(The real story presented by a mother and her son)
By Tami and Grayson Omdahl
Attended and written by Rorie Chinnock
Grayson was born as a 29 week pre-mature 1lb. 10 oz. infant girl with a cleft lip and palate named Grace. Grace went through about 20 surgeries to repair the deformity. At age 10, Grace got her period and had issues with body issue dysphoria. She started wearing looser, sporty clothes. She hated her body image. Her plan was that she would be a boy when she grew up! When she turned 12 she started using social media and referred to herself as a boy named Grayson. She continued to be depressed and withdrawn using cutting as a way to ease the pain. The summer before 7th grade Grace tried to be a girl for 6 weeks, cutting hair, wearing earrings, dressing in girly clothes. It didn’t work. Grace was a boy trapped in a girl’s body!
Once Grace started 7th grade she explained to counselors at school and parents that she wanted to be a boy and once everyone knew, Grace (aka Grayson) became happier. Concerns Grayson had were “Will my parents still love me?” or “Will they send me away?”
Grayson was transgender which means a person whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. Gender identity is a person’s internal, personal sense of being a man or a woman. The transition from Grace to Grayson has many steps. The first thing to happen was a boy haircut, which Tami (Grayson’s mother) made it real for her. They contacted a Transgender Clinic for support and medical help in making the transfer. Legal things like name changes, contacting school, changing passport also have to be done. Determining what bathroom to use in public and changing of gender pronouns, such as he and him to refer to Grayson are additional changes.
On the medical side, Lupron, a puberty blocker, is an IM injection given every 3 months to stop periods and breast development. At age 14, Grayson was started on Testosterone as a weekly injection which will deepen voice, grow facial hair, cause breast atrophy and distribute weight differently. In the future Grayson will be having top surgery to remove breast tissue and the bottom surgery as described by Dr. Nicholas Kim to create a penis. None of these surgeries can happen until after 18 years of age.
This was such a fascinating topic to hear about and all the speakers were great. A mom’s advice to the group: “Don’t ever apologize for who you are” and “Be confident with who you are” and “Be proud of yourself” This was a wonderful take away thought for our members at the conclusion of our Spring Workshop. I hope everyone learned something from this conference and to become more culturally competent and aware of this growing population.