Writer Lia Celi and her son’s transition: ‘Roman was born in the wrong body’

Lia Celi is a journalist and writer. She has written satirical texts for Cuore and Avvenimenti and collaborated on TV programs such as Pippo Kennedy Show. She was married to journalist Roberto Grassilli. She has four children. Today in La Stampa she tells about Roman’s transition: I speak for myself, mother of a trans boy. When Roman gave me ‘the talk’ everything would have been expected except my stunned look. According to Roman, an enlightened mother like me should have known that transition is first and foremost internal. The endocrinologist comes in much later and the surgeon later still, or even never. Celi says that according to Roman she should not have flinched at learning that her daughter had never been an adorable tomboy.

Mother’s Transition

She had always been a boy but in the wrong body. She did not understand, and perhaps cannot understand even now, that for me the shock was not so much what she intended to do with her body (she was of age and responsible for her choices). As much as having to suddenly change myself, my outlook, my narrative, and my discourse about him. Even retrospectively, he explains. Now she, too, was facing the transition of motherhood. His younger brother and sister, on the other hand, were already calling him by his chosen name and with the right pronouns. Not only had they understood everything before me, but they had always heard Roman as a boy, even when he had long hair and a birth name. Their transition (because all family members have to make it, in their own way) was easier than mine.

I finally don’t get pronouns wrong anymore

The story ended well: Roman finished high school only four years ago, yet it seems like another era. But what makes it far away is mostly the fact that today he knows who he is and what his place in the world is. Through MIT in Bologna he is completing his transition and will be able to change his identity documents in March. And it was already Roman for the professor he graduated with in November. While finally seeing a serene child is a satisfaction for any parent. Even more so if he is studious, handsome as the sun and engaged. I have an additional satisfaction, though: I finally don’t get pronouns and endings wrong anymore. A sign that my transition is also going well.