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But What About the Children?

I must have just a tiny bit of masochist in me, because after reading the article about Tom Gabel of Against Me! coming out as transgender, I once again scrolled down to the comments treated myself to nice big helping of angry ignorance. I’ll tell you too, angry ignorance tastes nothing like chicken; try going a bit lower. It’s the same old same old, time and time again. The ‘junior science kit’ geneticists, mounted evangelical warriors atop the paper tiger of scripture, the people who decry ‘genital mutilation’ with such rabid frothing one has to speculate about an increased blood flow to their own genitals when they are thinking about it. So chock full of misspelled zingers that queen Palin herself must be blushing with embarrassment by the association. Maybe.

The only ones that succeeded in needling me, just a little bit, were those that castigate Laura (nee Tom) about the effect on her daughter. I’m already comfortable that the genes that triggered my gestational format one way instead of another have nothing to do with my identity. I found the paper tiger dissolves with a nice bucket of water, just like the Wicked Witch of the West. I don’t even need the bloody details of the corrective surgery I plan to have; the good doctors will do their thing and that is all I really care about. I do, however, have a 4 year old son who is the light of my world.

I think we can all agree, transition is no one hill marathon by a long shot. The biggest of these, which of course comes right after the starting line and is in fact in plain view from miles before we get there, is dealing with how this is going to affect our loved ones around us. The mere idea of it is generally enough to sustain our delusion for years that there is no race to begin with. Even so, the weight of its shadow is paralyzing, even asleep and a thousand miles away. Somehow though, we end up there. “How the hell did this happen? Yeah, this is really, really going to suck.”

I was hoping very much that the good I had done previously would help balance out the scales in admitting this tremendous wrong about myself. Still, I was prepared for heavy losses. I hoped not, but hey, you never really know how people are going to take it when you rip off the rubber mask and say, “Surprise! This has been the real me all along.” Friends, family, my mom, my spouse, and my son. My beautiful son. How could I take that risk?

The answer of course, and something the comment trogs can’t fathom, is that by acting I cemented my future with him. I chose to live. The old song says, better to burn out than fade away, but I say the hell with all that. I’m not going anywhere. Those who both love me and need me found it in their hearts to accept my transition, and he needs me most of all, so in my mind there really wasn’t any other choice. To those who think he’s going to need years of therapy because of this, I’m not so sure, but I am relatively certain that had I gone in any other direction he would have needed lots of it.

I think I’m going to stop already with the comments sections, well except for here where I only receive lovely responses. If I want confused hostility I’ll tune into Fox News or zap a wasps nest with the garden hose. For those who wring their hands in mock concern, ‘but what about the children’, well, my only advice is to go have some and do the very best you can. I am.

About michellelianna

I'm a transgender woman now in the maintenance stages of transition having all the electrolysis and surgery one can reasonably be expected to undertake. While busy exploring my new world, I took to blogging about it with dubiously popular results. I don't have quite as much to say as I used to, but I'm not quite done yet either.

4 responses »

  1. I am teary eyed reading this because I am father to a son who has grown up and now lives far away and this afternoon as I was driving out into the countryside I started to cry real girl tears thinking about when he was little and when his mother was young and beautiful. It actually helps to cry because I know that in doing so that I am releasing chemical toxins that if allowed to accumulate in my cells can cause untold harm. The rest of the afternoon was spent with being a girl spending money on lovely girl things and hanging out with people I know and more that I’ve never met but somehow felt that we knew each other before in some other life. Tomorrow is father’s day and it will be indeed one for the books because I am not going to spend it feeling like the loser of a dad that I once felt I was.

  2. I was so worried how my kids were going to take the news and their 28 and 32 years old. I’m glad to say their absolutely fine with me. I think their are a lot of very negative, stupid, shallow people out there and I think there are a lot of very wonderful ones too. I’m doing my best and I wish others would do the same and quit going for each others throats every time they think they don’t like something they haven’t taken one second too try to understand. Were barely out of the trees and it shows. Your child is very lucky to have a dad that loves him as much as you have communicated here and in a few emails that you have written to me, How dare anyone stoup that low. Rule No# 1, Don’t mess with my kids. that last line brought tears to my eyes too. I hope no one is doing this to you. I got a dose of it and needless to say that person is now history.
    Love you much, Tedie

  3. Children who are loved and nurtured grow up just fine. Your little one is lucky.

  4. Michelle,

    Usually you leave me laughing, but your last line brought a tear to my eye. Having done the parent thing once or twice (or eight) times, I can relate to that sentiment so well.

    Nobody is a perfect parent, but there are a lot worse things you can do to your child than being yourself. If your child grows up seeing you with the courage (there’s that word again) to be yourself in spite of all obstacles, how can that be a bad example?

    The up front mountain of the effect on the immediate family can stop you in your tracks for a long (30 years in my case) time. The question is, at what cost? I really believe that once you face that mountain, people eventually adjust. Most will accept you. Some will reject you.

    If you did your best and always did it with love, your children will always love you. They may struggle. They may get angry, but they will always love you.

    I’m sure that you are a great Dad(ette), and that your son will grow up to appreciate you for the complete person you are.




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