“We go to the hairdresser together, when one has the color it represents, the other makes a highlight”

Marking the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Heterophobia on May 17, a transgender mother and daughter tell us about their relationship, between support, complicity and a commitment to greater tolerance.

It’s a story like many, and always has been. A young girl gives her a son at birth who conquers her identity. Thays is 19, and her mother, Elodie, is 49, and two years ago the first appeared as a transgender woman.

It all started badly as a teenager: “I’ve never felt so good about myself, and that was especially memorable in college”Thays says, “But at the time, in our education, we were absolutely not told anything about LGBT, gender identity, sexual orientation…” Then the girl begins to learn, conducts research on gender issues to better understand herself. “I went through two phases: at first I thought I wasn’t bi, so I asked my friends to select my gender as neutral, which was fine… Then I asked them to specify my gender as female, which was cool”She says with a big smile.

There was something wrong, there was something wrong with her, but I didn’t know what.

At first, her mother was worried, especially about her daughter’s dark and even suicidal thoughts. Realizing that her daughter is not feeling well, without understanding the origins of her suffering: “I thought it was because of bullying, being overweight, and not assimilating into college…”she regrets, “I love that LGBT causes a lot, but I didn’t suspect anything about Thaïs’ personality.”

At the end of the first confinement, in May 2020, Tay had turned 18, and had decided to turn herself in to her mother, through a long message sent from her phone: “That night I wrote a huge letter, talking about sexual dysphoria, trans, all I could feel”Says , “I am tired of hiding, and I told myself that it is now, or else I will regret it later.” Elodie receives this message around three in the morning and, slightly dazed, tries to understand the meaning of each term used to better understand her daughter: “I had to go find out, so during the night I was on my phone trying to figure out what was in her message because she was asleep to me.”

The next day, the two women talked for a long time, and if Thays came out of the conversation lighter, then at first her mother asked herself many questions, tinged with a certain sense of guilt: “What did I miss, as a mother, about my education, and what did I miss about the calls she was surely making to me, at some point and totally overdid it.”

Of course, mother and daughter have evolved and adapted. Thays started her transformation, took hormone therapy, and let her hair grow. For her part, Elodie tried to find out and incorporate her daughter’s new first name into the exchanges between them: “In the beginning, it was necessary to completely remove his ‘dead name’ from my vocabulary because it still appears sometimes. »

Communicating with her daughter, Elodie gradually discovers a whole lexicon, such as “gender identity disorder” * or “dead name” * or even “disinformation” *. She also faces a reality still unknown to her: the suffering of children and adolescents in the same situation as her daughter, and intolerance that is still very present in society towards the LGBTQIA+ community. “I didn’t think, before I became more interested in her, that there were so many people who committed suicide because of it, it’s something that scares me compared to Thais.”

The two women also offered themselves a new start by leaving the Paris region to settle in the conglomerate Poitiers, at the beginning of the year.

I present Thayce as my daughter. When people come, neighbors come, it’s my daughter.

There, Elodie contacted the associations for support and advice and to find a welcoming community: “The first time I went to the LGBTI in Poitiers was to discuss with the parents, to try to understand what to do, what I could do better for the accompaniment, so that you could feel better”, as you say. After the first visit, Thays also came to meet other members of the association and share her experience: “For me for two years it has been the dream, it’s a complicated life with some people but everything is better, especially now, with a physique that goes and tracks on a female level”rejoice.

Mother and daughter always share a close relationship, discovering Poitiers and its surroundings together. Precious moments dedicate their new life: “We go shopping together, or at the restaurant, and the nice thing is when we say ‘Hey ladies’ Elodie says with a smile. For her, the daughter’s transition changed almost nothing: “My philosophy in life is that everyone has the right to do what he wants, as he wants, as long as they are happy and do not bother me.”

I can’t understand people with transphobia, homophobia, etc. I can’t understand why we’re up against someone who finally feels happy on the inside.

Thais, a young transgender woman

There is still a common concern between the two women: Tice’s career future. The young woman is looking for a job and study to become an assistant in the medical and social sector, but she is afraid of the look of others while waiting for her voice to clear and become more feminine, thanks to a speech therapist’s sessions.

On this International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Fear, the two women still hope for an effort by public authorities to simplify the transgender journey: If Thaws manages to change her first name in the civil state, she is still waiting to make her case for an official gender change.

Their hopes also focus on the development of mindsets, and on changing society’s view of the LGBTQIA+ community: “Just because you’re a transgender or gay person doesn’t mean you’re not the same person anymore, my tastes haven’t changed drastically, I’m not a monster, I’m human” Explain the Thais. “I cannot understand why we are against someone who is finally happy on the inside.”

On Saturday, May 21, the mother and daughter will travel together to Poitiers for their first Pride Parade.

* A little vocabulary…

LGBTQIA+: This acronym stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gay, bisexual, and asexual, and includes a range of sexual orientation and gender identities.

Transgender person: A person whose sexual function at birth differs from their gender identity.

Non-binary person: A person whose identity or gender expression is neither male nor female (exclusive or not).

Gender compatible person: A person whose gender assignment at birth corresponds to their gender identity.

Out: Voluntary disclosure of homosexuality or gender identity.

Gender dysphonia: The distress experienced by a transgender person due to a mismatch between their assigned gender and gender identity.

Megander: Determine the gender of the person in which the person is not known.

dead name: Birth name. It is inappropriate to use it with a transgender person who has changed their first name.

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