It’s a lot, isn’t it. The endocrinologist. The new therapist. The long, awkward conversations with your mother. Having to make serious life choices. And all of this at thirteen.
Puberty is a really difficult time for most people. Your whole identity gets overhauled. Your body evolves into something new, and starts acting in new ways. Hormonal changes lead to an emotional roller coaster ride. And society shoves gendered stuff down your throat from all sides now. You start losing the comfortable invisibility of ‘child’ and begin to feel the weight of heavy, heavy words like ‘young woman’ or ‘young man.’
As the Editor of two Medium publications focused on gender diversity (Empowered Trans Woman and My Trans Child) another devoted to sexuality (Smart Sluts), I constantly find myself immersed in queer terminology.
While many people know me as a trans activist, by night I sometimes transform into my — questionably — superhero persona, The Pedantic Bitch (a transformation that usually involves red wine.)
So here I sit, with my glass of Malbec at hand.
I’ve only had one glass. This very one. Though I did refill it multiple times.
And as I look at the lexicon of queer experience, I…
It is important to find a gender therapist — a mental health professional trained in recognizing gender dysphoria. Parents often wonder, maybe he’s just gay? Maybe she’s reacting to misogyny or objectification? Maybe my child is mimicking/copying a friend? A competent gender therapist can help you and your child sort all of this out.
I also recommend working with a separate therapist just to discuss potential issues independent of, or peripheral to, gender transition — social anxieties, teenage emotions, relational challenges, family stuff. (Make sure this counselor is trans-aware and trans-supportive.)
It is important to notify the school, and work…
One big disconnect I see in parents and children is that parents often feel blindsided by their child coming out.
Oftentimes the parent is not aware or informed about trans experience.
Oftentimes the parent has a lot of adjusting to do emotionally, including letting go of gender expectations and finding their footing.
Some parents are fast to adjust. Some are more slow-going. Some are stubborn and cling to stale ideas about gender. Some refuse to accept what their child is telling them.
Meanwhile, the child is expressing a deep truth that affects the very core of their identity. …
One of the trickiest parts of the gender conversation is the misogyny/toxic masculinity dynamic of this society.
Boys who WANT to be men, but find the restrictive/prescriptive requirements (boys don’t cry etc.) like a straightjacket around their heart.
Girls who WANT to be women, but find the objectification, the male gaze, and all the other misogynistic bullshit suffocating.
That’s why it’s extremely important to have extensive conversations with our kids about intersectionality, about feminism, about societal structure. There HAVE been societies where women were equals to men. There HAVE been societies where men could be openly sexual with other men…
If we pause and think about the food chain... About the absolute horror inbuilt into life on earth...
Think about it. Billions of organisms under threat of predators all their lives. Predators armed with fangs and claws, in order to be able to rip apart their prey.
Bears feeding from the river, catching salmon on their way to spawn. Lions thinning the herd of elephants, hoping to pick the baby elephant.
Venomous snakes. Alligators attacking water buffalos.
Life on this whole planet has been one massive shitshow of cruelty and suffering, where bullies and villains feast on the meek every…
The infrequent, elusive, and unexpected newsletter!
(Sorry, at some point I’ll get more consistent about this.)
I run a support group for parents of trans children.
Today, someone posted a fairly silly joke about pronouns in the group. Not directly transphobic, but just trivializing the issue.
This might be ok among trans folks, BY trans folks. But totally not ok coming from cis folks. Then someone (who hit and run — she left the group) posted an image of Machete (a very masculine ‘tough guy’) in a wig, with a quip about trans women. That one was blatantly transphobic, and malicious.
Funny trans jokes DO exist. There ARE funny jokes about the trans experience. …
A common argument thrown at parents of transgender children is, “but aren’t they too young to know?”
This argument is flawed in a number of ways.
First of all, think about all of the ridiculous, over-the-top gender-reveal parties. Think of all the gendered toys. Think of the blue and pink baby rooms. Think of the gendered McToys. If indeed children are too young to know, then isn’t it perniciously harmful to force gender upon them as intently, as deliberately, as oppressively as most parents currently do?
Think also, when did YOU know you were the gender that you are? At…
This tweet is making the rounds and causing divisiveness in trans women's groups.
A trans woman acquaintance of mine reposted it yesterday.
Here's my response to her:
"Womxn" is a valid inclusive spelling of the word "women."
It is a response to the spelling "womyn," which started out as a feminist effort to remove the word ‘men’ from a descriptor for women. Sadly, it was appropriated by the TERFs. "Womyn" is now TERFspeak, like "wbw." And "womxn" means ALL women — cis & trans.
A couple of interesting things about these words:
a) The word “man” did not originally mean…