Sunday, June 29, 2014

Not SO Hard

Having a transgender child is not easy, but more importantly it is not “incredibly difficult,” “SO hard”, “very challenging,” or “unimaginable.” I am tired of people attempting to sympathize with me by telling me, “I can’t even imagine how very difficult this must be for you.” I am declaring right now, right here, this is not hard. I don’t mean to imply it is easy, because there are days it is not easy and I imagine in future days it will be not easy. (Oh, yes? Is that you puberty? We were expecting your call.)

Here is what can be classified as SO hard:
-your husband dying suddenly when your youngest child is 12 months old
-being diagnosed with terminal cancer at 8 months pregnant
-being told your infant is facing a life or death crisis
-taking care of your paralyzed father while raising a child
-spending night after night in the hospital caring for a loved one: young or old
-losing your job without having a big savings account
-being told it is time to consider hospice care for your child who was healthy until two days ago

Those are some example of what is really hard in life. I have either personally faced those things or have had friends or family deal with those situations.

Having a child tell you, “I am a girl,” when for the first five years of that child’s life you thought she was a boy is certainly not easy, but let’s be realistic it is not hard.

Along the same lines, having a transgender child is not a big problem. It is not a crisis of epic proportions. Yes, there are times it feels like an acute crisis, the transition period can be dicey at best, but life gets back to normal. Life goes on more or less as before. You still have a child, you still have a child who loves x, y, and z and still won’t eat Brussel sprouts. (Ha, ha, my kid actually will eat Brussels sprouts. Aren’t I lucky?)

Here are some things that are actual problems:
-the United States is currently flying armed drones over Iraq. That is a problem.
-a 17 year old girl and her 30 year old husband were beheaded last week by their families because they married for love versus by family dictate. That is a problem.
-40 children die every year because they are left in their carseats on hot days. That is a problem.
-Students and teachers are not safe in their classrooms and school hallways because we have not infrequent school shootings. That is a problem.
-There are children in this world who will starve to death this week. That is a problem.
-There are children in all of our neighborhood’s or at least our cities who will go to bed hungry tonight because their last meal was at school at lunchtime. That is a problem.

Those are problems. My daughter having a penis is an anatomical difference. it is not a problem. Trust me, I am living this life. In the grand scheme of actual real problems, a penis on a girl is pretty low level on the ranking of problems.

The only thing that makes having a transgender child hard or a problem is that society tells us it is hard and it is a problem. The only thing that makes it hard is when a “friend” tells you she will still love your child while referring to her by the pronouns “he” and “him” and her former (male) name. (See, again, that is society!) The only thing that makes it a problem is when your family is uninvited to an event because it is “too embarrassing” to explain who your child is. (Embarrassing to explain to who? Yep, you guessed it: society!) The only thing that makes it hard is when people can’t accept that not everyone is cut from the same fabric as themselves.

I have always been amazed by our ability to make problems out of nothing, to make a small difference or a mild atypical situation into a FEMA grade disaster. If parents, and society in general, would accept one simple fact: All people should be able to be who they are and each individual should be allowed to determine who he/she is,” then we could actually deal with the real problems in the world and my amazing trans* kid would not be at risk for rejection or suicide or made to feel there is something wrong with her. And people could stop telling me how hard our life must be.


  1. I really don't get people sometimes. I was at a dinner with friends last week and their daughter commented that her ex is trans* and now identifies as a girl and is going by [name]. Less than a minute later she referred to her by name and her parents said "Who? Oh, [male name]". They proceeded to refer to the youth as him and he for the remainder of the dinner and their daughter soon did as well (while saying "I don't know why I'm saying he).

    How hard is it to listen to people and accept them for who they are? I didn't think a three letter word like "she" was that hard to remember.

    Jeremy's autistic and I've had similar conversations. He's alive, bright, and healthy. So he has a few quirks, we all do. That's not a tragedy. I agree, people make too much of a fuss over things that don't make a single bit of difference to their own lives.

    1. Why can't we just accept people for who they are, where they are, and then move on? I don't get it.

      I think re: the autism, people so don't get it. When you have a child who is considered "off the perfectly health" path in any way, people think it is such a tragedy. I think it just teaches us that healthy is awesome, but happy is WAY, way, way better and more important!

  2. This describes pretty well how I feel about being transgender, too. Yeah it's not easy, but I can deal with it. I don't have cancer, I don't have HIV, I'm not starving, no one's dropping bombs on my city— being trans really isn't that bad.

    Not that bad, but still a lot worse than it needs to be, thanks to all the unnessecary societal challenges compounding the nessecary biological ones.

    1. So really isn't bed, why would it be? The lack of acceptance is what makes it hard. If we could just get people to open their minds and hearts, being trans* would be no different than being a girl who likes to play hockey...not the most common thing, but no big deal either.

    2. What a great post! You tell it like it is and like it is isn't always nice is it? I think to myself about people who simply find difficulty in accepting others, 'What makes you so special? What exactly is your problem?' Well I have to say, the problem is within themselves. Sweetheart, you are doing it right and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Bless you.

      Shirley Anne x

  3. With due respect, I think you may have come out a little early with this one, perhaps it doesn't seem hard now (at her age).

    As for a girl having a penis not being a big problem, try being the girl.

    Worse than having the penis though (later in life, when the penis thing is resolved) is what we need to feel whole (like 99% of other women), but will likely NEVER be able to have.

    I wish life was a simple as your post, but sadly I don't believe (and I'm pretty sure you don't either) that it is.

    Why would you be here and writing this.

    My only advice (not that you've asked for it) is believe NONE of what you hear and even less of what you see and the less attention and drama and sensationalism you and manage, the more pleasant life will be for both you and her (in the long term)

    Best wishes to you both

  4. Shirley Anne - thank you!

    Orthodox Transsexual, I totally know it is hard. I am writing a post that is basically in response to your comment. I thank you for pointing out it is hard, but I already knew that. Sadly. I think though all the hard, or 98% of it, stems from society being non accepting. Please read my next post (I will hit publish later, I need to proof it one more time!) and let me know your response. Thank you.


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!