his sister’s. I didn’t even give it a second thought, and the three of us had fun. I got a lot of flack from my husband’s family about how I was “turning” my son transgendered. It hurt me as I am gender fluid (they don’t know, my husband does and is accepting), but it especially hurt my son to be talked about it a negative tone. And for what? A little bit of nail polish? I don’t even know if my son is a girl or if he understands what that means. If he is a boy, I will love him. If he tells me he is a girl, or both, or neither, I will still love my child. But I am not pushing him onto anything. He is old enough to tell me if he does or does not like something, and believe me that he will tell me. I feel like I shouldn’t assume my child’s gender anymore than I would assume their future career as as an engineer, an accountant, or a doctor. Thankfully my husband and I are on the same page.

    I am sorry. I did not intend to complain about my personal life. Your daughter is beautiful and brave. Not to mention lucky to have a father with such an open heart. I wish you and her both nothing but the best during such a confusing time known as adolescence. I also wish her many friends and eventually a partner that will love her for the lovely person she is. I also wish that more parents learn your level of compassion for the sake of their children. And thank you for sharing a very important part of your lives.

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    • Yep, you just never know. And I think it’s so silly that in this day and age people can’t paint their nails, wear whatever clothes they want, etc., without there being some judgment. It’s so ridiculous!

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  7. Just want to say what you are doing is awesome. All kids should be raised in a loving and accepting environment. I was one of the lucky ones who’s parents let me know it was ok to be gay, trans or purple just so long as I was happy and healthy.

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  8. Come to the bay area. San Francisco ca.

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    • The US isn’t in our cards right now I don’t think. And there’s no way I could afford to live in that area. lol

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  9. Thanks for being an amazing parent! The world needs more like you.

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  10. Thank you so much for sharing this post. All of this is everything I am feeling and going through as a parent to a transgender adolescent. 9 months ago my 11 year old daughter came to me and told me that she was transgender and wanted to cut her hair and be called by male pronouns. I hoped it was a phase. I grieved. I fear everyday for him. Your post felt like I was reading my own thoughts and you have no idea how good it feels to know that their are other parents going through the same things and are supportive of who their kids are. Best wishes to you and Tigger.

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    • I found a Facebook group for parents of transgender children, and it has been such a great thing. I would be lost without it. Always wondering if my feelings are normal, etc. My hope in sharing our story was that it would help others, so I’m glad it helped you out. If you’re interested in the FB group, please send me an email through our contact form, and I’ll get you connected.

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  11. Thank you for writing this beautiful article. I try every day to teach love, acceptance, and tolerance in my art room and to let my kids know that they’re safe with me so I love when I come across something like this. You’re an inspiration for parenting done right.

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  12. Pardon me for indulging myself in a bit of a personal rant but I found this very uplifting. I, myself have just passed my 19th birthday, a few years back I thought perhaps I was transgender. At the age of 14 I was diagnosed with depression and mild anxiety. The issues of my gender and sexuality plagued me towards the end of my school life. My friends turned on me unrelated to these issues directly but as more of a response to my poor attitude. The stress and isolation I was feeling from my peers and family made me feel bitter to everyone around me and I took it out on them. I lost my friends and almost lost my family. I made plans to run away, maybe to a shelter.

    The antidepressants weren’t enough and at the start of my second last year of high school I left. When I wasn’t doing a couple hours at work I was alone in my room. All I did was occasionally work, eat very little and sleep. I don’t know what changed in me but as the years passed I felt myself get better. I didn’t see the point in dwelling on all my troubles and torturing myself with my mistakes every night. I became more comfortable with myself and accepted that I was genderfluid although I tend to keep that fact to myself. Now I’m working toward a better future for myself and I’m putting myself through higher education.

    Life can be tough and confusing and sometimes it feels like everything hates you. I am glad I proved my younger self wrong. I have an interview for a laboratory assistant job on Friday and if I get it, it would be an absolute dream. Wish me luck.

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    • I hope it all works out well for you! I’m so happy you’re beginning to see more sunshine in your life.

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  13. The world needs more understanding parents like you. My brother came out as transgender in his twenties and it was a hard road. It’s a hard road either way, but it was so much more difficult for him because he didn’t have the support of his family. It thrills me to no end that Tigger has such acceptance and unwavering support from her wonderful papa. She’s a lovely girl and her chances of being a successful, grounded adult will likely increase exponentially because of your support in her early years. This article made me very happy.

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    • I’m sorry your brother had that experience. I just don’t understand why parents can’t support their kids.

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  14. I found this post via George Takei’s facebook post. Your story really warmed my heart today and I’m so happy that you and Tigger have each other. I look forward to seeing more photos in the future of Tigger’s evolving style and reading your blog. Much love from Australia! 🙂

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    • Thank you! I was pretty surprised to see George share our story. I hope it helps others. As a side note, Australia is one of Tigger’s favorite countries.

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  15. Wow. You are both the best kind of people. Be true to yourself and to your loved ones, and be happy.
    I have 3 daughters, 9, 10 and 13. The 2 older ones were adopted from China, at different times. Their mother and I are divorced. My 10 year old has always been the “tomboy” of the 3 since she was a toddler. We shop in the boys dept. just for her. Only action figures and cars to play with. Loves playing sports. A few years ago I came to the realization of her being transgender. It’s a touchy subject for her mother because it was always just a “phase” she’ll grow out of. It’s not something my daughter herself has come out to say and I haven’t brought it up with her. I have been teaching everyone about tolerance to all types of people. We’re all unique, that’s what makes us equals. Same thing about being with someone you care about, no matter what gender they are. “Love is love”.
    Hopefully when she is old enough and ready, she will be able to come out say how she really feels.
    Then I can finally say, “I have a son!” 🙂

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    • Then again, she may just be a girl who likes to dress and play with things most other girls don’t. 😉 Thanks for supporting her!

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  16. I just came across a link to this blog on Facebook. I just wanted to tell you both how amazing you are. Tigger for having the courage to be herself and you for supporting her and putting her happiness above all else. This world needs more people with that kind of love and courage. And Tigger, you look amazing in that dress!

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    • Thank you! I hope more parents will just support and love their kids no matter what. It’s how it should be.

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  17. Congratulations to Tigger to embracing who she really is! Such confidence at any age, but especially at her age, is incredible.

    You are an amazing father and it was a pleasure to read such an honest post.

    Thank you both to being yourselves!

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    • She is pretty brave, and I’ve been very impressed with how she’s evolved with this. Thank you

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  18. Wow. What a beautiful story.

    Thank you for sharing this and showing that there is still unconditional love in this world.

    What an awesome family the two of you are.

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  19. Congratulations Tigger! So excited that you’ve opened up your story for all of us who love following along on the dynamic duo of travel.

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  20. Really enjoyed reading your post, it’s a very happy and inspiring story. I’m a lesbian German and never had issues walking down any street in Germany with my girlfriend, though sometimes I can tell people are looking. Now I am living in brighton, UK and I think so far this is the lgbt-friendliest city I have been to. It’s (apparently) known as the gay capital of Europe and has a very large lgbt scene. I have many friends who are trans and/or genderfluid and people don’t even look twice. you two should come for a holiday, it’s really nice 🙂
    All the best for you x

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  21. This brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. I could have never imagined this kind of unconditional love when I was growing up. Her bravery is matched and fueled by your love and support. Good on you both.

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    • Thank you! Everyone deserves to be loved unconditionally. Unfortunately, many don’t get what they deserve.

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  22. I got so happy reading this. I am currently pregnant, both me and my ‘housespouse’ agree that a child should always be a child. It doesn’t need to be weight down with gender rolls. If our child wants to wear a dress or a shirt and tie then either is fine. I hope that we will have as good a relationship with our child as you have with yours.
    All the love and hope for an as safe as can be journey for you and Tigger.

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  23. Tigger, you are beautiful! Your confidence and self knowledge are amazing, and I love you for being who you are! You go, girl!

    Dad, you’re pretty amazing, too, and I’m so proud and honored to share the planet with somebody like you. Thank you. Your post made my day!

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  24. MOVE TO BERLIN! As a German-Hungarian genderfluid lgbt person who has lived most of their life in Budapest (and a little in Germany) – It’s really a miracle and I’m very happy that you haven’t had any hardships so far, but as for your daughter: if it once starts, the things most Hungarians do/say to unique people are really hard to cope with. It’s just be soul-torturing and it’s not worth it. As much as I love my home city (Budapest) all of my LGBT friends and I are fleeing Hungary. Many of us already moved to different countries.

    Wish you all the best xx

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    • PS. The most LGBT city is Cologne in Germany. Although I don’t like the city for personal reasons, you can quite often see gay couples walk around holding hands with no problems.

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    • It’s very different for a foreigner. Unfortunately, no place is perfect, esp for a transgender person, but we love it here. Definitely are considering Berlin, though.

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  25. This post is so beautiful. So inspiring. 🙂 Tigger looks gorgeous in that dress! She is very lucky to have such an amazing dad.

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  26. Growing up LGBT is tough (it’s easy to forget that as an adult, now comfortable in my own skin). If every kid, regardless of gender identity or sexuality had a parent as loving, accepting and courageous as you, it would be a different world.

    Tigger, you rock. I mean seriously…. there is nothing cooler or more attractive than someone who knows themselves and lives a life that honours who they are. Growing up, not everyone your age gets it, but they catch up and things do get easier- trust me on this! When some day you find someone who makes your stomach do backflips and gives you the urge to make mix-tapes (yeah, that was a thing when I was your age) then they’ll be one lucky human.

    Keep being awesome, two. the world is better for having you in it.
    Kate X

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    • She does rock! And, yes, what a completely different world from when I grew up. Can’t wait for it to evolve even more.

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  27. My dad is a deadbeat who made fun of me the moment I started identifying as queer. It touches my heart deeply to see a father care so much about their child, regardless of their identity. And for you to admit both the fear and pride, I hope your daughter realizes that she is lucky to have you there for her. You’re trying, and that’s enough.

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    • I’m so sorry to read you had that experience. Everyone deserves to be loved unconditionally. Sadly, so few are.

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  28. As a parent I am in awe of such love and support. You are an incredible father to share your story, and to live and learn alongside of her with such unconditional love.

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  29. You are an amazing father!

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  30. First off – you seem like an amazing father. The way she opens up to you and talks to you about her thoughts/dreams/anxities clearly shows that.

    Secondly, as a Hungarian residing in Budapest, I was quite happy to read that you did not encounter any hardships while buying and wearing the dress. I know we seem like gloomy and negative people sometimes, but as you also mentioned, the younger generations are quite openminded and can even be considered friendly sometimes 🙂

    Third – please tell me where that dress is from. I need one just like it!! Bacon is my religion 🙂

    I hope you both are and will be very happy here!!

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    • I think most Hungarians are just misunderstood. 😉

      That top about the bacon was unfortunately bought in Mexico.

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  31. Wow. So good for Tigger that she’s surrounded by supportive people, i love my country (the Philippines) but she probably won’t be met by the same reaction you had there if she went out in a dress here.

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  32. What a wonderful post and you must be so proud of bringing Tigger up to believe she can be who she wants to be. I hope this serves to inspire all the other young people out there who feel confused by what society deems they should be and just need someone to prove it’s OK to be the person you want to be. Thanks for sharing this!

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  33. I truly applaud Tigger’s bravery in accepting who she truly is, and hope that, as the world is becoming more accepting and open about gender identity, she won’t face too many issues of discrimination. It’s important for a person to be who they truly are, and to hell wit what is considered “normal” by most people. Normal is different for every individual, and that’s what makes life so special, and people so interesting. We are all unique, and it is important that we all accept those qualities of uniqueness, so long as they cause no harm to anyone.

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  34. I love this post. I love that Tigger trusted her instincts and felt confident and self assured to go shopping for a dress, and then to wear it proudly!!. I love that she is feeling much, much less anxious. I love that you as a parent have supported her every step along the way!! OMG..I feel your fear and uncertainty..but you are amazing and have an amazing daughter. Your head must be spinning!! Go forth..knowing you have the support of many x

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    • Head spinning is a VERY accurate term. It’s settling down a bit, but it definitely isn’t something you adapt to overnight. And it presents some additional pieces to travel. But she’s happy and that’s the best part.

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  35. I know a lot of people think life is short, but the truth is “life” is the thing that lasts the longest for most of us. A lot of people don’t figure out what fulfils them (and then pursue that thing) until most of their life is behind them. I am so happy for Tigger. She has started on a journey of self-discovery at the exact right time and she is in the right place being with you Talon. Love to both of you and can’t wait to see you again soon.

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    • Thanks, Tracey! I love what you had to say. Agree with it very much. Looking forward to seeing all of you as well!

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  36. It’s truly inspiring to read about both your journey in the world and in life! The relationship you and Tigger have is amazing. I can only hope me and my son will be so open and at ease with each other when he grows up (he’s almost 3 now). Parenting is all about trust, letting go and wanting the best for our children. I’m sure this wasn’t what you envisioned for him when he was growing up. I can totally see how you grief about losing a son and fear for his safety and happiness, while at the same time being so thankful for the confident and happy daughter you gained. Your pride for her is clearly present in every word you write! It takes courage and determination to be who you really are. Go Tigger! You’re absolutely amazing!

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    • She is so amazingly brave, especially on things that matter. Thank you for your lovely words. I’ve worked hard to build a trusting, loving, and open relationship, and it has definitely paid off.

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  37. Wow. What a fascinating and open read. I appreciate and applaud your frank honesty about your misgivings and your moments of doubt, and also for being the fantastic father that you are.

    And good on Tigger for her courage as well.

    All the best to you both on what I’m sure will be an at times challenging, but ultimately rewarding journey for you both 🙂

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    • Thanks, Chris. I hope our sharing helps someone else. It already has, so it was worth it.

      She is definitely a very courageous young woman.

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  38. When I was at university there was a painfully shy boy in my class called Brett. He never spoke to anyone or seemed to have any friends. Twenty years later she arrived at our reunion – now called Yvette. Yvette was confident, outgoing and the life of the party. She made a point of speaking to everyone at the function and had a ball.

    Feeling confident and at home in your own skin makes all the difference. I hope Tigger has found where she needs to be

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    • Wow, what a turnaround! Isn’t it amazing what can happen when we’re free to be ourselves?

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  39. Wishing you both a safe and happy journey through this phase. I echo what I’ve seen on Facebook – Haley is very lucky to have you as a supportive, loving parent. Sending you both a lot of love!

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  40. Good for Tigger for figuring out who she is at an early age and choosing to live her life as she was meant to. I know a woman who was born male and transitioned in her teen years. She is also attracted to women and has had several meaningful relationships and has formed many wonderful friendships. I tell you this if only to give you some peace of mind that it is possible to find a woman who will understand and care and build a life with a transgender woman. Peace to both of you.

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    • To me the relationship issue is a very small piece of my concerns for her future. Frankly, I think it’s better she’s attracted to women than men. Women seem to be more accepting and focused on the person rather than other things.

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      • I agree with that to a certain point, I know there are men out there that are as understanding but that’s beside the point. I’m sure there are a lot of issues that have come up and will come up in the futureI and I feel that she will always have your support, that’s obvious, but the support and love of a partner can change your life and give you the strength to go on when things get tough.

        I just saw this article and thought of you and Tigger. https://ca.style.yahoo.com/post/143489564410/photo-of-transgender-girl-sends-a-powerful-message

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        • I definitely hope she finds someone. Just in the list of things going on right now, that concern is pretty far down there. lol

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  41. So proud of her – and she looks amazing!!! There is so much to love about this article, but most of all, the love you have for your child. It warms my heart, so very much. xo

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    • Thanks, Jessie. Parenting often isn’t easy, but some bumps in the road are much stronger than others. Love is always the strongest anchor, though.

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  42. Such a great post. I have an extended family member who is also going through this process, and it is wonderful to see a post openly discussing the issues involved. I love your parenting style! Best wishes to you both.

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    • Thank you! I’ve really admired her openness and courage, and I hope that sharing these bits and pieces of our life helps others.

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  43. A powerful process the two of you are not only sharing with each other, but courageous enough to share with others. Hearts & Hugs!

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    • I hope it helps other trans people as well as their parents. It’s a big challenge for both sides of the fence.

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  44. Your words about her anxiety level says a lot. Maybe think about some sessions with a therapist for her to explore things further (and I’m sure you already have). In the end, what matters is that Haley is happy and safe. Safe in your own skin is a really big deal. Best wishes to you both!

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    • Definitely looking at therapy. Trying to find a qualified one here is a bit more of a challenge, but hopefully we can connect her with a good one so she can work through some things.

      “Safe in your own skin” is a HUGE deal for sure!

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  45. What a brave duo you are! You are a great and accepting father Talon. How great that you found each other. Glad that Tigger is finally comfortable in her skin. It must have been hard all those years not being comfortable with her gender. Good luck to both of you on this journey. Sharing this will help other parents and kids who are facing the same issue. Bravo!

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  46. She has the best dad one could hope for. This “Papa Bear was primed and ready” says it all. All the best in your new adventures.

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  47. What I find impressive is how easily Haley has been able to communicate with you. You’ve truly instilled a trust that she might never have known. Families like yours are the ones who will save humanity from its seeming downward spiral. ❤

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    • I sure hope so! I’ve worked hard to cultivate an open, accepting, and honest relationship with her. It’s definitely proven to be worth it.

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  48. You are an amazing father, Tigger defintely couldn’t hope for a more open relationship. It’s great how you support her in her change and you have open communication! You make a great team!

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    • Thank you! I do love our relationship. I’ve worked hard to create that space, and it’s during times like these that I realize just how valuable it has turned out to be.

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  49. SUCH AN AMAZINGLY POWERFUL READ!!! thanks for sharing your story with us Talon & Tigger!!!! If you can only help one parent, or one child in a similar position, sharing this adventure was well worth it!

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  50. Kenin and I have always been very open about gender and gender roles. I remember a vacation where we stayed at the Ritz Carlton and Ken had his toes polished in a glittery blue. The looks went from impressed to disgusted…all for some nail polish. Neither of us let society label what is appropriate or not. If I want to wear a men’s shirt, i will. If my husband wants to wear some nail polish, he can more than well do so. Love Haley’s spirit and the support that you provide in allowing her to be what she feels comfortable being. <3 Love and support from the Bassarts!

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    • Oddly enough, I can totally imagine Kenin wearing glittery toenail polish. I’ve often wanted to have polished nails but lack the courage. I hate being stared at. It took me forever to have both ears pierced just because I knew I might “get looks.” Hopefully, some of Haley’s bravery will rub off on me.

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  51. You are both amazing people and we are glad to know you in the internet world. I think it is wonderful to be so in tune with your body and soul and it is obvious the nurturing environment Tigger was raised in makes her feel comfortable and confident. We still look forwards to your adventures with or without a dress. I know you aren’t big fans of Spain, but if you make it our way stop by. We may pop up to Germany or CZ around Christmas, so maybe we could look you up. May your journey in life be exactly as you desire.

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    • Do let me know if you’ll be coming out this direction. I plan on doing some Christmas market tourism this year and it would be lovely to finally get our families together!

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  52. Ok 1. That dress is awesome! Just saying – if Tigger grows out of it, my birthday is in November….

    2. It looks great on her. Seriously. For a first dress she really knows how to pick colors!

    3. Congrats!!!! Tigger: Congrats on giving less f*&ks about society and doing what is right for you. Talon: Congrats on being the coolest dad ever and raising Tigger to be comfortable enough to be so open with you.

    You both rock!

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    • She laughed when I shared your comment with her. Will keep your birthday in mind for the next big growth spurt, although her torso doesn’t seem to change much. You might get lucky, though. 😉

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  53. I’m inspired by the way you communicate with your teenager and work through the roller coasters of growing up, even through what must be a heck of a curve ball. Kudos for being such an amazing parent, and kudos to Tigger for being brave enough to tackle these adventures openly!

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    • A heck of a curveball indeed! I’m so grateful, though, for our open communication. It has helped tremendously.

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  54. This is so touching! She is so brave and you are such a wonderful dad to support her the way you do. I know it’s not easy, especially since you know so well how hard it is different in this world of conformity. I am amazed that Tigger/Stevie is comfortable enought with who she is to show it in public. You do such an awesome job being this wonderful soul’s partner. I am also amazed at how you describe his bounciness and anxiety coming down, his organizing his space. I think it is fascinating to witness how being more in harmony with your essence makes you more grounded. It won’t be all smooth sailing, of course, but I know that with you and your family-by-choice by her side, she’ll do great!

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    • The effect on her anxiety has been the most intriguing part of all this. Any time I find myself feeling some doubts, I look at that and can’t easily explain it away. So I’m grateful for it.

      I’m amazed at her courage as well. She’s always had a nonconformist spirit, and that is certainly serving her well currently.

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  55. I have always felt that if my daughter ever got to meet Tigger when older, she would fall in love with him. I still feel that if my daughter ever gets to meet Tigger when older, she will fall in love with her. My daughter only sees hearts and I know she’s not the only in the world, so don’t worry for that. No one has a better dad than Tigger to help them with this change, how incredible you were given each other and you are amazing. I’m so moved to read about how this has brought about a peace for her. Hoping to see some animal print fashion choices when she’s more comfortable with getting noticed and ready to ‘go growl’ 🙂 Nancy QW

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    • Funny you mentioned the animal prints. I pointed out a dress like that the other day and mentioned how I think it would really suit her. I’ll mention you agree. 😉

      What you said about your daughter really touched my heart. I’m not surprised that is her gift with having you as her mom.

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  56. I’m in awe of her bravery and commitment to be true to herself. It makes me so happy to see a post like this amongst all the ugliness going on in the US right now; she couldn’t have a better Papa Bear!

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    • I’m in awe of her bravery as well! And a bit envious. I wish I had her courage to completely be who she is. Maybe one day.

      I’m SO happy we’re going through these waters in Europe rather than in the US, especially right now!

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  57. Wow. Pretty full on story. Glad you could share something so personal!

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  58. Won’t you miss Stevie, though? You know how nosy I am! I find myself missing Stevie – but I also miss my Joe’s golden curls since he is 40 and has some gray in his beard, I miss Robin being little, I miss my grandkids being little. I miss my mother being young. So this whole thing tells me that the only sadness or discomfiture has to do not with Stevie turning into Haley, but Stevie not being a little boy. With Joe being a man instead of my precious baby and Robin being grown with a 13-year-old. In other words, it all seems to be about me. I’m happy for Haley!

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    • Yes, that’s part of my grief. I know she’s still the same child where it matters, but it just isn’t the same. Other parents have shared with me how they have grieved as well so at least I know it’s a normal bag of mixed emotions to be carrying.

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      • I understand how you feel but, personally, I always knew that my “son” was unhappy with their outward appearance. Once male puberty kicked in things only got worse and they would become distressed looking in the mirror because the girl they were in their head was not what was looking back at them.

        Now that my daughter is starting to blossom she is a much happier person. She holds her head up and can walk into a room with confidence, which is something my “son” never could.

        As with any form of grief, it will pass and I hope that you will soon see that confident and happy child emerge.

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        • Thankfully, she’s always been fairly confident and very happy. This was a bit of a surprise because she’s never exhibited unhappiness about her body, gender, etc. She had been dealing with this mostly internally and finally felt like it was time to be open with me. So right now I’m just riding the rollercoaster. 😉

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  59. Tigger is lucky to have you by her side. I am in awe of her courage!

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  60. I truly enjoyed reading your entry! Lucky kid to have an understanding parent! I wish it was the case for all children…

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  61. I adore this post Talon, and I love the photo you used at the top. A roller coaster ride indeed! You have a wonderful community of family and friends, and you and Haley have a wonderful journey ahead of you.

    ~Cate

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    • I was thinking more of how my head was feeling like it was spinning, but roller coaster works well, too! lol

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