February 24, 2024

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — At age 17, Melinda Amadeo Spierer’s child, Nate Shalev, who was assigned female at birth, told her they were dating “a girl.”

Spierer, a retired school teacher, confessed it took some time for her to digest. In fact, at first, Spierer skirted around the issue. There was only superficial chatter with her child about their identity as queer.

Today, Shalev, now 33, identifies as transgender, uses the pronouns they/them and is married to their wife, Carmel. Shalev also has dedicated their life’s work to helping companies become inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community as an inclusivity expert who conducts interactive workshops and lectures around the country.

While Spierer is very proud of Shalev for all they have accomplished, it took her a decade to develop a true understanding of their identity — one that is very different from what she envisioned when she gave birth to a baby girl.

“My initial feelings, which I think parents like me would go through, is basically being surprised. I had to change the ideas I was brought up with,” explained Spierer. “As a parent, I had to do a lot of work on myself to get to the point where I had a really good, substantial, important, relative relationship with my child so I could be part of my child’s life.”
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