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of trans communities everywhere
The sound of soft sobs pulled me away from my computer. I called out to my daughter who was sleeping in her room just down the hall. I had tucked her into bed with Sassy and Squish (her favorite stuffed cats) an hour before. I heard her sniffles as she came blurry eyed out of her room. As I scooped her into my arms I asked her what?s the matter. She relayed a story of sadness that would yank at any mom?s heartstrings. She was sad cause she didn?t have a dad. Her dad left when she was 8 months old never to be seen or heard from again. To me this was never a bad thing but to a 7 year old, it mattered.
I remembered a conversation that my daughter and my boifriend had just a few weeks before when she was upset over this exact subject. They had agreed at the time that they could do ? Dad ? things together. So I asked if she wanted to call Ian and talk cause he was sort of like a dad. She did and to my amazement she talked on the phone with him for nearly an hour. He had her calmed down and back in bed asleep by the time I had hung up the phone. Sassy and Squish tucked in right there next to her.
This was just the beginning of the relationship between my daughter and Ian. The understanding of this child and the compassion and guidance given by Ian forever awes me. As with any parenting there comes a time when you face cross roads, never sure of the path you should take. I have wondered what information is necessary for her to hear and what is just out of reach for her understanding. What I have found is that through our discussions about Ian her horizon has broadened and that she will be forever more tolerant of people.
We moved in with Ian during the summer of 2001. The relationship between my daughter and Ian developed on its own. I never forced them to have one that they themselves did not build. This being said I always wanted them to have a good relationship as a parent to child. But we can?t force these things. They began learning about each other slowly and talked about what each other liked. About the stuff that they could do together and the stuff we as a family could do together. Ian?s role in our family has definitely become Dad. He is the supporter, the enforcer, and the encourager of all of us.
He and my daughter have had numerous talks on how he feels about his body. About the effects that transition will have on him and on us as a family. That he will be having chest surgery to fix what he feels was an error. All through the process she has asked questions with her greatest concern being the attitude. You see even she has overheard our conversations on mood swings while getting adjusted to T. Though the talks may be sporadic in timing, as any child?s attention span is rather short. They do happen. We have encouraged her to ask the questions that are on her mind. She knows that we will not lie to her.
We recently attended the True Spirit Conference in Washington DC for the first time. I will admit I was a little leery about taking my daughter with us. So we arrange to have her miss Saturday and attend on Sunday after we were comfortable with the crowd and the facilities available to the children. Both were wonderful by the way. We made a special shirt for her to wear so she felt part of the group as a whole. She was with the other kids all day Sunday except for a lunch break with family. It was very relieving to have her there and have her want to go back and play with the kids on Sunday. I encourage parents to bring their children if they come to TSC.
After the conference Ian and I sat down with her individually and as a family to discuss what her thoughts were about TSC. She said that she had learned that she was not the only child with a Transgendered Parent. So Ian asked her what Transgendered meant. She said ?that?s when a person is born a girl but feels like a boy or is born a boy but wanted to be a girl and that was OK as long as they didn?t have an attitude.? We also asked if she knew that some of the men she saw used to be women. She said yes. She really latched on to a friend of ours on Sunday and when we asked about him she said that ? yes he had been a girl a looooooong time ago but he was a boy now and that he looked like he had been born that way.? We asked further if this was okay with her to which she replied, ? I just really like him?. Smiling to myself I knew that we had done right by her in discussing the issues openly and whole-heartedly.
This is just our first steps down this path and I am sure there will be many more discussions to come in the future about what is going on with Ian?s body. I am glad that we have laid the foundation for her to ask the questions and get the answers she needs to feel comfortable with her family. Just last week my daughter and I were talking and she affirmed to me her content by saying ? I finally got a Dad and you finally got someone who makes you happy?.