Posts Tagged honesty
Just to set the time a little, this all occurred before Jenner came out about his(her?) transition, or about the many hundreds of articles featuring trans people that have become more commonplace lately… or perhaps I’m just more tuned in because of it. I leave it as a raw first reaction of an outsider looking in to something completely new and my evolving thought process once I digested it.
A friend of mine I hadn’t talked to in a while popped back up on social media. The last time we talked was some six or more years ago when we were both finishing up degrees and then we just got busy and lost touch. Normal stuff. I was happy to hear from him and asked what had been going on. Saw some recent pics of him, and honestly would not have known it was him if he hadn’t told me. He used to be thicker, seemed taller, bigger or something. We kind of chatted about pointless bullshit and said our farewells for the evening.
Years ago when we’d last spoken, he went off to do great things with law and politics. His life seemed to be everything he wanted.
A few days later, I get a pm asking if I am around and if I can keep a secret. I am even writing about this long before posting it to give him the time he needs to do what he needs to do so my promise has been kept until after he has disclosed his intentions to those around him. Not like it matters, we never did run in the same circle much. I suppose I write because I need to. I’ve been thrust into a situation I have 0 skill or knowledge and need to verbalize the stuff that I dare not to my friend or that he tried in the best way he could and I still ended up confused.
He tells me, “I have always been a woman.”
I haven’t a fucking clue what he’s on about and think he’s trying to punk me. I asked if he meant he had been reassigned as a kid either due to malformation or something. He says no, he has just always been a woman even though he was biologically born with XY and a penis. I’m hanging onto the literal words thinking dangly bits = boy, no dangly bits = girl… how the fuck could that be any simpler? As long as I’ve known him, he hasn’t been prone to wearing women’s clothes and I doubt he could identify 10 things in a woman’s makeup bag either so the local Drag scene has never been a part of his routine. We usually bullshit about Star Wars/Trek and other geek-speak, he’s hot for Xena. He always came across as the type of person who would have been shoved in a locker as a child, if he hadn’t grown so much taller than his peers.
At this point, I’m still bloody confused. I am trying to figure out how a genetic female could have XY chromosomes and a penis and why hasn’t this been plastered all over the news by now. I ask if he mean hermaphroditism, he says “no, that’s inter-sex”. I asked if inter-sex was like the female runner who ended being disqualified when they discovered a penis during her physical (she herself did not know about it), he said yes. I’m still confused how this applies to him.
Then he asks if I’ve ever heard of transgender.
It finally hits me… he was born a boy. Physically he is all boy and just FELT it was all wrong. Word of advice for the lunkheads like me…. walk us through it like we’re two, we’ll get there eventually.
Considering he’s about my age or maybe sliding up the curve of the hill well in view of the downward slope, I asked how long he’d felt this way. He said he had always felt this way. I wanted to ask why he hadn’t done anything about it before now, but I was blundering pretty badly in uncharted territory and I’m wondering if most of what I asked was in some way offensive. I was clear about my ignorance, but told him that my questions were truly to understand. I am curious about his motivations, wondering why he didn’t move towards this in college at least where, when he reached the workplace, he would already be known as what he really wanted and not be having to risk everything to do it in the middle of his career. A career he truly loves.
Thinking about it though, it is finally at this age that I truly couldn’t give a flying fuck what anyone had to say about anything I’d want to do. I was mostly like this as a teen too, but I was kind of weird in that way. The older I get, the less I give a shit about other people’s opinions. There was at least a minute amount of me then that didn’t want to be hassled about my choices and now, I’m brilliant about going deaf if someone tries. Perhaps, this was just the perfect time for my friend to act on the choice he has wanted to make as a child but just didn’t have the internal strength to do so.
I have a problem or two with it, but probably not in how you might be thinking.
1. I think it would kill me if Spawn came to me at middle age and told me they always wanted to be the opposite gender of what they had been born. It’s for the stupidest and most petty of reasons. Since that kid came into my life, I see nothing but perfection. To mar that, to want to change that, would confuse me. Not only that, considering how close Spawn and I are… it would also kill me to have never seen that longing in them as a child and have it revealed only in adulthood. The subtext tells me I wasn’t trustworthy enough to show that side, those concerns and desires or I was too stupid and blind to see it. Like I said, completely petty.
2. I asked if his parents were supportive and he said hasn’t been in touch with them since he was a kid. Apparently, there is a lot of darkness and issues there, as he is a very reasonable and laid back type of person. It made me sad for him. It kills me that he doesn’t have the family support he should for this journey. He has supportive friends, some of which are even co-workers, but its still not family. I only hope they are close enough that the distinction is truly irrelevant.
3. I fear for his life, his safety, and his livelihood. I have read all too many articles where transgender end up intensely beaten, usually by their partners, when their secret is discovered or divulged. My friend will be informing his very conservative workplace before it happens. He’s not a fan of weapons, but I begged him to at least start carrying mace, even learning some self-defense techniques would be good. Not only was he diving into the territory of being a woman and being constantly on edge, aware of their surroundings, and changing routines regularly, but he would need to be doubly so if he wanted to be open about being transgender.
I’ve only twice ever heard mention of transgender in my own workplaces of the past, but always in the past tense. When I’ve asked why they are no longer with the company, I get sideways glances that always say “duh, how stupid can you be?” and they clam up. I know there are some laws that are in place to protect discrimination for the most part, but it is intensely hard to prove no matter how obvious.
Does any of this mean I would prefer he didn’t do it for his own good? No, I just wish I had the power of foresight so I could help him navigate it without a hitch. Not logical at all, but doesn’t make me wish it any less so.
Then there is my own confusion. From a personal perspective, I really don’t get it. I understand the words, but when I try to put myself in that situation (as this is how I often try to see other perspectives) there is a massive wall for me. I identify very strongly with my gender, and I identify very strongly as a hetero. It’s not that I’m close-minded to those who aren’t, I even understand that sexuality is a constantly evolving process and something you like now, you may not like later (Baxter-Burney, Brando, McGillis, or Turner anyone?). There are even people who have identified as one way only to fall in love with someone who completely falls outside of that category. I get it all in theory, but it has never been a factor in me.
I’m pretty rooted. My gender is so much a part of my person that I completely sucked at AD&D even. I couldn’t role-play for shit because I cannot get out of my own head and internal dialogue, so all of my characters were all very much like myself. I’m sure it was boring for everyone who played with me more than once. I didn’t volunteer for drama either unless I could just do set design, I would have been much like the pigeonhole actor who can only do one type of character… me.
Does he feel like a lesbian, bi or a hetero woman in a man’s body? He said that he had already started on hormone therapy and had started growing breasts which were becoming difficult to hide in his suit at work.
In my partying days of youth and after copious amounts of alcohol. I nearly crossed the gender fence once to see if there was any potential interest… didn’t get far before that was a big fucking pile of nope and I was out and halfway across town. I’m open-minded about what other people do, but I found out quickly that I was set in my ways about some things for myself and thus far that hasn’t changed.
Last I heard he was living with his girlfriend, how is she feeling about all this? I wanted to ask, but it truly wasn’t any of my business. Where does this position her sexuality if she sticks with him and if she comfortable with it? Does she feel like a traitor if she isn’t ok? He plans on going for full reassignment, and he’s found someone he trusts to do it, but where does that leave her? I’m thrilled for him if she is supportive, but it does make me wonder how she can do it.
If I was in a relationship and my partner tells me they want to be reassigned to another gender, for me, a big key ingredient that has made the person I love who they are is being removed and replaced with someone entirely different. It’s not just a haircut, lasix, botox (minor), lipo (minor) or any of the other (minor) adjustments (i.e. not Mickey Rourke or Jocelyn Wildenstein… that is just monstrous). It’s more like “Oh your mate was a woman, but we didn’t have anymore girl dolls, so we stuffed most of her insides into a boy doll and they prefer it this way. No biggie right?” It may be shallow but it would make it pretty unbearable for me. I would not know them anymore, the person who didn’t like the meatsack they had and felt the need to completely switch it around didn’t exist before they told me and acted on it, so again… I don’t know them or I would have known that too, no?
So maybe that is the entire point. If I knew this about them in the beginning and they become my partner through it, it would be different. But having it dropped on me out of the blue? No, I don’t think I could linger. It would feel like being introduced to a stranger and mourning someone who used to be but didn’t really exist.
I would sincerely wish them the best, but it would not be something I could stay in a relationship through as it would feel like all of it up to that point had been a lie, as though they had been starring in a play but forgot to tell me I was just a part of the fiction. I don’t assume actors are anything like their on-screen personas, inversely, I would like those close to me in life to not be acting a part, even if they think doing so makes me happy.
As a friend, whatever he wants that will make him happy is what I will root for. He knows he has a long road ahead of himself and it will be hard, but he desires it in spite of it. If that is his dream, then he should have it and I hope in spite of my ignorance I can be a decent avenue of support for him should he need it.
I’m still not calling him “she” until 1. the dangly bits are gone OR 2. he actually dresses in full feminine attire (as proper Drag Queens are, of course, “ladies”). I like being literal, it helps me understand and differentiate… we briefly argued about “dude, then you weren’t born a woman, you were born feeling like you should have been, that’s different.” but he wouldn’t deviate from the statement above. I’m not sure if that is a counseling thing to help him identify more thoroughly during the transition, but it makes it terribly confusing for people like me who are completely stupid about it and need small words and concepts to grasp the meaning behind it.
Hmm, I really want footage the first time he tries to apply makeup though. 🙂
I’m going to leave all of that there since at the time, it was my honest take on something I didn’t have much exposure to and I felt addressing questions that should NEVER be asked of someone I know to this forum since, well, I’m just letting my thoughts run. If anything, maybe it will help those transgender know what the rest of us are thinking. We are stumbling the fuck over offensive thoughts, but we are truly trying to get it.
My friend made the announcement some time back and has removed all pictures of herself from before the “unveiling.” I am seeing more confidence and fierceness in her posts and it feels like I’m meeting a facet about her that has been nonexistent until now. She sounds happy, a lot happier than I have ever seen.
I read something not too long after I wrote this that explained a lot about what I wasn’t getting and right now I cannot remember if it was twitter or tumblr but they said something to the effect that transgender is “being one gender, but looking so much like the other you’re forced to pretend that’s what you are.”
At first, I read that and said “huh?” but then I came back and stared at it and put myself in that spot in this scenario. I know my gender deep in my soul, but what if I just had all the looks of the opposite sex… so much so that those around me and their reaction to my appearance were causing me to have to play a role I wasn’t comfortable being in, hated being in.
Ok, now I get it. I’m still stumbling over dumb bullshit because I’m too damn curious for my own in so many ways but at least I do understand my friend. She has always been a woman. Finally after pretending for all of her life, she doesn’t have to pretend anymore and that alone is cause for celebration and sad that she has had to wait so long just to be herself.
It’s safe to come out now! I have managed to shake all of the sand out of my “Big Girl Pants.” When g2 and I decided to start our blog Idioglossia our intent was to create a place where people could anonymously, and truthfully vent their issues without all the constraints of political correctness. I am pleased to say it really works! For those of you who missed yesterday’s post (be glad it wasn’t pretty) I was completely filled with a large dose of I can’t get over myself anger. I will not lie to you, and say that I’m okay with all of the events that lead up to my enraged rant, but I can honestly say that throwing it all out there in my post definitely helped!
I was so beyond angry, then something really great happened. Thank you momoseita, Blahpolar, and g2 for taking the time to respond to my little rant. It was so great to purge the whole angry mess, but even more helpful to read your perspectives on the whole situation. Between the three of you I managed to calm down, cry a few tears of remorse, and finally burst out into laughter! Leaving me in a much better state of mind over something I can now see was much more about hurt than anger.
I will need more time to deal with my feelings towards the hijacking of the wedding issue, but I can at least see the possibility of being able to deal with all of this from a place of humor. This makes me feel so much better. So as the wise song once said “We Get By With A Little Help From Our Friends.” 😉
The days are long gone when the talk of “the birds and the bees” was literally “the talk.” Today’s version is the much more complicated “the birds and the bees, death, and disease.” Instead of “the talk” (still dreaded by parents and children alike) it’s “the talkS.” This is the point where I apologize for my subject matter because I know many of you will disagree with the things I am about to say, particularly those of you with strict religious beliefs.
I am in no way implying that my viewpoint, and approach with my own now adult children is the only right way to address the following issues. I firmly believe that there are many ways to do something the right way, just as there are many ways to do things the wrong way. Parenting just like relationships are extremely private, and decisions regarding what is right for those involved can only be decided on an individual basis by those who are in those relationships.
My husband and I decided very early on that protecting our children from the harsh consequences of early sexual experimentation took precedence over our discomfort with having sex talks with them. We do not subscribe to the idea that educating children at a younger age on sexual matters causes them to engage in sex earlier than they might have if we had chosen not to educate them. We taught our children right from the start the correct names of their anatomy. We taught them that they were in charge of their bodies. That their bodies were important, and as they grew their bodies would go through very natural changes in their own individual timing. We reinforced a sense of privacy along with the concept that just like we don’t share our toothbrushes, our underware, or our drinks with others, we also do not share our thoughts on these subjects with other children. We explained that only parents were allowed to teach their children these matters. We told them that they could ask us anything they wanted to know regarding these matters because we would make sure to give them the correct answers.
From preschool through elementary school our many conversations ranged from proper labels, privacy, the differences between the genders, good touch & bad touch, using your instinct as a trusted guidance for what felt right and what felt wrong, self-respect, and respect for others. We also explained to them that it was natural to be curious about your own body, but that it was a very private thing just like going to the restroom. It was perfectly okay but something we do alone. The more we talked the more they shared their thoughts and the things their friends were telling them. I will not lie sometimes you just wanted to cringe and revert back to the good o’ days of our childhood and push the subjects off to another time, but we stuck to the plan and the talks became great tools for educating while removing the sense of shame regarding these subjects.
Then came the middle school era. This was the point where we left the anatomical explanations straight into the reasons why people have sex, who they have sex with, masturbation, gay sex, straight sex, sexual abuse, pregnancy, diseases, proper ages to engage in sex. The list just like the complicated nature of each subject was endless. Subjects I believe many people put off way too long living in the comfortable but highly false world of “my kids aren’t aware of those things yet,” believe me they are aware, and some of their friends are already engaging in sex at this point! We did not want to slip into the world of denial. The harsh consequences completely outweighed our desire to run and hide. We live in a world where unplanned pregnancy was actually the best thing that could happen. Diseases, reoccurring outbreaks and symptoms that can become a permanent part of your life, and worst of all the ones that can end your child’s life! Predators who may be strangers, but in most cases our people we know and trust. Even worse parents today are dealing with all the extra exposure technology can bring into your children’s lives. Sex is everywhere and by nature we are all naturally drawn to sexual behavior.
We chose to stick with our plan and answer every question as openly, and honestly, explaining every possible scenario we could think of trying to keep morality and, respect at the forefront, while leaving shame out of the picture. We told them that the only way to be completely safe was to abstain, or through self masturbation. We told them that the majority of people engage in sexual acts just because their bodies have matured. We told them that the mind takes longer to develop sexual maturity, and that masturbation was the best solution to deal with natural urges because people should be completely aware of their own bodies, as well as, the fact that it gave their minds more time to catch up with their body’s sexual maturity. We told them that attraction was a very individual characteristic where they would discover if they would be attracted to the opposite sex, the same-sex, or maybe even both sexes. We told them that we would love, and respect who they were. To always have respect for other people’s individuality. That the only important thing was to be safe. We told them that no one who cared for them would hurt them or try to persuade them to do anything that would make them feel shame in any way. We talked about the many ways people do engage in sex including oral and anal. We bought latex contraceptives,oral contraceptives, including the dental dam (for oral vaginal and oral anal sex). We opened them and demonstrated how to properly use them. We had them demonstrate usage. We made sure they knew that if those contraceptives where not latex then they would not prevent disease. That they should be used even during foreplay, with no exceptions! We explained that if you are not comfortable using and discussing protection you are not ready to have sex. We made sure they knew that even with protection you are not 100% safe. We explained what could go wrong with contraception including tears, accidental removal and expiration dates. We told them that they were responsible for always having their own protection, never to believe that it’s someone else’s responsibility. We kept a drawer well supplied with all contraceptives in our bathroom with the understanding that it would always be there and that this meant they could never endanger themselves.
By the time high school came about we had reached a level of trust and openness. Both children were upfront about their decisions to have sex. I know as parents we would like them to wait until they are older and more experienced with their world. The truth is that the majority of young people today rarely make it to high school without having a sexual encounter. As parents we felt that our job was to protect and educate our children in every way possible. We have been confronted with a great deal of opposition and disapproval regarding our parenting choices regarding sex. I can only tell you that our choices were the right choices for our family and that we have no regrets! 😉