BOOK REVIEW: Calm Canadian mom counsels transgender child—and the rest of us: I Promised Not to Tell, by Cheryl B. Evans
While we Americans seem stymied by the hate speech which divides our country, we might well pause, take a deep breath of cool, Canadian air and heed a cue on the contentious transgender issue from our neighbors to the north. Confronted with a daughter who had felt and dressed like a boy from early childhood, preferred sports to dolls and who at 13, wished she were a boy, Cheryl B. Evans and her husband crisscross their country in search of experts who can help the family solve their dilemma. After much study, prayer and consultation with their child, they all agree that sex reassignment is the best way to proceed. The book resulting from their journey into the unknown serves as a fascinating history of how this well-meaning family, not unlike yours or mine, faced this stark diagnosis and moreover serves as a manual for anyone confronted with a similar issue. The intelligent role played by school principals. medical professionals and even the government of Ontario province further sets an inspiring example for all of tolerance, behavior toward each other and public service we should all try to emulate.
No one in this family, including their elder daughter, escapes doubt, emotional conflict and the fear of hateful judgment visited upon them by self-righteous critics acting in the name of God. Deeply religious herself, Evans read the entire Bible (it took her seven months) to see whether these pious people’s claims were really His word—and found much evidence to the contrary. She concludes that the key to understanding these sacred texts lies in their interpretation with wisdom and love.
On the issue of bathroom choice in schools, the author comes down on the side of common sense. She advises, and Ontario law supports, a student’s use of the bathroom of the gender with which he or she identifies, in dress, interest and activities. While some are quick to object that a person born male who identifies and dresses as a girl might pose the threat of sexual aggression. in a female preserve. However the risk has always been present of an actual cross-dressing predatory male enters a women’s rest room and invades a locked toilet stall. But Evans points out that such an incident involving a transgender student occurs so rarely in schools and is so unlikely as to be a non-issue.
The proof of Evans’s approach still lies ahead, but their new, transgender son was able to enter high school in a nearby, different district as a new person, has never been happier nor more successful his studies and looks forward to his third and final sex-change surgery with brave anticipation. This book is well-drafted in a brisk, readable style and should be must reading, not only for those families with a transgender child, but for all of us, so we may understand, accept and relate to such individuals in a normal, friendly and healthy way.
Until next time, good words to you,