|Posted by St. Alban's Episcopal Church on October 28, 2021 at 12:55 AM|
Dear St. Alban’s,
Uncertainty has become a way of life for all of us. Truthfully, it has always been the way of life, but once upon a time, it was a bit easier to cling to the illusion of certainty. That has now changed, hasn’t it? We’ve all had to become more practiced at embracing uncertainty rather than constantly fighting it. At least our faith tells us that God is with us in our uncertainty. We are not alone.
In the spirit of embracing uncertainty together, I want to share with you a journey on which my family has embarked.
Early this fall, our 4-year-old began articulating very clearly that Chris identifies as a girl, not as a boy. This did not come as a huge shock to Matt and me because, for at least a year now, Chris has been very interested in many stereotypical “girl” things such as the color pink and wearing dresses. But because we spent much of the past year at home, it may not have been as evident to others.
We began a new year of preschool by changing Chris’s wardrobe. If you’ve been attending church in person lately, you may have noticed Chris happily twirling in a dress or skirt. Our sweet kid is so full of joy and cheer ever since we made this switch.
Could this be just a phase? Yes, sure. But if so, it is a long one. Knowing that many young children begin to form their gender identity as early as age 3 or 4, we are honoring Chris's stated identity as best we can. We know things may continue to shift and change over time, but we are trying to stay focused on the present moment, because at this point, there’s no way for us to know the future. In the present, Chris identifies as a girl.
We've begun to use she/her pronouns like Chris has requested, though at times we accidently use the old pronouns, and that's ok. Our wonderful Weekday Preschool staff has been incredibly supportive.
You may be wondering if there is anything we need. All we need from you right now is an openness to letting Chris explore gender in a nonjudgmental environment. St. Alban’s Episcopal Church has always been a welcoming and open-minded community, so we are not too worried about that. We know that some people may not understand or accept this journey, but we pray that everyone at church will be gracious and kind. While the world can be a challenging place to navigate for young people who do not conform to gender norms, I hope that our parish will always be a safe place where every child and adult is accepted and cherished for who they are.
If you have questions about gender identity in children, I highly recommend this overview from the Mayo Clinic.
It can be especially tough for clergy kids to grow up in a fishbowl where everything they do is more visible because of their parent’s public role. We appreciate your compassion and kindness towards our goofy "PK" who loves Sunday School, ballet, outer space, playgrounds, and the Frozen movies.
We thank God for giving us this amazing child to parent. If there is one thing of which we can be certain, it is that we have no shortage of love within and beyond our family. We thank you for being part of our wider circle of support and for traveling with us through the uncertainties and adventures of life.
Yours in Christ,