do I keep my pre-transition journals on the doubtful chance I might want them to look back over when I’m in my 40s?!
When my son, “H”, came to me as a teenager and told me he was “Bi”, my response was something like, “It’s natural to explore your options, but you’re too young yet to know exactly what your orientation will be” A few years later, when he informed us he was transgendered (FTM), my reaction was one of shock and grave concern, as well as denial. As far as I could remember there were no signs throughout his early childhood that hinted toward anything but “girlishness”.
When requested, I agreed to attend a therapy session w/ “H” and his therapist asked me to acknowledge and address “H” by his new chosen name and I could not. And hated his therapist for supporting the decision to transition. My husband and I were in agreement this was a very poor choice with possibly devastating consequences. Being somewhat “old fashioned” we viewed the “presenting problem” as a clinical condition, pertaining to only a miniscule percentage of the population. Our other children, of the new generation, were much more accepting, almost accustomed to the concept of “gender bending”. I guess the situation could be seen as a ripple effect of parents and their adolescent children in the 1960’s. We really had no clue why it could possibly be O.K to switch. I spoke to my psychologist about my severe distress. His response was basically “What can you do?” This initially enraged me until I later came to learn it was true. Then I had to contemplate how this change might possibly be integrated into our family’s lifestyle. I questioned how extended family members could possibly be accepting if I couldn’t even do it myself. The first sign I noted as a step past denial was purchasing a men’s suit, acknowledging some level of acceptance while still grieving the loss of my daughter with a freshly broken heart. After college graduation, I was informed that top surgery would be a prerequisite to entering the work-force. I initially resisted with all my might, but was finally able to really listen, given more than enough coaxing. So we figured out a way together to come up with the money for surgery. That’s also when I was able to viscerally release my monstrous grief. You would have thought I was more upset about losing his boobs than I was about losing my beloved daughter. That was a few months ago. For now, I still occasionally slip up, using the wrong pronoun or using the given name, especially in an instance of reminiscing those childhood days. But, in contrast, I am finally now comfortable introducing “my son” in social situations. So we continue to transition, and I continue to witness in awe, my son, coming into his own. God bless him. He is very brave. He’s been very patient with us. At least I know he knows that his family loves him with all of our hearts no matter what may come.
I just heard about an excellent alternative to the term, Sex Reassignment Surgery:
Two timesin the past week, I have been able to tell loved ones that
ASKING ABOUT A TRANS PERSON’S GENITALS IS RUDE, OKAY?
in a polite, firm manner. I proceeded to answer their question anyway because, as my loved ones, my answer did sorta kinda pertain to them—in that they will come and visit me while I recuperate.
But seriously, this urge to “educate the cis people” is ridiculous. It’s taken me almost two years to get to this point where I can say it’s rude to ask. Usually I either dance around the question or answer it in a matter-of-factual manner. I’m pleased to have gotten to the point where I can almost refuse to answer.
However, people shouldn’t be asking this question in the fucking first place.
i feel this person
Some real talk about hrt in this video.
There’s always a lot of pressure from cis folks, and from other trans folks, to tell our stories in ways that garner legitimacy from cis culture. And that often means keeping our doubts, our pain, and our struggles around identity and transition tightly locked away. And I think the video clip they show is a really powerful example of what that pain can look like.
I know there are trans folks who would argue that we should keep the nuances of our experiences “under wraps” because to not do so will somehow “harm the reputation of our community” and “make people not take us seriously” and “make it impossible to get equal rights!” but honestly I call bullshit.
All that keeping ourselves “under wraps” does is isolate us further from each other, instill shame in ourselves, show a 2-dimensional and “universal” narrative to the world about our vastly varying experiences, and make “equality” (in the most neo-liberal sense) possible only for the most privileged (white, gender-normative*, class-privileged, straight, men, citizens, etc.) trans folks out there. And we all know that kind of “equality” doesn’t fucking trickle down.
And on a slightly different note, I just wanted to add a little something to the video.
At one point they say “If you’re unsure about taking testosterone, don’t take it.” In the first place I agree, and support the message. Trans folks should never feel pressure to change our bodies in order to demonstrate our genders or our “transness”. Nor should we be considered any less of our genders if we choose not to go through HRT, or we are unable to access HRT. And we should listen to our own feelings of unsureness. I think that’s really really fucking important.
And also, I think it’s important to open up space for people who feel unsure about hrt, and still move forward with it. Because that is also totally legitimate, whatever reasons might be driving you.
It’s totally legitimate to start HRT as a means of surviving in cis culture. Those pressures are real and you have every right to handle them however you see fit.
It’s totally legitimate to start HRT while feeling complicated or conflicted about it.
It’s totally legitimate to start and stop, or to only want certain changes.
It’s totally legitimate to regret starting HRT.
We’re people. We’re fucking complicated and we all have very different experiences and none of us are any less of our genders because of that. We are the experts of our own lives and we don’t need other folks telling us how to interact with our bodies or how to tell our stories.
*gender-normative as in masculine trans men and feminine trans women. better words?
I officially have all three letters needed to get top surgery.
I’m turning them all into PDFs and calling for a consultation tomorrow.
With all this rage and happiness going on, how the hell am I supposed to get homework done?
Whatever. I should finish digesting dinner and have a solo dance party.
My psychologist called me this evening. I am dropping by his office at 3:10 p.m. tomorrow after I have tea with a friend.
Would you like to know why I am stopping by his office, dear Tumblr?
I’ll give you a hint: it’s not a bad thing.
- become part-time student, work, get line of credit, move out
- live at ‘home’, suffer for two years, graduate with bachelor’s degree, get a job, move out
- move in with dad, still experience birth names/pronouns but maybe have more progress?
- quit university, become a barber, work, move out
- yell at mother, become (more) depressed, tell her “if you don’t want a son, you’ll have a dead daughter”
my mother is going to freak when she finds out I am planning my top surgery. what to do, what to do.
not sure if i can ask my parents again to use my chosen name. it hurts so much to hear no.
opinions, thoughts, experiences, love, suggestions welcome.