In this letter to the religious school where he works as an educator, Noa Bourke uses humor, wisdom, and honesty to help the parents and young children in his community better understand his journey to trans identity. This letter can be adapted for other educators who want to communicate about their transition to families and their kids, and by the educational leaders who want to support their staff in their transition.
By Noa Bourke
Once upon a time, there was a little person named Noa….
A week before my fifth birthday I knew what I wanted:
Now some people may feel that children don’t know where their heart lies. Kids are expansive creative souls that bound out of the rules around gender. Some kids are steadfast, reflective, and always thinking…and I do mean ALWAYS thinking….
I was one of those! Always plannin’, schemin’ and generally problem solvin’.
I figured out how to sign up at recess for baseball not softball, to get the bike with the semi-truck on the chain guard and not the pink seat. I learned to play the pirate and not the princess and I learned that if I wrote ‘Mr.’ in front of my name- I felt better. So I did. (A lot!)
My mom recently showed me a story I wrote about a peanut butter-and-jelly eating dragon who bowled..(I bet you want a copy, eh?)
At six I had signed it ‘Mr. Bourke’.
Some things change, Others… not so much.
Which brings me to my recent birthday.
I turned hmm in February and someone asked me what I wanted. Here’s the list:
Some things DO in fact change.
Is it really a change?
I decided that it is time to dress and be legally identified, as the gender I have always known was the best fit. I have never wavered; I have never felt differently.
For me, it’s an outward shift to match my inner Noa. I will be glad to “fit” into my life in a more authentic way. I won’t have to flip flop pronouns when referring to myself to make it work for others.
I can just be me 🙂
Many people who know me may be thinking, “Yeah, this doesn’t seem too far off from the Noa we know…” And you would be right. It’s just me talking here.
Some of you might be thinking, “What does this mean- for us, for our kids… whoa… this is a bit out there!” It doesn’t mean a big change for anyone. I prefer male pronouns, and I will have a cool slicked back haircut until male pattern baldness kicks in.
No comb overs I promise.
When your young kids notice and ask, I will tell them that I wanted to dress in clothes that felt like a good fit – and I found them! If they ask about my mustache I will say that I think I look like a super hero with it.
I kinda think I will too!
If they ask if I am a man now, I will say, “Yes. I acted like a woman for a long time but it didn’t feel like a good fit, now I am living as a man and it feels like a better fit.”
“Just like clothes that are too small, or too scratchy or just the wrong color. When I act like a woman I feel like I am in a play, when I act like a man I feel just ‘regular’.”
It’s a simple thing, and the kids will hear and see overwhelmingly that I am the same person they know and either love a lot or not so much depending on if they are wasting time by the drinking fountain during class time!
Transitioning to be the gender in your heart is a slooooow process. This gives people time to become comfortable with new pronouns. It also gives me time to find the best Mustache Trimmer on the internet.
That’s about it. Seriously, that is the whole thing. You can tell your kids that Moreh Noa is going to be himself every day – just like they should!
If you feel moved to support me in my transition, a fist bump will do. If you really want to show your love- start working on getting that M&M machine!