Maybe it was the ultrasound tech sneaking you a peek. Perhaps you could hold long enough until the birth to hear the doc say “It’s a BOY/GIRL!”
The bedrooms are pinked and blued, the gifts from friends and family are frilly or tough. The definitions of gender are entrenched in our rituals of raising our children.
But what if those definitions don’t sit well with your child?
How would you react if your 9 year old daughter really wished she was your 9 year old son?
For Nicole Oskam, it started when her daughter, Anneke, was 2. They went shopping for big girl underwear to use as a reward for potty training. Yet even at the young age of 2, Anneke didn’t want the pink and frilly panties. She wanted the Superman ones. Nicole dismissed the demands as Tomboy-ish, but they never went away.
At the age of 9, when most girls would be sat down for a talk about the changes that would soon start happening in their body, Anneke started hormone blockers to prevent those changes from ever happening.
Anneke now goes by the name of Cory, and last week Cory told a very big story to the world on his 16th birthday. Cory stood on the ice at General Motors Place in Vancouver alongside his namesake, Vancouver Canucks goalie Cory Schneider.
Canucks.com broke the story of The Two Corys in a brilliantly moving essay.
“I went into high school not who I am, but being in grade 10 now I feel very much like part of the high school,” said Cory. “I felt like an outsider, now I have a great support system and a great group of friends, which I’ve never had before. Life is great.”
As an advocate on issues of homophobia, transphobia, bullying, intersectional violence, and discrimination in schools, Cory is a role model in the community and speaks frequently at events. He was preparing to give a talk at the Dare to Stand Out Vancouver conference on January 21st when his mom dropped the bomb about skating with Schneider and the Canucks. He somehow made it through the presentation and didn’t keel over from anticipation before arriving at Rogers Arena.
The experience is all a blur for Cory now. He remembers the thrill of skating onto the ice, meeting Schneider and standing beside him for ‘O Canada’. That’s about it.
Cory hasn’t had any surgeries; he may consider that later on. For right now, he’s happy finally being comfortable in his own skin.
The story of The Two Corys has already caught the eye of Patrick Burke. Burke is the son of former Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke and the President of You Can Play, an organization that promotes the acceptance of gay athletes.
On the @vancanucks article, major credit to Derek Jory for his excellent grasp of the issues involved. Great job by him.
— Patrick Burke (@BurkieYCP) January 29, 2013
The reaction by the Twittersphere? Two negative tweets in a sea of hundreds of support. The cause is personal for Burke, his brother, Brendan, was a college athlete and manager that had come out just 3 months before he died in a car accident. Patrick and Brian have taken it upon themselves to make locker rooms a safer place for gay athletes.
My wife and I have talked of how we would/could/should support our two sons with whatever life choice they choose to make. There’s no question, they will have our unconditional support in any life choice.
Still, after reading this story, I wonder how I would react if, in 3 years, my son told me he wanted to be my daughter.
I mean could you find the strength to give your 9 year old the time to discover his/her true self by administering hormone blockers? That takes some courage from all sides of the family and stands as proof that “it gets better.”
Image courtesy Jeff Vinnick / Vancouver Canucks