Friday Fuzz- Shifting Responsibility

This article struck a nerve with me. Maybe it’s just specific to my experience with Kris and other people but I wonder if that might not be the case.

Transgender Children Today: Shifting the Responsibility for Change Away From Children and Onto Society

When Kris came out and we decided it was time to fill in the family- meaning my parents and siblings- I asked Kris if he wanted me to tell everyone, or did he. He was actually away at college at the time so it made sense for me to be the bearer of this news and that was what he preferred.

After a difficult childhood and very stressful four high school years, Kris was pretty fragile. Even though I felt a sense of relief upon finding out what the heck was going on with my kid, that didn’t lessen my worry for him. If anything, it made it that much bigger.

My conversations went as to be expected. There was some surprise but not much since my mother had gotten to my siblings first. The news was met with questions and sounds of support. The tone seemed to change rather quickly. I sensed anger towards Kris for the pain he was causing me. I was told that they thought that Kris should have been the one to inform them. They felt like Kris was not making any effort. When he did see family, he shifted into stealth mode right before my eyes. Kerri was back and Kris was gone. The difference? He sat in one spot, often with a book, sketchpad or journal, head down, busy reading, drawing, writing and not doing anything to attract someone’s attention. He spoke when spoken to unless it was me or his father or brothers. This was pure Kerri. When he did speak, I felt like it wasn’t the Kris we were coming to know and love. It was the shell of the Kerri they knew- the person who really didn’t exist.

I’m not going to say they didn’t try but those efforts were minimal and appeared to be tokens- not really genuine. Or maybe they were genuine but when they didn’t get the immediate response they expected, they didn’t try again. Not with Kris and not with Michael or Andrew and not with me.

The responsibility was all Kris’s and by default mine. Three years later it remains the same. And it’s wrong.

Advertisements

11 thoughts on “Friday Fuzz- Shifting Responsibility

  1. People want what is easiest from them, not for others. Ironically, when I tell people that I will do something with whatever is easiest for them, they start going at me like I’m confusing them. I’m usually younger, stronger, more agile, and usually the one with more time than them, to do things. Unless something seriously inconveniences me or is strategically bad, I’ll go the lengths to do what is easiest for them.

    Identifying as male instead of female crosses the line, tho. People want me to be a gender conforming girl. The fact that I’m going from a “butch” identity to a male one, has hurt my family; first an out lesbian, now a TRANS in the family? (My family is a moderately conservative one.) My (mostly cis, gay) friends would rather see me as a “strong, but struggling” gender-variant, butch woman, than a gender-conforming guy who can live a slightly more normal life and be able to better provide for my son.

    Even harder when people insist I’ve always been masculine, why all this now? Why can’t I just be “butch”? Isn’t this trans thing a phase (“butch flight” it’s sometimes called)? Ugh.

    People are resistant change, but change is the nature of things. We have always existed, and in ancient cultures we were accepted, at times worshipped. But then something happened, and we were shunned and driven to the edge of existence. We are only reclaiming what was originally our space in society. The Bible in the original Hebrew suggested multiple genders. Hinduism has gods who could shift genders. The Buddha allowed transgendered to claim their identity and live in the appropriate monastery–three sutras tell of two trans women, and one trans man, who were allowed to follow the Dharma as they saw themselves. Sometimes our ancestors DID know better than we give them credit for.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think my family is moderately conservative disguised as openly progressive and accepting. It’s fine for someone else’s child to be gay or transgender, but not ours. Just don’t call them on it! That’s the quickest way to cause a family riot- as I’ve done repeatedly for 3 years by not accepting their form of “acceptance and support” for Kris. You and Kris and every other transgender person have a right to live their lives and make whatever changes needed to do that.

      Like

      1. Mine, too! I have a cousin who’s in a long term relationship with her girlfriend, and that’s okay…but my folks were never thrilled that one of their own is GLBT, too. But it’s also because those of who are “really” always KNEW, apparently, when we were kids and teens. Um…many of us who come out later in life tried when we were younger, but it was unsafe to, or we weren’t acknowledged as such, often we’re just teens or young adults “going through a phase”, am I right?

        Like

      2. Yes, most definitely. Kris is a kid who went through so many phases so I heard that all the time- ” You know how many phases she went through. How do you know it’s not another phase?” When I respond that maybe Kris went through these phases because he was searching for a way to be able to live inside a body that didn’t fit, they are speechless.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That’s what especially my mother and some former friends think, that it’s “another phase”. They don’t know how transphobic they all are, much less homophobic for her. (My friends were mostly gay, but many are not fond of the trans community, which is why incur them out of my life). I have tried to come out as trans multiple times, only for them to say I identify with my looks too much, are why can’t I just accept being butch, or that I am just really masculine and am still “coming to terms” with being a “butch lesbian”. So much for my friends being “progressive”. I get that my family will always be heterosexist, but sheesh from my former friends!

        Like

      4. I have a major problem with people who don’t realize how transphobic they are and actually think they have disguised their unease behind fake support. I’m never sure how aware Kris is of this. Whether he is aware or not, I really don’t have time for them in my life.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t got that far yet, not really, and I’m already dreading the conversations. Although thankfully Jeremy’s already told me he’d like to be the one to tell them.

    So far I still don’t know what’s going on gender-wise, although to be fair I don’t think Jeremy does either. His sister, Emma, asked him today if he feels male, female, or both. He informed her both but mostly male. Then she asked him what gender he would have chosen if he’d got to pick before he was born and he picked female. Those two answers don’t mesh very well.

    The closest I’ve gotten to a conversation was telling my mother he might want to wear his hair up at some point… which lead to a huge 10 to 15 minute long rant on her part, likening him wearing his hair up to swearing at the elderly and claiming it was negative behaviour. I’m just not seeing him coming out as trans being a supportive conversation.

    I do like that article though and I love this quote, “The truth of the matter is that having a transgender child is an inconvenience to society because, instead of asking the child to change, we are asking society to change.” Not because the quote is nice but because it’s true. But society needs some shaking up and minds to open.

    Like

    1. Yes, that quote struck me too. And it’s not just society at large but family and friends. I know that my family (outside of my husband and kids) would really prefer that Kris live a miserable life as a girl because it would be easier for them.

      When the time is right, Jeremy will know. If I remember correctly, after telling us he was a boy at age 3, Kris stopped telling us by the time he was 5 and didn’t bring it up again- with one exception- until he was 18. He knew before he was 18 but he wanted to be sure, he thought he could live as a girl, so many different things. It’s a big step- to commit to a gender that does not match the body you were given.

      And I think it’s great if Jeremy can have those conversations with family, if the time comes. Kris was away at school and he was in no state to do it.

      Like

    2. There are people who are “gender fluid”, and their innate sense of male, female, both, neither, or another gender completely can change, anywhere from every few days, to even evey few years. I have read some accounts that people will then dress and present themselves as such, so it’s easy for friends and family to know how to refer to them in the third person, with the appropriate gendered (or gender-neutral) titles, nouns, pronouns, and adjectives. These are not phases, or experimentations; just as a person’s sense of attraction can change over the course of a lifetime, so can a person’s innate sense of self.

      Like

      1. I found a piece that Kris wrote back in the early days after he came out. He addresses some of his thought process over the years. I’m hoping he will let me share it in a future post.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks 🙂 Jeremy’s told me before that he always feels the same, although I wonder as he seems more stereotypically male some times than others (and vice versa). I figure he’ll sort himself out at some point.

        Like

Hi! I would love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s