She is often my rock, my teacher, and my inspiration. No doubt, she is one of the greatest blessings in my life. I thank God each day for the "curse" that has become my greatest spiritual and intimate blessing. God is good... he loves us, but the moment we begin to think we know him and completely understand his will in our lives... we inevitably fall short. God wants humble children. It's our responsibility in life to learn the importance of charity and humility in our relationship with our Eternal Father. If we begin to think we understand all things... we will, inevitably, face a turbulent journey. God will teach us patience, humility, and charity. If we refuse to learn... he will continue to teach. C.S. Lewis said it best in his search for truth...
Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable. ~C.S. Lewis
The real problem is not why some pious, humble, believing people suffer, but why some do not. ~C.S. Lewis
The safest road to hell is the gradual one - the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts. ~C.S. Lewis
And my favorite of all (probably because it reflects my stubborness in spiritual obedience)...
There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, "All right, then, have it your way." ~C.S. Lewis
Cammie is such a strong, courageous, vivacious young woman... she continues to amaze me each day. A little over a year... and it's difficult to express the personal and spiritual growth. A couple of days ago, I came home to find her steadfast and focused. She was diligently writing a letter. Her poor little hands could hardly keep up with her thoughts. I asked what she was doing. Her response surprised me... "I'm writing a letter to the Jefferson County Board of Education." I continued by asking her what the letter was about. She simply said, "My rights." She finished the letter and I promised to help her mail it. I didn't read it at first because I wanted to give her the freedom to express herself freely... without parental influence. Prior to mailing the letter, I read it - then neatly addressed it and sent it off (attached below). I understand reality. Most likely, her precious words won't change a thing... at least for now, but I felt an inexplicable pride swell in my heart with the knowledge that I have been blessed with a child who has the courage to stand up for what she believes in... a child with the heart and conviction to change the world regardless of the challenges stacked against her. She has such inner strength... such courage. It's truly a beauty to behold.
Our children are the future. There's such peace in knowing that I have somehow managed to raise a child who isn't intimidated by the "status quo" or circumstances as daunting as her own. She represents the beautiful mind of a new generation. I am absolutely in love with my precious revolutionist. She, as all my children, is such an amazing gift from God. ;')
Family, the MOST sacred of all blessings... (recent family portrait link)
November 5, 2010
Jefferson Board of Education
Attn: Board Members
2100 18th Street South
Birmingham, AL 35209
Dear Board Members:
My child, Cammie Johnson, is gender variant. She was born a natal male, but during fetal development, there was an insufficient testosterone level during the androgen bath to adequately form male gender identity markers in the BSTC subdivision of the gender marker cells in the pituitary gland of the brain stem... which results in children with a gender identity opposite of the gender assigned at birth. This is a profound trial for these children. Research studies show that 36% of gender variant children will attempt suicide by the age of twenty if not treated with the appropriate support which entails acknowledging that gender exists between the ears and not between the legs – then raising these children likewise. Leukemia doesn’t have mortality rates as high as the suicide risks associated with this condition. The best practices that have been published in the Medical Journal of Metabolism and Endocrinology, recommend hormone blockers at stage two of pubertal development (approximately age 12 – which pauses puberty until the age of sixteen… at which time these children can make the decision that is right for them concerning hormone replacement therapy and reconstructive surgery – also recommended in cases such as Cammie’s).
I have met several other families within the state that have gender variant children. This is not an uncommon condition, but it is seldom heard of because of social “taboos” and the pressure parents feel to force gender conformity / obedience on their gender variant child. I have been blogging about our experience with Cammie since before we allowed her to live her life consistent with her gender identity. This was a very difficult time for me and I have included a blog card in the event that you would like to learn more about us, this medical condition, and the circumstances and challenges that have impacted our lives. Additionally, there is an excellent book titled “The Transgender Child” written by Stephanie Brill – if you are interested in learning more about this.
Cammie is VERY strong with strong convictions about who she is. I came home the other day and she was writing a letter to the Jefferson County Board of Education… as she put it, “about her rights”. I haven’t read the letter, but I have supported her in expressing herself and thus am forwarding it to you. Thank you for allowing her the opportunity to express herself. Please contact her back. She needs to know that she has a voice… and regardless of individual ideals, she needs to be heard.
Christina B. Pippin
Cammie is amazing, and you are truly a wonderful mom. Thank you so much for sharing these letters. They're both so inspiring.ReplyDelete
PS - It's wonderful to see a blog from you again. I so missed your writing. :)ReplyDelete
They say a picture is worth a thousand words but that falls so far short of the worth of those photographs.ReplyDelete
They brought tears both of joy that Cammie is such a beautiful girl, of that there surely can never be a moments doubt, and sorrow that my mother never got to embrace me in such a manner all those decades ago.
It is a world full of wilful ignorance but despite the trials Cammie is going through they are as nought compared to what she would suffer if she did not take this path.
I viewed some of the photos and I must say...Cammie is one beautiful young lady. Her smile is infectious and sincere. I know there is some pain in those eyes, but she seems to have such a positive nature...due in no small part to your undying support and acceptance. Let her know there are lots of us out here who share her life and feelings. We are behind her 100%. Thanks for all you do. :)SuziReplyDelete
Thank you very much for sharing Cammie's Song with me. It brought tears of joy for me, knowing that here was a child who was loved, accepted and supported for who she was by wonderful parents. Your entire family has given each other and yourselves a wonderful gift.
I know first hand how hard it can be for a transgender person to have to deny who they are. My past includes two suicide attempts as a teen followed by 12 years of very heavy drug use, and a lot of years of therapy to get myself sorted out. My transition has allowed me to find a sense of peace that was missing for most of my life. I am so happy for Cammie that she won't have to deny who she is until it becomes impossible to live otherwise.
I look forward to the day when this is seen as the medical issue that it really is and all the other crap surrounding it has fallen away. Until that day comes to pass, I'm trying to do my little bit every day to demystify it to those around me.
God(dess) bless you and your family.
Cammie is so blessed to have you as a Mom, Christina. I took a look at the slide show (of your family portraits) and taking a look at Cammie's pics, I saw a female soul behind her smile. I'm just so happy that you didn't make the mistake a lot of parents make, and try to inhibit her. The world would have missed out on what is undoubtedly going to be a strong, beautiful woman (when she "grows up"). Thanks for sharing your experiences with us.ReplyDelete
Wow! Just wow! What an amazing young lady you are raising mom. Thank you so much Cammie for sharing your letter and your lovely pictures. My daughter is a couple years behind Cammie and we are dealing with many of the same issues. Just for my daughter to know she is not alone means the world to her.ReplyDelete
I just shared Cammies letter and pictures with my daughter and her face just lit up. No she is not alone. I always think how hard this journey has been and then when I see my daughter and the happiness she displays now I realize it is all worth it.
So thank you mom and thank you Cammie for sharing and just know that you have really helped at least one other mom and daughter out here!
Melissa and Chris
Cammie, I'm so happy that your mom loves you for who you are. I'm 54 years old and just realized I was trans several years ago and started my transition. Reading your moms blogs and hearing your story is simply amazing. I myself believe in God as my Saviour and Lord and it is wonderful to see someone who loves God as well. I have many friends who are trans and feel that God despises them because of how other so called Christians condemn them. It is wonderful that you have a relationship with our Lord and Saviour. Never leave him, he will never leave you. You are truly blessed Cammie.ReplyDelete
Love Kimberly Marie Kelly
Wow... as someone who works in Youth Rights, Cammie could be a powerful voice. I implore her to go look at youthrights.org... I know people involved, and would love NYRA to focus on transgender kids rights.ReplyDelete
As a woman (36 now), who was abused in an institution illegally because I was a trans youth, (at 18) and still suffer the trauma effects both mentally and physically, 18 years later.
Having someone like Cammie who is willing to speak up for herself, and has a parent who is willing to stand by their child..can be a very powerful combination.
Also if you get a chance, check out CAFETY.org - we aim to help and protect kids who have been or are in potential danger of ending up in facilities like the one I was in... ones that abuse transgender kids in the name of "curing them" - as you well know, for many of us, this is a physiological condition - there is no "cure" by brainwashing... after giving it their try (and my own try, because they made me want to try, less than 2 years later, I was already about to kill myself... you know the numbers. I was almost one of those statistics.
Again, you are amazing. I am in awe... and wish I had had parents as understanding as you and who got it.
33 years after I was trying to push my "outie" "in" - in response to my mom explaining boys had "outies" and girls had "innies" - they still don't get it. ... and now I live as a legal female and I am a Mom myself.
I commend you wholeheartedly for accepting your child as you have. I know it's a big struggle. I have just found your blog by chance (I also have a blog up here) and I am so inspired by your little girl. If only I had the courage to come out like she did. Not as a transgender, but as a lesbian. When I did finally accept myself my family did not. I was ostracized by my own family and condemned to hell.ReplyDelete
So continue being supportive. Please tell Cammie she has fans all over.
I'm not saying my blog is kid friendly, but I recently wrote an entry about my struggle to figure out who I was... it took a love interest dying (and still a whole year later) for me to finally accept who I was... Tell Cammie there are those out there silently sending her positive vibes and I know her odds to making it to adulthood will be granted, greatly by your help and support.
Again, I want to thank you for being so awesome.