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.