Ages 10-12 (Tween)IdentityLGBTQSex and Sexuality

“I Was Your Daughter, But Now I’m Your Son.”

Life has been busy Chez Phoenix, hence the long hiatus between posts. You ever have so much going on that you can’t pick just one thing to write about? It’s been like that.

The most important thing we’ve been dealing with recently is Hipster Tween’s (hereafter referred to as HT) evolution from identifying as a girl and my daughter to a trans kid identifying as a boy and my son. Their asking for chest binders for Christmas was a big clue, not that I was totally unaware of which way the wind was blowing, because Tumblr.

Last week I had a meeting at school with HT’s guidance counselor, the teacher who runs the Gay/Straight Alliance, and the district LGBTQ+ social worker. HT also attended so we could make sure and include him in the decision making processes, such as the name he would like to go by, how he would like people to be informed of the changes, how to handle bathrooms, details like that.

I am fortunate in that I live in a city that is very progressive about these things.

Quite a few people are checking in with me, asking me how I feel about this change and am I okay?

It seems like what they really mean is “are you okay with this?” which I think is meant to be solicitous, but it bothers me. This is not for me to be okay with or approve of. My child being trans is a fact, and you don’t get to have an opinion about facts. They just are.

HT is trans. HT is trans? Okay, so that’s happening. What can I do to make sure he feels safe and loved and supported? How can I make sure that the larger world, which is hostile, and even dangerous, to non-binary conforming people (see: Leelah Alcorn), negatively impacts my child as little as possible?

My main parenting philosophy has always been that HT is his own person. I provide certain guidelines so that he grows up able to function in Real Life, and the rest is giving him a safe place where he can figure out who he is within that context.

I navigate, HT steers.

I didn’t have a grand future envisioned for my offspring that will never come to pass now that he identifies as a boy. I am not thrown off-balance by my kid identifying as trans. Nothing is really going to change in terms of how I deal with him. My parenting is all about raising a compassionate, intelligent, balanced person. All I want is for HT to be happy, whatever form that might take. Happiness is not gender-specific or sexuality-oriented.

Ironically, HT is showing a great deal less anxiety about going to school now than he did last year, when he still identified as a girl. Me, I’m terrified for him. But I’m also proud of him for how brave he is being about this, especially in light of his social anxiety issues.

I’m also screwing up his pronouns constantly and calling him by the name I’ve been using the past 12 years and correcting myself. He’s being very patient.

Am I disappointed that my daughter is now a son? No.

Do I love my child any less? Hell no.

Am I frightened of what the world might do to him? Just as much as I was when he was a girl.

 

Image by ParaDox, used with Creative Commons license.

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Cassandra

Cassandra

Cassandra Phoenix is a badass librarian who writes impressive fanfic (see link above). She started out in New England, got lost, and is currently in Wisconsin, where she lives with her offspring and her cat. She’s dyed her hair more times than you’ve had hot dinners.

12 Comments

  1. February 19, 2015 at 12:32 pm —

    It must be tough.

    Not having a transgender child. You’ve demonstrated that’s not going to a problem for you in any way. What’s tough is the way you need to try to be understanding of the various framings others are putting on it. Separating idle curiosity from making a big deal out of it. Separating genuine personal ignorance from bigotry. I personally find it very hard not to see malice in everything of that sort, and I wish you continued good judgement.

    • February 19, 2015 at 3:20 pm —

      yes, I think that would be the true test of my Zen attitude about this. so far I haven’t encountered it, but I know it will happen sooner or later. I too hope I have good judgement in my reaction.

  2. February 19, 2015 at 3:08 pm —

    I love the rally car metaphor. That seems like a great metaphor for parenting. We are sitting next to them, and we warn them about obstacles, but it’s their job to steer. If they get into a ditch, they can ask for help, but we are the navigator, not the driver.
    Great article, good luck to HT!

  3. February 19, 2015 at 3:15 pm —

    thanks! I’m glad you liked the article! I’m doing my best for HT, and he is doing his best for himself, as well.

  4. February 19, 2015 at 6:57 pm —

    HT is so, so lucky to have a parent like you.

    • February 19, 2015 at 7:04 pm —

      I feel equally as lucky to have a kid like HT, who is so amazing and such an interesting individual in his own right.

  5. February 19, 2015 at 9:04 pm —

    “I didn’t have a grand future envisioned for my offspring that will never come to pass now that he identifies as a boy. I am not thrown off-balance by my kid identifying as trans. Nothing is really going to change in terms of how I deal with him. My parenting is all about raising a compassionate, intelligent, balanced person.” <– Yes. Yes. So much.

    • February 19, 2015 at 9:12 pm —

      thank you! I appreciate you reading and commenting, and I’m glad you found something you liked in it.

  6. February 19, 2015 at 11:16 pm —

    Well said Cassie. I, as his grandmother, loves him no less. I’m also getting used to the fact that I have a grandson. I am relieved that he has come to terms with it himself. I am not surprised to learn that his anxiety has lessened. I have questions for him, such as “How long has he felt the way he does?” “What made him come to terms with it?” Etc.
    When he’s ready, I would love to talk to him about my questions. Give him my love!
    You are such great mother! We are blessed to have you as our daughter! We are so proud of you and HT.
    Again it’s a great article! I wish I could articulate my feelings as well as you do!

    • February 21, 2015 at 10:35 am —

      I’m so glad that HT has a family that loves him so unconditionally! I’ll speak to him about how ready he feels about answering any questions you have. thanks! *hugs*

  7. February 20, 2015 at 3:09 pm —

    I’m really glad HT has you as a parent and that he also apparently lives in one of the more enlightened places where school sounds supportive.
    I can toatlly understand your fears, because the rest of the world is still so fucked up.

    • February 21, 2015 at 10:33 am —

      that’s the hardest thing about parenting in general, knowing that you can provide the safest haven imaginable for your kid, and letting them go out into a largely uncaring, usually hostile, world.

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