Sunday, June 2, 2013

Proceed with caution

I mentioned yesterday my paranoia about DJ's anonymity.  I blame myself for some of my paranoia because of a decision I made almost two years ago to share my identity in my local area.  A big mistake I think.  I thought it was coming from a wanting to be brave like my daughter, but I failed to have long-term perspective.

There have been a handful of folks who have successfully transitioned and are "flying under the radar", meaning their former lives have been left in the past.....or so they thought.  With today's technology, outing someone publicly is so easy, as is getting access to someone's past.  This haunts me-there are yearbooks with JD's picture in them.  What if, for the sake of argument, DJ went on to become some well known long would it take before some @$$hole, with an axe to grind, who is jealous of her success, to float the pic of JD out on the net?  Or worse:  What if something I posted on my blog comes to light that serves to out her?

I didn't understand that there are even people in the LGBT community who might find it useful to use her success story to their advantage, even if it means causing her accidental harm.  Damn those rose colored glasses that I wore for too long!!!  Thankfully, I have a friend who has shared her perspective about the importance of caution.  Thanks to that Australian lassie!

We encourage DJ to look outside of our town for schooling and for job prospects, as well as social outings.  This has worked well for her and she is considering even driving a bit further out for school next year, as well as for a part time job.  There is much more acceptance in the area she is considering.  This upcoming year, while attending community college, she will start planning for a four year university to complete her studies in music, most likely.  Then she will be able to spread her wings more fully.  But I will likely always be looking over my shoulder for her.  I don't want her to worry about such things, so Bulldog and I will instead :)  We'll caution her to be selective about what she shares but I think she's savvy to the importance of discretion.  We all continue to learn....

Parents who are new to this:  be cautious and guard both your privacy and that of your child covetously.  At the same time, do not beat yourself up about not thinking far enough ahead.  (I will attempt to listen to my own advice!)  Your child may have an, "I don't give a damn what people think; I am who I am," perspective, out of fatigue from living a false life for so long.  It's SO understandable, but you MUST guide them until they are of age to make an informed decision for themselves.

However, there are some brave parents who are going public with their outcry on behalf of their very young transgender children.  These folks may be the exception but I'm not sure, personally.  I admire their courage, and think that their children will fare well since they transitioned so young that very few will get as "outraged" when the only "proof" that can be produced of the child's previous life is a picture of a gender neutral appearing five year old.  Let's face it, remove the trappings, i.e., clothing and haircuts, and most children appear somewhat androgynous when looking at their little faces.  It's when a picture of an "obviously" male or female person is juxtaposed against a picture of the person living as his or her true self that people tend to react to because the "difference" in gender seems more "obvious."  That's the nature of our very visually-oriented society.  So, these parents of very young children may be where one of the answers to societal acceptance lies.  We are more empathetic to a child who appears somewhat androgynous.  But who knows how their kids will feel 20 years from now?  It's too soon to tell, but I for one will not find fault with them.  I would only remind any parent who is raising a child who may be subject to deliberate or accidental misunderstanding and ridicule to proceed with caution, while being quick to forgive themselves if they make a mistake.  My thoughts are with you <3.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

It's Graduation Day....sorta

Long time, no chat.  This is largely because I fret about DJ's anonymity.  In fact, I often feel paranoid about it, but that is a potential topic for another time.

Today, high schools all over the place are holding their graduation ceremonies.  We've experienced this twice with Goodwrench and Romeo but will not be experiencing it with DJ.  Yes-she has officially graduated high school, but no, she is not taking part in the graduation ceremony at the high school from which she officially graduated.

This is a decision that she made, and Bulldog and I support.  Had she decided to "walk" on graduation day, we would have supported that, too.  It was a long and tough haul getting her to this point:  she went through three hospitalizations in 18 months, one of which to bring her outers in line with her inners, the other two related to stress and eating disorder.

I feel sad today but hope that this is the last milestone that is markedly different than what she might want.  I'm trying to be positive.  There have been so many other celebrations she has missed because she was hidden, then so many more because she wasn't accepted, the prom and graduation among them.

Dynamo was kind enough to remember us today stating that DJ's name was in the program and that she saved one for us.  She has been an unbelievably supportive and loving friend and mentor for DJ and for me.  I am so touched she thought of us today.

When DJ made the decision, she stated, "I really only went there for one  year. I don't feel a real connection to it."  Understandable, certainly.

She's our last to graduate.  When Goodwrench and Romeo graduated, it was exciting and fun to see them cross the stage and celebrate with their friends afterward.  I wanted that for her and for us.  Getting DJ to this point was a much greater challenge than it was for her brothers because of social dynamics and medical considerations.  A celebration is even more warranted for her, in my opinion.  We're having a party for her, a rather small affair, at her request, and then a few days after that, she'll be heading overseas to see Apple in the company of Sister Chromatid, so she won't fare too badly, I don't think.  But I'm still lickin' my wounds a bit.  Maybe it's just for fact, I think it is.  DJ seems to be nonplussed by this and spent the afternoon hanging out with a friend she met at community college.

It helps realizing that this is one of the last milestones of youth that she will experience differently because of her former life.  That's not to say she won't have other decisions in the future related to her previous life, but there is nothing else to stand in her way for college, or jobs, or parties, because high school was the last vestige of her previous life.  She did, we did it.  <Big SIGH of relief>