Toowoomba mum opens up about transgender son
CAITLYN Jenner has given the world a reason to talk about transgenderism and gender identities.
Toowoomba's Diane Spearritt is a mother to a transgender son.
Born Eleanor, Everett "came out" to his parents about 18 months ago after exploring his gender identity.
"Greg (husband) and I have two sons and our younger son is transgender," Mrs Spearritt said.
"That means he was born in a female body, but his gender identity is as a male.
"With Everett, it was quite a surprise for us when he came out because his gender expression was reasonably feminine."
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Mrs Spearritt said thinking Everett was initially going through a phase quickly changed once she learned more.
"In the very beginning, we were worried that it may have just been a phase, but we didn't really know anything about transgenderism at that time.
"So we immediately went into reading about it. We realised it didn't matter what we thought about it.
"What mattered was how Everett felt about himself and we realised that we just loved him and realised that he was at risk of severe depression and at high risk of suicide if he didn't receive support from his family."
Mrs Spearritt said she experienced a range of emotions over the past 18 months.
"There's a process of grief you go through as a transgender parent because you feel like you are losing a child in a way.
"For us, we were losing the daughter we thought we had and related to for many years, but we were gaining a son.
"It did feel like a loss for us and there's always going to be a certain amount of turmoil, but that's our problem."
She and her husband have unconditional love for their son and have found the wider Toowoomba community to be supportive and understanding.
But there remains more work to be done and conversations to be had.
To that end, Diane and Greg have established a Toowoomba chapter of PFLAG, a peer support group helping families and friends of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people.
Contact PFLAG on 0478735242 or email@example.com.