Mimi Lemay: A Letter to My Son This Trans Awareness Week

by Guest Contributors

Author and advocate Mimi Lemay is a proud member of HRC Foundation’s Parents for Transgender Equality Council.

Author and advocate Mimi Lemay is a proud member of HRC Foundation’s Parents for Transgender Equality Council.  Her memoir, “What We Will Become,” has just been released, weaving her experiences growing up in, and ultimately leaving, her strict Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, and her journey parenting a transgender child. Lemay began her advocacy shortly after her son’s transition at age four, when an essay she wrote about the experience went viral.

Dear Jacob,

In these days that approach our 6th Transgender Day of Remembrance since your transition, I find myself trying to sort through a multitude of feelings.  

Foremost is my pride for you.  

You have at the age of nine years accomplished what many adults couldn’t in a lifetime. In your courageous visibility, you have changed the course of your own history, you have turned strangers into allies and allies into advocates.  

Layered in my pride is my concern for you. I know your strength, but I also know how determined the forces are that have pitted themselves against you – the politicians and preachers who would rather see you languish in a dark closet, than watch you engage the world as you do, cultivating joy and love wherever you go.

I must remind myself of your strength when I become fearful. It’s a quality that I have witnessed in you from the moment you came to us at the age of two-and-a-half and set those serious brown eyes on me and declared, “I am a boy.” 

You will not be moved from the pursuit of what you know is true. Your sense of what is just, right and fair are unshakeable. Somehow, too, in your ‘old soul,’ you seem to know we are playing the long game.  You understand that the truth can take time to take hold, and therefore you are patient and hopeful, well beyond what should be expected of you.  

Your resilience will bear fruit, my love. I believe you will bend the world around you, and we will be right beside you, because we know the truth too: that you, like all LGBTQ people, are worth fighting for, and that until we are all free to be who we are, none of us will rise to what we can truly become.