Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Hard Stuff

I recently wrote a post in response to the not infrequent comments my husband and I get about how incredibly difficult this journey must be for our family. The only thing that makes it truly hard, right now, is the lack of acceptance or the ignoring by family or friends. A transsexual woman commented on that post that I must really know it is actually quite hard for Kegan (or will be as she ages). I wanted to address that.

Certainly, I know it is so hard to be transgender. I am totally aware of how difficult it is to be a girl with a penis (as much as I can be aware, as a girl with a vulva). The other day I was explaining to Sean about why, as a girl, I don't have a penis and had to stop because, well, not all girls have vulvas...some of them, like my daughter have a penis. I get it. It is actually really hard.

I know that my daughter is part of a community who has an astronomical suicide attempt rate. 41% versus less than 2% for the general population. That thought crosses my mind daily. Daily. I am constantly aware that my daughter has a close to 50% chance of attempting suicide simply because of who she is.

Unemployment is higher among trans* individuals. My daughter could be fired from a job (if she was old enough to have one that is!) in many states just because she is transgender. Getting a driver's license photo taken is not just about trying to smile in time for the DMV customer service rep but convincing him or her to allow you to look like you look on a daily basis. It is not easy to be transgender.

Do I worry about who will love my child? My only hope is for my kids to be happy and safe in life. Who will love this flawed human being who by the way also has a penis but is actually a girl? Will she be a lesbian? Will that make physical love easier? I have no idea, I am utterly ignorant on how to help her figure all this out. Will she be straight? Will there be a man who is comfortable with non-traditional sex to love her enough as she is? Does it make me sad (and stunned) that at not even six years old I am worrying about my child's future sex life? It does. Worrying about her marriage prospects. Worrying about people accepting her not only today, but next week, next month, next year, when she is 14, 16, 18, 22, 33, 46, 57, 63.

When my daughter is 89 and living in a skilled nursing facility will the world be kind to her? Will the caregivers be polite to her and call her Miss Kegan while giving her a bath and seeing her penis? Will they be mean behind her back? Will some of them refuse to care for her because she does not meet their norms? Will some of them not answer her call button when she needs help because of who she is? My daughter is six and I literally worry about her end of life days when she is an old lady. How messed up is that? Thanks society!

Have we lost family and friends who can't accept her? Yep. Do I dread the day she figures out that it hasn't just "been awhile since we saw certain people"?  Yes. Do I fear the day she discovers she is not as "normal" as we have led her to believe? Do I wonder nightly if we should be telling her more truth today so it won't hurt so much tomorrow? Or is it right to keep her innocent, to build her strength and boldness now while our opinion is the only one that matters to her? Do I cry over my fear of not having the right words to help her when someone rejects her? I do. I do.

I question every decision we make. Most parents do that. I question ours purely because I want to do the right thing (like all parents), but also because if I screw this up my baby might try to kill herself. Do I wonder at what point I have to tell friends who don't know...what about sleep overs? Do those moms have a right to know that my daughter has a penis if their daughter is sleeping next to her at age ten during a slumber party? I don't know. I want it to not matter. But in our world, it sure seems to matter a lot.

I feel so sad that my daughter won't be able to carry a child under her heart if she desires that. Do I question if we should freeze her sperm  if she decides to go on hormone blockers before puberty? I crazy is that? She is five! Five and I am it possible for a ten year old to masturbate to produce sperm for freezing so she might be able to have her own biological children one day? It is completely crazy.

So I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, this is hard. And as hard as it is for me, it will be ten million times harder for Kegan. But...the actual part of having a trans* kid...that is not hard. All of the above, with the exception of fertility, is directly responding to society. To the lack of acceptance by society. If society would just accept a non binary gender spectrum, if society would just be willing to evaluate the real problems in life (I made a small sample list on my post) then none of this would be hard. It would be a journey like any other life journey. Filled with joy, misery, love, heartache, sorrow, happiness, peace, anxiety. It would just be the "simple" life everyone has. Society makes it hard. People not accepting others makes it hard. The trans* part itself is not the hard.

I suppose ask me in 10 year when she is 16. Maybe I am speaking too early. But for right now, this is where I am. And all the hard comes from one place...the world. Never from my daughter's true self.

I think I might sound angry at my commenter and I am not. I am angry though. Angry that this conversation even needs to be had. I am so angry that my daughter will have a harder life than she needs to. I am angry that all these worries and fears come from people being unaccepting. I am thankful the commenter pointed out it is really hard for her and it will be really hard for my daughter, But I already knew that (sadly). I just wish the origin of what makes it hard could be solved. To do that we need to fix society to accept all human beings where they are right now.


  1. Jeremy's still sorting out his gender although I have a feeling he'll end up between male and female and I'm already worrying about how our family will react. Not disowning worry, thankfully that's not an issue, but I'm reasonably sure they're going to figure he's lost his mind. And if he changed pronouns to something more neutral, they wouldn't even try to understand or use those pronouns. And that's just family.

    Sigh... some days bubble wrap seems like a viable option :(

  2. Forgot to say. I haven't really done much research seeing as Jeremy's already well into puberty but I'm pretty sure hormone blockers just stop puberty from starting and don't cause infertility; it's the actual hormone treatment that causes the infertility.

    I did find this page that has some information (just nothing on infertility):

  3. Yes, bubble wrap should definitely be on our "must have items" list. Why is it always back ordered?

    Also, thanks for the info on hormones. I keep reminding myself I have a good three years before they are an issue. So I have only picked up casual information on them, this is settling to me, so I appreciate you sharing it!


The more we educate and have open dialogue, the safer our world becomes. Please share your thoughts, be honest, be brave, be kind. I can't wait to hear what you think!