One Mom’s Journey from Clueless to Kickass
In 1992, Julie Tarney’s only child, Harry, told her, “Inside my head I’m a girl.” He was two years old.
She had no idea what that meant. She felt disoriented even trying to process it. Wasn’t it her role to encourage and support her child? But surely she had to set some limits to his self-expression—or did she? Would he be bullied? What kind of guidance would he need? Could she do the right thing? And what was the right thing?
The internet was no help, because there was no internet. And there were zero books for a mom scrambling to understand a toddler who had definite ideas about his gender, regardless of how Nature had endowed him. Terms such as transgender, gender nonconforming, and non-binary were rare or nonexistent.
Lacking a positive role model of her own, and fearful of being judged as a mom who was making her son “too feminine,” Julie embarked on an unexpected parenting path. Her toddler Harry became her most enlightened teacher. She learned to rely on her instincts. She listened carefully, kept an open mind, and as long as Harry was happy, she let him lead the way. At the same time, she learned to think differently about society’s expectations that children needed to fit neatly inside a gender box that was either pink or blue. As Harry turned 21, she looked back on the early years realizing that today she might have done a few things differently.
While progress in LGBT equality continues to be made, it can still be a challenge to find accurate resources and educational support. Julie can bring this and more to companies and organizations looking for a genuine, accessible and knowledgeable voice to advance LGBTQ+ inclusion and diversity.