In 1997, Les (L) and Scott (R) GrantSmith’s marriage was on the rocks. They had been together for 10 years and were raising two children. But Les was hiding something.
Les was born female but felt like a man in the wrong body. Les is transgender.
Keeping this secret made Les fall into a deep depression and grow withdrawn from the rest of the family.
Finally, Scott confronted his wife, and the GrantSmith family changed forever.
Les also spoke with his daughters, Thea (R) and Amanda (L), about what the transition was like for them.
Click here for the transcript.
Les GrantSmith (LGS): You can't leave it like that. So, that's when I told you.
SGS: First thing I remember is that you, you said that you were in the wrong body, that you should be a man.
LGS: And if it had seemed to me that I was going to lose you, and I was gonna lose the kids, I would have said, "Ok. I'm not transitioning." But you told me that we'll work it out.
SGS: Early the next week, you were on the computer and you were researching all of the surgeries [LGS: Surgeries], the hormones [LGS: Hormones] And I just freaked out. It finally occurred to me to ask the question: Should I stay or should I go? And um, my visceral response was: Well, I won't be better off. Les won't be better off. And the kids won't be better off.
LGS: Amanda was 7 at this point, and I explained to her where this was going. And she burst into tears and threw herself onto my lap. And she says, "Oh please, don't change into a man. If you have to change into anything, couldn't it be a cat? [Laughs]
And that was not a question I had prepared myself to answer. [SGS: Laughs] I mean, I was kinda stunned. [Laughs]
SGS: So right around that time, you had started transitioning and we just kinda fell out of holding hands when we were walking along the street.
LGS: Spontaneous affection, we couldn't do it comfortably any more.
SGS: A lot of it was me because it became clear that I would be perceived as gay. But at one point I realized that I didn't fall in love with a couple of body pieces. I decided this is the person.
LGS: And I was still the same person.
SGS: More so. More like the fun person I remembered from 30-odd years ago, than before the transition.
LGS: Right…right. I mean…it's just been amazing to watch you. You stuck with it. You persisted. And, every year my respect for you grows and grows.
I love you. [SGS:I love you]
Thea GrantSmith (TGS): My name is Thea GrantSmith.
Amanda GrantSmith (AGS): I'm Amanda GrantSmith. I'm 18 years old.
Les GrantSmith (LGS): Do you remember the conversation where I told you I was transitioning?
TGS: I think I was 11, right? 10, 11…
TGS: Yeah. I was really worried about you not wanting to be my mother anymore. So it was pretty intense.
LGS: Did you guys ever feel like maybe it was your fault, that, something that you guys had done?
AGS: You made that pretty dang clear that it had nothing to do with us.
TGS: What were you most concerned about when you told us?
LGS: Well, you know. Girls learn how to be women from their mothers. And um, I was terrified that I was gonna totally screw you up. And that, you wouldn't be comfortable in your own skin and… My only defense against that in my mind was to go, They'll see love and have that be what makes a relationship work.
TGS: So…And this is a little scary for me to ask. Were you ever prepared to not see us again? Or…
LGS: No. That was never, ever an option. If it had looked like dad couldn't have handled it and if it was really freaking you out, it was always my promise I would stop.
TGS: Dad said, like, when he was explaining it to me, we'd talk about it sometimes, it wasn't going to help anything if he left. He got over anything that was in him that told him that this was wrong, or that he couldn't do it, or that it would be too hard. He thought of me and Amanda and you. And, he made the right decision.