A Mother Talks Heart to Heart about Raising a Transgender Child

posted by Letha Dawson Scanzoni

August 24, 2015

What is it like to be a mom raising a young transgender child?  Through a blog called “Gendermom,” Marlo Mack hopes to increase our understanding by sharing the everyday life she and her transgender daughter share together. Mack has also produced a cartoon video called, “How to Be a Girl?” (worth watching as she tells their story in seven minutes through simple drawings), and she also produces podcasts under that same title. Here is one such podcast, titled “The Interview”, in which Marlo Mack (her writing pseudonym) interviews her daughter at age six about being transgender.

In another interview with both daughter and mother on Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls website, Marlo Mack spoke of her own questions and struggles over what the construct of gender really means, pointing out that she herself is not a “girly-girl” and has sometimes worried about fitting in to society’s expectations and definitions about what femininity is all about. She told the interviewer, “I’d always felt a little bit bad about — or sort of insecure about — the fact that I didn’t really like wearing skirts or dresses but somehow I was supposed to like that; I was supposed to feel more comfortable with it. And my daughter really helped me kind of claim my pants-wearing self. My kid kind of gave me the permission to explore my own gender and be accepting of who I am and how I want to dress, and not worry about if it was feminine enough. And I didn’t even realize I was feeling insecure about it until she came along! So yeah, I hope people can see that this is just not about a minority of the population who’s like Caitlyn Jenner or my daughter. What they’re struggling with, what they’re grappling with and exploring, is so wound into the rest of us.”



Letha Dawson Scanzoni
Letha Dawson Scanzoni (1935-2024) was an independent scholar, writer, and editor, and the author or coauthor of nine books. In 1978, she and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott wrote Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?, one of the earliest books urging evangelical Christians to rethink their views on homosexuality (updated edition, 1994, HarperOne). More recently, Letha coauthored (with social psychologist David G. Myers) What God Has Joined Together: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage (HarperOne, 2005 and 2006). Another of Letha’s most well-known books is All We’re Meant to Be: Biblical Feminism for Today, coauthored with Nancy A. Hardesty (Word Books, 1974; revised edition, Abingdon, 1986; updated and expanded edition, Eerdmans, 1992). Letha served as editor of Christian Feminism Today in both its former print edition (EEWC Update) and its website for 19 years until her retirement in December 2013.


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