Zhe by Karyn Elizabeth was an idea born of necessity, an idea that came to be after trying to help my daughter navigate finding appropriate and comfortable under garments.  The intimate apparel industry is truly lacking in options for the transgender community in general and especially for trans women.

My daughter shared with me that she was transgender late December of 2014, she was 20 years old and home for the holiday.  The day she was leaving, she sat me down and told me she had something important to discuss.  As she sat on the couch, it was so obvious to me that she was struggling to gain courage to open up to me.  As I sat and waited for her to tell me, what I can only imagine was a practiced speech, I was shocked but not truly, I was hurt that she must have been hurting for so long and I was guilty that I didn’t see her truth to alleviate years of pain and anguish.

After she got out her story, I remember telling her “I don’t care if you’re purple, you’re mine and I love you.  But you have to tell Dad.”  I felt that it was her story to tell, not mine and that it was important for her to tell him herself.  I texted my husband, and told him to get home immediately, that no one was hurt but it was important for him to leave work and come home.  As he walked in, obviously nervous what was coming, he sat down and Lily repeated her speech, almost verbatim.  I will never forget his response, he literally said “I don’t care if you’re green, you’re mine and I love you” 

This, of course, is not to say we did everything right and the world was easy.  We hit many bumps and there were lots of lows along with the highs.  The important thing is that there was always love.  As a parent, I did my best to support, accept and respect my daughter, in hindsight I know my mistakes but am also aware they were all decisions made from a place of love and I also don’t truly regret them because without the mistakes I would not have come away with the knowledge I have.

I want to share with you, my new family and community, who I am and invite conversation.  I’d love to hear from other parents, learn your trials and tribulations, your ups and downs.  I also would welcome insight and conversations from transgender and gender non conforming/non binary folx, your voice is of the utmost importance and I’d love to share your comments, thoughts and dreams.

The Future is Inclusive, anything else is unacceptable.