Sunday, October 12, 2014

The HAZARDS of Facebook

I just sat down with my morning coffee, and checked my email to note that another friend from another part of the world had noticed that DJ had deleted her Facebook (FB) account.  Juliet and I had just brought that up with DJ the night before.

Interestingly, a mom of a transgender son, with whom I correspond, also wrote about FB this week sharing how a "friend" had posted some mean-spirited and exclusive drudgery that applied to this woman's son, but indirectly.

I, too, have been struggling with the negative drag that FB often causes....

DJ, Juliet and I have all been struggling recently with the nastiness that FB now regularly includes. People actually spend their precious time looking for obscure "data" that supports their (usually exclusive) agenda, create a meme and then post it, inviting others to "share."  What a terrible misuse of the word "share," now that I think of it. I just don't get it.  Spreading the word of injustice is important but that isn't what's occurring here.  What is occurring?  We all know what it is-complaining, whining, bitching, pissing, moaning.  That's ok-I can piss and moan with the best of 'em.  The issue is that they do it at someone else's expense!!!

The other aspect of FB that I think is alienating is the "social" aspect-especially when people don't make efforts to be "social"-or choose to be "social" to a few people and disregard others.  It's like being in grade school, and seeing that nearly everyone in class has received an invitation to a birthday party, except you, and a handful of others.  Being excluded is hard enough; when it becomes public, it's just plain humiliating. No one denies a person's right to "like", or "share" or "comment" or even invite whomever she wishes-but is it necessary to make it public?  Do people not care about the impressions they leave?

If I were at a party, and I made a point of talking to nearly everyone except a friend who was certainly within earshot  multiple times through the night, and I didn't even make eye contact with her, that would certainly send a message to her. We hide behind the impersonal nature of FB, while pretending to be personal, and it allows us to be rude and hurtful, anonymously.  While we think we're being social, we're actually being socially lazy. We pretend that by clicking the "like" button we're actually doing something meaningful.  And maybe that simple acknowledgement is meaningful, sometimes.  But it's not like we're going to raise money for cancer treatment by clicking the "like" button.  The "like" button can really only go so far in maintaining a "friendship."

But maybe we don't want to really maintain friendships so much as give the appearance of doing so so that our "friends list" is really impressive looking.....hmmm.  That's worth pondering.

Bulldog said something to me many years ago that has been replaying in my head recently.  I'd just come out of a rough bout of drama with a friend of mine, who despite promising to cater my wedding, dropped out at the last minute when I wouldn't lend her $7000, despite the fact that I'd already lent her $1000 and paid her kid's tuition to a private school.  Needless to say, she is no longer my "friend" and perhaps never was in the way that I had thought.  But that's another, probably boring, story!!  Bulldog and I had just gotten married, moved thirty miles away to a new town, into a new house and he said to me, "We have a new start and I think we should surround ourselves with people that we deserve to be around."  Or something to that effect....

So, I took a hard look at my FB "friends" and realized that I needed to clean house.  I didn't want to delete them and give the appearance of rudely snubbing them, I just didn't want to see their regularly occurring alarmist, unfounded, often mean-spirited, and exclusive posts.  So, I blocked them and I feel better.

The other issue with FB is there is quite a bit that's disingenuous.  People are staging their lives to appear interesting for FB.  People are missing out on the here and now so they can take the time to upload their photos of their fabulous lives to FB.  Don't get me wrong, some photos and comments make my day.  When my sister posted a photo of one of her daughters with her second and third fingers in both of her nostrils, I laughed out loud and re-viewed that photo multiple times throughout the day.  But the disingenuous nature is obvious to some of us and bothersome.  All the more reason to consider blocking those "friends" too.

DJ didn't go into detail as to why she deleted her FB account but confirmed her reasons were related to what I've shared here.  Juliet and I sympathized with her.  DJ is way ahead of her mother on this issue.  She doesn't "need" FB like many of us do.  We can pretend we don't "need" it, but giving it up is like going without your morning cup of coffee, or your glass of wine in the evening when your kid is throwing the fifth temper tantrum of the day.

Put it this way-if your dog had a run-in with a skunk and smelled of skunk, would you let him in your living room?  No.  You wouldn't get rid of your dog, but you might have him live in the garage, or the basement, until you can get the smell out of his fur.  So, I've put a bunch of FB friends in the garage.  I know where they are; (for all I know, I might be in someone's garage, as well!!); I can still send a message if I choose.  I can let them back into the living room whenever I want....or not. In the meantime, my house doesn't stink.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Hoping for "L"

DJ had to give a presentation in her communications class last night and she came home on cloud nine.  She decided to talk about the concept of universal consciousness and used the double slit experiment to demonstrate her thoughts.  You can check out the double slit experiment at:

Then, last week, she and I took a short little road trip to visit a Buddhist temple, complete with a Zen garden.  It was her idea, not mine, and she invited me along.

This evening she walked in the door talking about a long-term goal of opening a school that offers an enlightened form of education where a person either passes, or needs improvement.  Her ideas were much more detailed than that, but her point was the importance of emphasizing the journey of learning.

I like how her brain works.  I love how she's willing to stretch herself.  I love her bravery.

Which reminds me of the bravery of a woman I've been in contact with who resides in the UK.  She transitioned fairly recently, as an adult in her 40's.  In our most recent correspondence, she wonders whether her decision to transition is too late.  I tell her it's not and I believe it, but how can I possibly speak to this?  How can I comfort her while she experiences her (rightful) experiences of loss? I can imagine that I might entertain the same thoughts and feelings, especially as this gradually more accepting world allows people like DJ to be who they are, at all, or decades earlier than people like this lovely woman.   Like so many women that I have been fortunate to hear from, who transitioned later in life compared to DJ, she cheers for young people who transition early while she simultaneously is reminded of the time she's lost.

I want to cheer for her and remind her that she has so much life left ahead of her, but she has complications that only an adult who transitions in adulthood can fully understand which might make my reassurance ring false in her ears.  It took DJ over four years to feel more comfortable in her skin and I hope that my friend just needs more time in her new life to feel more at peace with her previous life not being all she hoped for, and frankly, deserved.  I'd like to know that she has moments of revelry in being a woman like I've been blessed to witness in DJ.  I shall hope for her. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Darling and Sprite

It's been a long time since I've written and I'm not sure why I feel compelled today.  Listening to my gut is something I've learned to value in my increasing age, however, so I will listen once again this morning.

There's a new show on Amazon called "Transparent." I watched the pilot and it seems like it might be a good show.  I came to know about this show because Romeo and Juliet's good friend from college came to visit and shared this with me.  (Romeo and Julie live with us for the time being as they attempt to find decent jobs and save some money.) This good friend, who I will refer to as Darling because he is both physically and soulfully such, is gay.  He has not come out officially to his parents, although he thinks they suspect.  Their solution to his homosexuality was therapy, initially, so you can imagine that he will never share that some of this theatrical pursuits have included roles in drag.  Darling is one of those men who is not transgender, nor transexual, but does seem to enjoy the aspects of cross-dressing when he plays the role of a woman.  Frustratingly, to this woman, he looks better than most women when he is in drag!!!!

Darling shared this with me as he is a staunch supporter of DJ, naturally.  I say "naturally" not so much because he is gay and therefore more accepting of other marginalized people, although that's true, but more because Darling is naturally more accepting of anyone because that seems to be who he is.  He and I have had some remarkable conversations, some of which pertain to the topic of the transgender subject, and DJ specifically.

As a result of my sharing some of our story with Darling, I am reminded of what a remarkable journey it's been, and still is, with DJ.  The first few years were pretty rough and I frankly am concerned that my blog may have made light of our struggles.  The last thing I would want to do is paint a glossy picture so that other parents who might read this would worry that their child isn't doing as well as DJ seemed to be in my blogs.

There were so many days that I felt hopeful and I wrote prolifically on those days.  There were many, many, many days where Bulldog and I were full of despair as we watched our darling girl struggle, hurt, self-destruct, only to try again and not give up.  Some days were very dark indeed and in desperation, I acted out on more than one occasion; to his credit, Bulldog never did, however.

The worry that parents experience is double what they normally experience with their children whose insides and outsides match.  Parents whose children have other significant challenges may understand this dynamic, as well.  Raising children who are pretty much the norm is hard enough; raising children with special attributes is harder.  To be a "good enough" parent for most kids is simply "good enough."  To be a "good enough" parent to a child with special attributes or special needs requires the parent to be more than "good enough" and it's not easy.

It's important for parents to know that when you falter, and you will, as long as you continue to love and accept your child, you have not failed.  If you failed to love and accept your child well, you are permitted another chance to try again, in most cases.  Most kids (even adult kids) just want their parents to love and accept them.

DJ is doing quite well but it took four and half years to get here.  She recently came off of her mood-stabilizing medications and is doing well.  She actually took a road trip to see a friend at college and had a great time. We will call this friend "Sprite" as she is a tiny little person with a joyful personality despite some devastating personal losses.  Sprite has been a wonderful friend to DJ and we were worried about her leaving for her college which was three hours away.  But it doesn't seem to deter their friendship and it's provided DJ with an impetus to strike out on her own a bit more.

She continues to love physics and loves learning. This has sustained her in many of her dark and lonely moments.  Music, learning, physics were her friends many times, when her other friends deserted her.   It sounds sad, and in some ways, is sad; but her resilience was in finding solace in these friends, for which Bulldog and I are grateful.

Know that this parent of a transgender young adult is always thinking of other transgender kids, and their families, as well as transgender adults who are finding a way to conduct their lives and be true to themselves.  All of you folks are an as yet undiscovered wealth of strength and information that others would be lucky to embody.  Peace to you all and I will be in touch again.

Friday, April 18, 2014



I've been blessed, yup, that's right, BLESSED, with forming pen pal relationships with two moms because of this blog.  One fantastic mom lives in Australia.  Her daughter came out to her family in the last couple of years and they are definitely plugging along well.  The other fantastic mom lives here in America, I believe somewhere along the east coast, and her son came out somewhat recently and they too are sticking together as family.  I am so lucky that these women are sharing their stories with me, and that I get to share mine with them, all because of our remarkable children. Maybe someday, the three of us can all meet up someday….and perhaps include a fourth English woman who is remarkable, as well, having transitioned in her 40s, quite bravely and, it seems to me, elegantly. I hope she knows who she is :)

In the interest of helping other transgender teens, adults and family of transgender folk, the American mom forward me a couple of links that are definitely worth sharing.  The first is a "Ted Talk"-I'm not sure if these are popular in other parts of the world, but they are fairly popular here in America.  Remarkable people share their stories…..

The other is more distinctly American:  it's a petition requesting that we get away from the binary gender identification requirements.  I gotta tell ya, unless you're trying to sell something, why do you need to know my gender?  Really?  It's just another way of attempting to label folks or put them in a box.

It's spring here in America.  Many religions have significant holidays this time of year, and with good reason as it is a season of birth and rebirth.  And for many folks, often the rebirth is more significant than the birth itself…..Peace to you all.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Love > Hate


The following doesn't address transgender folks specifically, but does address that families come in all shapes and sizes.  The members of the family do, as well.

Love is always at least ten times greater than hate.

Saturday, March 22, 2014


DJ is always tweaking her fashion style.  This is usually a reflection of how she is feeling any given day.  She is nearly 19 years old-her birthday is less than two months away-and can now wear certain items of clothing that Bulldog would have frowned on previously. (He is still not thrilled, but acquieces to her choices.)  A few weeks ago, on getting new glasses, she decided to don clothing to match her new look-sort of;  she normally wears contacts, but keeps a pair of glasses to give her eyes a break.  Typically, she doesn't care to wear her glasses to class or out in public.  But this time, she had chosen frames that gave her a studious look.  So, she donned a black bustier, which she wore over a white collared shirt, and added the studious looking glasses. She posted a picture on FB stating a friend christened her look the "sexy librarian."  (Yes, Bulldog was elated…..not.)

This morning, on returning from grocery shopping, I walk in to see her wearing the following:  a black turtleneck that is normally meant as cold-weather athletic attire, black leggings and black shorts over the  leggings.

"Is this your 'secret spy' look?", I asked.

"Yeah….(self conscious giggle) I guess so.  It's so beautiful out I took Keira (our German Shepherd) out for a walk and then did some yoga out on the deck,"  she replied.  This, to explain her attire, I suppose.

She's entering a "battle of the bands" at college in the next few weeks and is fretting about which song to choose.  She looks at me as if I have the answer...

"Don't ask me-you've written tons of stuff and I can't remember which is which."

DJ says, "Well, I've only written a few really good songs."

"Well, then, that should narrow it down for you, right?"

Not the answer she wanted to hear, I guess.

While she continues to scour through her prolific creations, I will begin our vegetarian dinner.  Wait, why isn't she cooking?  She's the vegetarian!!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Another one bites the dust

And another one falls…..

Here in America, despite our Constitution clearly stating that no state can pass a law that inhibits the rights or privileges of any of its citizens, we still have many states that are attempting to pass laws that prohibit gay and lesbian people from marrying.  Kentucky attempted to do just that, somewhat recently.  However, the Kentucky Supreme court struck it down;  a Kentucky citizen wanted to appeal the decision….this was the Attorney General's response:

For those folks not familiar with this part of America, Kentucky is in the "Bible Belt" and oftentimes, those states would prefer laws that were more in keeping with their Christian religion, even if those laws violate the Constitution.  Often, the argument in defense of this is that our "founding fathers were Christian" which is true;  however, those same founding fathers deliberately separated the powers of the church from the powers of the state when they agreed to the wording of the First Amendment of the Constitution.  The fact that this separation was part of the first amendment speaks to its importance.  

Discrimination is a losing battle.  It's not dead in the water yet, but it's certainly gasping for air.  Take heart and remember  Martin Luther King, Jr.'s words:  We shall overcome. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Weekend at Bulldog's

We at Transitioning Family are always on the lookout for links that might be helpful to the GLBTQ community, as well as to loved ones of that community.  We are fortunate to have a subscriber, who is a great mom to her son who just came out to his family recently;  she passed on a link to a book that might be helpful to teens in the GLBTQ community:

Big thanks to Swan!

We, at the house of Bulldog, had a great weekend.

DJ woke up with her hair looking like the Greek guy on the show Ancient Aliens.

So, she posted a pic on FB, similar to the one above, denoting just that.  Love that girl!

She has also completely won over a family friend.  We'll call this guy Warrior Doc because he is both a soldier and a physician's assistant.  Romeo, Juliet and DJ all think he looks like a Jedi from Star Wars, because he's pretty imposing looking.  Tall, handsome, piercing blue eyes, shaved head and goatee-like beard, he's also disarmingly quiet until you get to know him.  He and Bulldog met through work.  Both men have been through some harrowing events in their line of work and Warrior Doc spent many weeks with us between tours in Afghanistan.  He is now safely settled stateside, thank goodness, and we see him every so often when he comes to spend a weekend with us at our place.

Warrior Doc didn't know DJ was transgender until a few weeks ago when Bulldog shared it with him.  I had mentioned to Warrior Doc that DJ "came out" so he thought I meant she was lesbian. He asked Bulldog, stating it didn't matter to him one way or the other, but was curious.  Bulldog shared DJ's coming out story and Warrior Doc adores her even more, I think.  And the best part is how much DJ loves Warrior Doc.  She makes him laugh and he cracks her up, as well.

Warrior Doc is a big favorite with Goodwrench, Romeo and Juliet, as well.  And I think he likes being around our kids-the first time I saw him really laugh after 18 months in Afghanistan, was playing a game called, "Cards against Humanity."

This game is crude, socially unacceptable, and therefore, very much enjoyed in our household.  That was when all members of our family gelled with Warrior Doc-our kids made Warrior Doc laugh out loud, which made them think he was the bomb.  And I think Warrior Doc may be one of DJ's biggest music fans.  He likes to be supplied with her latest compositions.  Good stuff-no?

We all ate too much, played games and watched movies until 2 in the morning.  It's no wonder DJ's hair looked like it did!  To know that girl is to love her ;)

Friday, March 7, 2014

LGBTQ-friendly Nun

Does your family struggle with religious fears about your "non-conforming" gender identity?  Do you struggle with a loved one's gender identity? This article is about a Catholic nun who seeks to remind people that God loves us all regardless of who we love, or whether our bodies and senses of self differ from each other.  If God created us in His image, then why are there two "official" genders and not one?  And if there are two, might there be more?  Or none?  Isn't it possible that God is neither male nor female, or perhaps both, or having aspects of both?

If you believe in God, then why limit God?

This woman is inspiring-trangender people need to know how many are championing their cause.  Please spread the word….

Many thanks to my sister-in-law, Malone, a practicing Catholic, for sharing this.  We love you lady!

"Brother, can you spare a dime?"

I was tooling around on FB and am a subscriber to the "Give A Damn" campaign at and came across an article about some folks that are rehabbing a row home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for LGBTQ youth who are homeless due to family rejection.  It's a two bedroom place and is expected to house up to 8 young people between ages 18-21.  They are 10% of the way to their goal of $40,000 to fix the inside of the house up to be suitable for use.

Every little bit helps-if you care to donate, go to the link below:

The numbers of young LGBTQ folks who are homeless solely because of family rejection is disheartening.  These kids are someone's babies….maybe we can be the village to help raise the child.  Please pass the word…..

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Selectivity in choosing professionals

I heard from Disc Jockey this week, which was wonderful.  She informed me that she has been seeing more transgender young folks recently.  This is quite encouraging-parents are realizing the importance of taking their kids to the right people.  The wrong therapist can be disastrous to a transgender person.  Recent changes in the WPATH standards of care indicate that therapists are NOT meant to be the "gatekeepers" of access to hormone therapy or surgery, but rather are meant to assist the transgender person as they navigate the process of transition.  Therapists who are experienced with the transgender community, its challenges and the challenges of physical transition, understand this.  Those who aren't, simply may not.  After all, we do not expect podiatrists to understand how to take care of a person in cardiac arrest…..or do we?

Who is called over the intercom when a person's heart stops beating?  "Is there a doctor in the house?" is frequently broadcast in those instances.  We all think that all doctors are experts in all issues related to life and death and they are not.  A doctor who works in a pediatric practice seeing the typical variety of sick kids may not have worked a cardiac arrest situation in YEARS.  Doctors have their own specialities, and once they specialize and begin to practice in their specialty, they may not be as likely to be skilled in other specialties. Take CPR for example-the science and technique has changed multiple times in the last 2 decades.  If a doctor hasn't taken a CPR class in recent years, he may make incorrect treatment decisions.  This applies to therapists too.  They also will specialize in certain patient populations.  It's worth doing the searching to find the right one.

Please visit the following link for a sanctioned list of therapists who are experienced and skilled in helping transgender people:

And guess what?  Many therapists are using Skype for visits.  How awesome is that?  It's still face to face therapy in real time.  This can make your lives easier and open more options to those of you who don't live in areas where experienced therapists reside.

Back to Disc Jockey-she indicated that she's working with an 18 year old who is scheduled for rapidly upcoming gender confirmation surgery.  I prefer this phrase, that Dr. Christine McGinn of the Papillion Center coined, in lieu of the term gender reassignment surgery, as it seems more appropriate and accurate. After all, you are born with the gender(s) you are, or are not, as the case may be.  The surgery provides outward confirmation what you already know to be true.

This 18 year old is nearly identical in age to DJ and Disc Jockey thought that DJ might be a helpful advocate, if she felt comfortable acting in this way, to this young lady.  I'm not sure how DJ will respond but I plan to discuss it with Bulldog and he and I can bring it to DJ's attention.  I'm not sure how she'll respond.  On the one hand, I think she wants to rapidly put all that behind her and perhaps forget her "origins" as it were;  I can't say I blame her there.  On the other hand, I simply do not know how she might feel and do not want to pressure her because she has a tendency to feel inappropriately guilty about what she perceives as something that perhaps she "should" do.  We'll tread delicately on the subject and see what happens.

But this begs the question to those of you who have transitioned-what are your experiences?  Once you have transitioned, do you NOT want to revisit that time in your lives?  There is no judgement or blame being assigned here.  Your information might be helpful to family members of transgender people in understanding their needs of either wanting to acknowledge their pre-transition lives, or not.  I know DJ doesn't want any pictures of herself, even as a small child, unless she's so young that there is no possibility of identifying the gender that we were raising her as, i.e., infancy.  Up until her first haircut, I can take photos and make them black and white so as not to refer to any gender stereotypes and at least I can display those photos.  I've been hearing from more parents and youth-I'm hoping that those of you who can lend your voices will do so.  You can always email me at and perhaps, with your permission, I can share some of what you've experienced. Otherwise, you can certainly add your comments in the section provided.  I hope you all have a good weekend :)

Friday, February 21, 2014

Moms gotta stick together


I'll keep this short and sweet because I have a lunch date with a dear friend shortly.  There are moms out there wanting, nay, needing to network with other moms of transgender kids.  These moms might even welcome comments from other transgender folk who have navigated transition.  Perhaps readership is down on my beloved, albeit somewhat neglected, blog, but those who read, do you mind commenting a bit more so we can support each other?  We need you!!

The Author

Friday, February 14, 2014

Apt little joke

Just thought of something kinda funny....

You know what they call Brazil nuts in Brazil?    Nuts.

You know what they call Chinese food in China?   Food.

You know what they call transgender people in accepting places?   People.


Lantern in the window

My cousin posted a picture on FB some weeks ago.  It was an x-ray of two people kissing.  Unless you are an expert in identifying skull characteristics, you would never know the gender of the two people kissing.  Sometimes, don't you wish we didn't have to see each other?  Wouldn't it be amazing if we communicated simply by talking or telepathy?  No visual data to skew our perceptions?

No consenting adults would be denied the right to marry.  Homosexual couples could openly dance at the weddings of heterosexuals.  No one would freak out at Cheerios commercials depicting bi-racial couples.  Obese people would not feel the humiliation of self-righteous stares.  Unattractive people would be hired based on their abilities and not passed over for someone who may be less able but more attractive.  Transgender people wouldn't be transgender-they would just be who they are.  Male, female, neither, both.  It just wouldn't matter.

I was watching reruns of "How I met your mother."  We have Netflix and we're on this crazy kick of watching 4-5 episodes in a sitting.  (Don't judge :)  That's the same amount of time it takes to watch a movie!!)  We're up to season 3 and as much as I like the show, I've noticed that the writers could not make it through a single season without making a "tranny" joke.  First of all, what a freaking offensive word.  Second-the show took place less than a decade ago in allegedly hip and accepting Manhattan, and one of the cast is openly gay in his personal life.  It seems the lowest type of joke when we have to resort to mocking the appearance of others for a laugh.  It stings every time a joke is made because it makes me wonder how DJ feels hearing it.....

As soon as I feel discouraged ( and I often do) I try to remember about the stories I hear about people who accept and embrace and love the folks who tell them, "Listen, my name isn't Linda.  I go by Mark now.  I hope we can still be friends."  I try to remember to practice patience-many people will come around, given some time.  Ideally, everyone would say, "Mark?  Got it.  And of course we're still friends.  Although, this might make gift shopping harder because guys are harder to shop for than girls." But most have to go through that, "Wait....What?"  moment.  That is often followed by their concern about making a mistake in using the right pronouns, forgetting to use the correct name, trying not to stare on noticing obvious physical differences.....which may make some people withdraw. Others are just superficial, small minded folks whose uncharitable behavior needs to be viewed as what it is-kinda sad, actually.  Don't get me wrong-this sounds great on paper; often, I would prefer to simply bitch-slap such people.  Truly.  But I don't want to go to jail and I don't want to sink to their level, and besides, people like that don't learn from a proper bitch-slapping anyway.

When you feel like you wanna bitch-slap someone, when you feel like the world is just plain ugly and it makes you despair of your own future happiness or the happiness of your beloved child, or relative, go to this website:  Add it to your FB feed.  You will get updates a number of times a week that usually offer great news about what is happening in the LGBT world.  Positive stories about how the straight and narrow world is becoming less narrow minded.  More open hearted.  You'll find out how the LGBT community is helping itself AND how straight/natal gendered folks are understanding the importance of being a helping hand instead of a palm in someone's face.

When you're walking through Lowe's and someone acts like they suddenly don't know you, or you mention your daughter, and co-workers look at each other with raised eyebrows, reach out as soon as possible to a source that will remind you that there are still many, many homes with lanterns in the window.  Refuge from the storm, no matter how short lived, will give you strength.  Folks-we're winning.  Slowly, but surely.  Hell, even a federal judge in Virginia cited the unconstitutionality of not allowing gay couple to marry. VIRGINIA!!!  There's hope, but sometimes you gotta pull out the magnifying glass to see it.  Blessings to you who are brave enough to be your true self and to you who are brave enough to love your family member who has come out.  XO

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Lives touching

DJ is quite happy in the choices of classes she's currently taking.  She's decided to pursue a degree in physics which will require her transferring to a four year college on completion of her associate's degree from a local community college.

This local community college is actually a town over from where we live.  There's another one even a bit further away, but that would require travel into the "big city" which she doesn't relish.  Last semester, she crossed paths with former high school classmates, and it completely unnerved her and she dropped the class.  We completely supported that decision, and, in fact, encouraged her to reconsider the drive into the "big city"; especially since it's not actually a big city, just an incredibly congested suburb of a big city.  She really likes her community college and looked forward to taking continued classes with some of her professors and elected to stay the course.

This semester, she shares a single class with a single former classmate from high school.  In fact, she's known this kid since she was a small child.  This young man knew DJ as JD from ages 6-14.  She said she initially tried to avoid him, but ended up being assigned to his group the first day.  After some slight awkwardness, they apparently got on quite well.  "He's different now," she says.  He's determined to make good grades, and is dedicated to school.  Keep in mind, this kid was never mean spirited to her, so I shouldn't be wary......but.....well, I still am.

She can be too trusting-or Bulldog and I fear that.  We worry that somehow her old life will bleed into this new one that has, with great care, been created.  She's worked hard to create this new life that encompasses her true self, as have we.  It makes me nervous, having these two lives touching like this.  I remember the pain and the fear that we all experienced when she first came out.  She really thought all those friends would accept.  They could accept the theory, but couldn't get past the new girl in the dress.  When they couldn't, it sent her into a spiral and us too.  It took a year and a half to climb out of that pit.  I don't want her, or us, to go back.

I try to remember that she has matured and has truly grown into herself which makes her less vulnerable....the realization brings some comfort but I'm still edgy.  I will keep this to myself, however, or only share with Bulldog, but not with DJ.  I've expressed my opinion about exercising caution when extending trust to people-which is true for all of us.  I made it a short, 2 minute conversation. I am bound and determined to not be worrisome in a way that she'll see, but man, does this make me

I'm curious-other parents out there, or any transgender folks who care to comment-is the climate changing out there?  It seems so, in the media, anyhow.  But what is it like in the schools and the neighborhoods?  Are the younger kids who transition more accepted than the older ones?  Does age have any bearing?   I hope someone will chime in.  I think there are some parents who might like to network.  I know I would be happy to be part of such a network.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Asking for what you need

A couple of weeks ago some sadder memories popped into my head.  I try not to ruminate on such things too frequently, but I thought sharing them might be valuable in the event some of you may be experiencing something akin to the happenings around here when DJ first came out.

Admittedly, despite the overly bright picture I fear I've presented throughout this blog, those first couple of months were somewhat dark.  What I remember most about the "dark" aspects was the loneliness.  Despite the fact that both sides of the family completely embraced DJ and accepted her, I recall our little family being alone, quite a bit.  Both Goodwrench and Romeo were living away, at school, so DJ, Bulldog and I were home, in our small, rural town, where we were uncertain as to what to expect from our inner circle of close friends and the circle outside of that, of friends, in general.  I remember, keenly, feeling frightened for DJ's safety, as well, which only heightened my sense of isolation.

At the time, I had family living up the street and a few miles away.  They supported DJ so what I'm about to say might seem ungrateful;  I don't mean it to be.  Those folks were integral in making DJ feel loved and accepted.  But what I recall is a long, hot, isolated summer with little to do and no one to do much of anything with.

Some of our friends and acquaintances knew about DJ's coming out, some did not. On July 4th of that year, some friends, who did not yet know, were having a July 4th party a mile from our home.  All of my family members attended.  We did not.  It was too soon and the hosts of the party did not know about DJ yet.  Bulldog, DJ and I spent that day doing absolutely nothing except hanging out.  And not one family member dropped by to see how we were, despite being one mile away.  That's two sisters, their spouses, my mother, and a cousin.  It stings each time I recall it.

We were supporting DJ but Bulldog and I needed support too.  Someone to remember that get togethers like that weren't possible yet for us-not yet.  I try to remember that people all tend to be in their own little bubbles and often don't think of (what might seem like, to us) the obvious needs of others.  What if I had just asked any one of them to drop in and visit for a few minutes?  Or maybe Bulldog and I should have been a bit more creative and taken DJ on a road trip to get out of town for a day or two.  Neither of those solutions occurred to me at the time.

So, I say this to families who are in a similar predicament:  this place of "flux" will not last forever BUT, and this  is a significant BUT, your predicament can be isolating at first.  Just four years ago, I could only find one or two resources for transgender people and none of them were within 50 miles of us.  That is likely less true today than it was even four years ago.  Search online for support.  And if you have even one family member or friend, ask for help.  Ask for a visit.  Tell them you're feeling a bit lonely for company as you try to re-introduce your child.  You're so busy being strong for your kid and kudos to you for that.  But you gotta refill the tank or you'll run out of gas.  Some days, you'll need support almost as much as your kid does.  Not because having a transgender kid is draining, in and of itself, but because, unfortunately, being "different" in this world can be draining.  And if your kid is no longer living at home but has just recently decided to transition, this is where you can help. What if your son has only told one or two friends of his decision to transition? Is he alone on a Friday night?  Is your daughter going to be spending a 3 day weekend with nothing to do? Ask your kid to come home and dote on him or her for the weekend.  We often want to give our grown kids "space", but maybe "space" is not what  your kid needs right now.  And if she does need space, she'll tell you, "No thanks."  As hard as it is for us to ask for help, it might be even harder for them, especially if they're feeling unnecessary guilt for "putting" their parents through "this" (their transition).

There are a fair number of blogs by folks who are going through situations such as this.  Use them. Write to the authors, make comments.  It's possible someone may answer.  That alone can make you feel less alone in the process.  Most importantly-do NOT think the isolation you may experience is a failing on your part or a failing on your child's part.  Most people just can't understand the magnitude of transition, despite how hard they try.  And they are often unsure of what to do to help.  It's no one's fault, but you may be able to remedy it simply by asking, "You want to swing by for just a few minutes?  We could use some company since our social life is kind of limited at the moment."  Sure wish I had done that.....