Tag: acceptance

Here Goes

It’s been awhile but here is a “straight from my heart and unedited” post regarding last week’s episode of Survivor: Game Changers.

In case you are not familiar with this-

On last week’s reality show- Survivor- one contestant outed a fellow tribe member as transgender during tribal council. If you google it, I’m sure you will find videos and articles galore. I just can’t share a link or the video. I can’t.

Occasionally something comes up that I just need to say.  I need to let the words flow and I have to let them just land. As a writer, I tend to do a ton of editing and proof reading and re-reading……but when one of these posts comes up, well, I listen to my heart and I let them be. Of course, if I had shared the video, it might be easier to follow my ramblings but I really can’t do it. I went back and began watching the segment for a second time and I couldn’t finish.

As you may or may not know, outing a transgender person is wrong. It’s bad. You don’t do it. NEVER! There is absolutely no context in which it might be okay to do. The only person who has the right to share that very private thing is the person himself or herself.

As I sat watching Zeke’s reaction to being outed on national television by someone he might have trusted or at the very least thought he had formed a connection with, I recognized that look on his face. I have a trans kid. And although I have not been witness to them being outed unexpectedly, I watched my child at more social functions than I want to remember with a similar expression on their face. I recognized the tightness in his shoulders, the clench of his jaw, the checked out look in his eyes.

Zeke always knew that there was a chance he might be outed. Every transgender person who is just trying to live their life runs that risk. And I myself cannot imagine living with that- always wondering if today would be the day that someone would say something- and then how would people react. Because people always react- even when they don’t. I’ve witnessed that more times than I can count.

My heart aches for Zeke. It aches for anyone who is trying to live and finding themselves in a world that has all of these antiquated gender roles and stereotypes and expectations placed on them by society. I’m fairly certain that Zeke will be fine. I sincerely hope that he is fine and that this does not cause him to lose people in his life. I know- if he had people in his life that cannot be part of his life upon finding out that he is trans, then goodbye and good riddance. But the thing is, he will take a hit that won’t be easy to recover from. Once again, I can fall back on the experiences my kid has been faced with. The world can be an unfriendly place for transgender people. My kid is grown up so I have no control over the people they come into contact with or how they are treated. And as my child is in a different place than Zeke- being non-binary- their experience in more recent times is also very different than it was when they transitioned to male back 5 years ago.

But outing Zeke was not the only thing Jeff V did that night at Tribal Council. He made a conscious choice to use Zeke being transgender as evidence of Zeke’s deceitful nature- painting him as someone who could not be trusted because after all he was keeping his transition a secret. That was adding insult to injury. Each and every part of a transgender person’s transition is private and theirs to decide if they want to share. It does not imply that a person is deceitful. Quite frankly it’s no one’s business if a person is taking hormones or has had surgery.

There are many people who know little about what it means to be transgender. They don’t understand. Some are afraid of what they don’t understand and that fear drives them to act in some pretty cruel ways. They don’t realize how deeply their words or actions wound. (I want to think that they DON’T realize, because to willfully hurt someone like that- well, ask Jeff V how that worked for him right now?)

There are people who look through transgender people. It’s like they don’t exist, as if by being transgender, they have lost their right to be recognized as a person. Once again, I’ve watched it happen to my child. It might be worse than those hurtful words or cold stares- I don’t know. I just know it chills me to my bones, makes my blood boil and causes me to not be able to sit still and do nothing. And yet, I have had to do nothing when it happens to my child. Why? Because if I was to confront any of these people for looking through my child, as if they don’t exist anymore, I would probably do bodily harm. Unfortunately my kid has grown used to it and shrugs it off. I can’t. And now because Jeff V was willing to do anything to stay in a game, Zeke runs the risk of becoming invisible to people he thought he knew.

And since I brought him up again- Jeff V- the villain. Did he mean to hurt Zeke as terribly as he did? I don’t know. Did he know that what he was doing was wrong? I believe so. Did he realize that he had crossed a line? Maybe, maybe not. But he did think his strategy through so at some point, I find it hard to believe that it did not occur to him that what he was planning on doing was VERY BAD.

Enough about him

I would like to talk about Zeke’s tribe mates. How incredible were they! Their outrage, cries of anger and distress, support of Zeke…. all of it. I studied all of them as the scene played out. Tai and Andrea were immediately upset, crying out and calling Jeff V out for his actions. Debbie and Sarah were slower to speak but also expressed their feelings. And then there was Ozzy. See, my husband and I have been watching old seasons of Survivor and we recently watched Ozzy’s first time on the show. He’s grown up a lot over the years and I was curious about his reaction. He tends to be pretty calm and cool, and as he was not reacting, I was wondering…. Ozzy is a quiet guy so as is the case with most quiet people (see me raising my hand), others make assumptions based on absolutely nothing instead of just asking. I wasn’t sure what he was thinking. And then I heard his voice and he weighed in. Zeke’s entire tribe was on his side.

If the real world can be an unfriendly place for transgender people at times , the internet can be merciless. Small people get very brave hiding behind a computer screen. I read people accusing Survivor of staging it- that the entire thing was a carefully scripted ratings grabber. These people aren’t actors. And that chaos at Tribal Council was genuine. There are some things you can’t fake. Zeke’s shell-shocked expression, Jeff Probst’s face (and if you are a Survivor fan- you know that he’s Mr. Cool- even he was shocked and appalled at Jeff V’s words).

This episode shook me to my core. It dredged up emotions that I hadn’t felt since the early days of Kris coming out. It woke the protective mom in me and I wanted to hug Zeke and do battle with Jeff V.

But it also did something else- we are a long way from late summer of 2011 when Kris came out to us. We have gone through so many highs and lows. We have lost people and gained people. To some people who  might not have been present for the past nearly 6 years, we might appear to be only slightly changed by time and nothing more. I realize that 2017 Kris looks very much like what 1993-2011 Kerri might look today and nothing like 2011-2015 Kris did. And yet watching that episode brought all that we have been through with Kris back to the surface. It reminded me of how many people I have had the pleasure of meeting and adding to that special list I call friends. It showed me how much I have changed personally- how I came into my own as a person through Kris’s journey.

And it made me the Kat that I am today who is going to add a few tags and a category to this post and press that Publish button without looking back.

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Onward

I’ve been in crisis mode for awhile now. I think too much. My good friend tells me this all the time and it’s only recently that I’ve come to realize that he is right. (Please, don’t tell him though because it will just feed his ego.)

When I began this blog, I had a clear goal- to connect with others while sharing my experience having a transgender child. It was straight forward and clear. I have never been picky about who I connect with- I enjoy the interaction with everyone. I didn’t want my blog to be “all trans- all the time” because quite honestly, there is more to my life than just being the mother of a transgender kid. I love the photography challenges and daily prompts.

But I have drifted away from writing about the one thing that brought me here in the first place- having that trans kid. I have also drifted away from writing in general, which was a huge part of me long before my children were ever born and I really need to get back to that.

I attempted to back off on writing about Kris, justifying it with the explanation to myself that I really needed to sort my feelings out before sharing. Months have gone by and each time I sit down to write and I look at the unfinished (or sometimes not even started outside of a title) drafts, I realize that the excuse (and it IS an excuse) is wearing thin.

And I’m overthinking it all- Kris, why I can’t write about Kris, why I can’t write….

NaNoWriMo is breathing down my neck and this year I WILL WIN, if for no other reason than to get myself writing regularly again.

So, without further ado and nearly 300 words later, where I am (and Kris too)—the short and sweet version(or as short as I can make it):

  • As I have mentioned, Kris is non-binary and doesn’t really identify as male or female .
  • Kris prefers the pronouns “they, them, their” but is not hung up on it when misgendered.
  • Kris’s gender expression is female-the source of the misgendering.
  • Sometimes Kris might want to dress in a more masculine manner (as seen by society’s norms) but that makes them no more male than their everyday appearance, which is more feminine, makes them a girl.
  • By some people’s standards, Kris is not considered to be transgender- but by Kris’s standards they are (and that’s the only one that matters).
  • I owe no one an explanation.
  • I love Kris no matter what they wear or what name they go by.
  • I don’t have to have an epiphany.
  • I don’t have to have a lot of feelings about it.
  • They thought they were a boy but they aren’t.
  • They feel more comfortable expressing themselves in a feminine manner, which just happens to match the body they were given. Okay.
  • Kris is still Kris and that’s the same person they always were.
  • I love my kid.

Now that that’s out of the way, I really need to get back to writing this blog, improving my photography skills, and getting moving on ideas for my NaNo novel!!!

Happy Monday!

-Kat

Just Like You

When you meet me and my family, I’m asking you a favor. Keep an open mind. We are your average family…..or as average as anyone can be these days.

I’m married to the father of my three children. We have lived in the same house for the past 20 years. My oldest child is married and has two children and my other two are in college. Growing up my kids were involved in Scouts, band, karate and other various activities. We took annual family vacations and trips to the zoo and museums. I was a Scout leader, PTO and booster mom. Over the years we had fish, birds and a dog as pets.

Two of my kids have freckles. Two are left-handed. All three play musical instruments. Three loved Pokemon growing up. Two have been avid Star Wars fans. One paints. Two are natural comedians. All three are creative although by different degrees- creativity drives one, the other channels his creativity into his life’s passion and the last keeps his in check, allowing it to appear in little bursts. One is an extrovert and two are introverts. Two of my kids look just like me. They all have different color hair and eyes. One has curly hair and the other two have straight hair. Two are boys and one is transgender (see below for definition).

I worried about one child who struggled with reading. Two of them broke bones before they were three years old. One needed stitches at the age of 12. They all had strep throat more than once and pink eye only once (thank goodness!). Two had scarlet fever. They all had chicken pox.

——-Wait- what? (remember that open mind I asked you to keep?)

Until that second that you read that word, we seem like a pretty normal family, right? Nowadays our family has grown to include a daughter-in-law and two small boys. We might be a bit noisier or take up an entire aisle at the grocery store at times. You probably passed us at Target or sat a table away from us when we are at a restaurant. You stood behind us in line for hours waiting to get on the “It’s a Small World” ride in the Magic Kingdom. We might have exchanged pleasantries at school events or shared hellos as we passed each other while walking our dogs.

I worry about my kids when they are struggling, even though they are all technically adults. I love them unconditionally and will always do whatever I can to help them- whether it means giving them a hand or a swift kick in the butt. I want them to have happy, productive lives and be kind, caring people.

We could be anybody. We ARE anybody.

So, the next time you see us and maybe your knee jerk reaction is to look the other way as we pass, I’m asking you to please keep an open mind and remember we are still the same people we were before you heard that one word. We are just like you.

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Transgender– when a person’s gender identity or gender expression differs from their assigned sex or what is considered normal for male or female genders.

This post is in response to The Daily Post Discover Challenge- Open-Minded.

 

 

So What?

So What?

As Kris’s hair grows longer and his gender expression becomes more feminine, people are asking “the” questions. (And if they aren’t asking in words, their expressions are.)

Did Kris change his mind?

Is he going back to being a girl?

Is he no longer transgender? 

What’s going on?

Okay, so, maybe they are asking many questions.

In answer to those questions:

No

No

No. If you aren’t sure, think double negatives here- No, he is not no longer transgender…. (Did I confuse you?)

I don’t know.

Thanks for stopping by! -Kat

…………

Just kidding. But in all seriousness, those are my answers. Except for the last one.

What’s going on? Kris remains a work in progress. When you spend your life living a certain way- in Kris’s case, living a girl’s life when you don’t necessarily feel like a girl, that is the only life you know. When Kris came out to us as transgender at 18, he only knew how to be a girl. Although we did not force him into a girl mold, society generally does a good job of that all on its own.

After transitioning and living his life as a guy, he knew that it wasn’t a good fit either. He was letting society dictate how he lived- even in the transgender community. If he was a trans guy, he felt that he had to stay on testosterone and wear a binder and look like a guy.

But he didn’t like wearing a binder most of the time and he didn’t want to take T and his feelings about top surgery were unclear. And he did not feel like a guy.

And that is how he got to this place in his journey.

He is non-binary, not really identifying as male or female but something different. It is a difficult concept for people to wrap their heads around. It was definitely easier (easier being used in the broadest sense) for people to accept him as a guy. Most don’t understand what it means to be non-binary, especially because it isn’t as simple as boy or girl. Many hold the belief that everyone is one or the other.There is no other option…. but there is. And Kris is living proof. Even if it’s hard to understand.

But that’s not the point at all. It’s all about acceptance. I was reminded of this when I was having a conversation with a friend, just trying to process it all. After sharing some of the questions I have gotten from people, my friend nodded his head thoughtfully and said, “And let’s just say that Kris decides to go back to using Kerri or feminine pronouns or both. So what? Does it change how you feel about him? Does it hurt anyone at all if Kris is Kris or Kerri or someone else?”

And the truth is it just doesn’t matter who Kris is as long as he is happy and healthy and ALIVE.

 

 

 

 

F is for “Freckles”

Blogging From A to Z: FFreckles– Natasha Bedingfield

I admit it. I am a freckleface. And not the cute sprinkling across the nose kind of freckles either. I have lots of freckles- not covered head to toe- but I’ve got a healthy dose of them. Growing up I hated them. When you added my glasses, braces and extreme shyness, I was a walking disaster who only wanted to fade into the background….forever. Over time I learned to accept my freckles and forget that they were even there. And it turns out that I’m in good company-

Famous Frecklefaces:

  • Emma Watson
  • Lucy Liu
  • Alexis Bledel
  • Ellen Page
  • Emma Stone
  • Prince Harry
  • Jensen Eckles
  • Julianne Moore
  • Jesse Williams
  • Morgan Freeman

What are your thoughts on freckles? Have ’em? Love ’em or hate ’em?

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