How A Weekend At Transgender Camp Changed A Mother-Son Relationship

How A Weekend At Transgender Camp Changed A Mother-Son Relationship

WBEZ brings you fact-based news and information. Sign up for our newsletters to stay up to date on the stories that matter.

Storycorps Outloud tells stories from the LGBTQ community. This week we hear from a mother and her transgender son, about their relationship and the summer camp that changed his life.


It’s time now for “StoryCorp’s” OutLoud Initiative, recording
conversations about LGBTQ lives across America. Today we’ll hear from a
family in Tucson, Ariz. Chris Lopez always knew there was some a little
different about her youngest child. Although assigned female at birth,
he always felt like a boy. At Storycorps, Gabe Lopez, now 8 years old,
talked to his mom about how one weekend at a camp for transgender kids
helped to transform his life.

CHRIS LOPEZ: Do you remember when things really changed for you?

GABE: We went to a camp, and I met three best friends - Luke
(ph), Brock (ph) and Cooper (ph). They were all transgender like me, so
they all wanted to be boys. Brock taught me how to pee standing up.

LOPEZ: (Laughter) And that was huge for you, right?

GABE: Yeah.

LOPEZ: That’s why I said we’re bros. We know each other.

LOPEZ: Do you ever get scared about what it’s going to be like to grow up transgender?

GABE: I’ve been wondering if when I’m older a lot of people will try to hurt me or something. Or…

LOPEZ: Like, if they find out that you were born a girl and they have a problem with it?

GABE: Mm-hm.

LOPEZ: You think that they might try to hurt you in some way?

GABE: Yeah.

LOPEZ: Were you ever worried about telling me that you were transgender?

GABE: Yes.

LOPEZ: Did you ever try to tell me and then change your mind?

GABE: Mm-hm.

LOPEZ: How many times, do you think?

GABE: I think, like, four times.

LOPEZ: Four times.

GABE: I was worried that you liked me as a girl.

LOPEZ: Because we used to have a lot of fun?

GABE: Mm-hm.

LOPEZ: Do we still have fun?

GABE: Mm-hm.

LOPEZ: So it doesn’t really matter if you’re a boy or a girl, right?

GABE: Yeah.

LOPEZ: I didn’t know that you were dealing with that on your own.
 If I’d known, I would have tried a little bit harder to have that
conversation with you and maybe start it myself.

GABE: Um, do you worry about me?

LOPEZ: I worry about how other people might treat you. And it
makes me upset to think about what you might have to go through. You
amaze me every day. And you can tell me anything, anytime, anywhere, and
 it won’t change how much I love you. I’ll always have your back.

GABE: Thank you, Mom.


MARTIN: That’s 8-year-old Gabe Lopez with his mom Chris Lopez in
Tucson, Ariz. Their interview was part of “StoryCorps” OutLoud, which is
 recording the lives and stories of LGBTQ people across the country.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.