Know Your Role

Know Your RoleEach and every person has their role to play, be it father, mother, wife, husband… etc. My roles have been father, son and husband… friend and even boyfriend to others. I remain a strong person, committed to my responsibilities, but does or can my role change with my transition? Can I be a mother, while upholding my fatherly responsibilities? Can I be a fulfilling husband as a TransWoman to my wife? Can I still fulfill to my parents the aspirations they had for me as their son?

I won’t make a cop-out statement that “I am who I am” or “I’m the same person I always was”, because, quite honestly, I’m not -AND- if you would have asked me this even a year ago, I would have not agreed with what I just said.

My role will remain the same so long as responsibility is attached to it. I will never stop being a father even though my kids call me Chloe. THEY know who and what I am to them, still, those days of father comes to school for show and tell can be tough on them and me. Last Christmas, my children had such an event – now I am a staunch Transperson – committed in my path… but… the politics of that became water over the dam when my six year old ask the Phone Man to come for Father career day at school… how could I disappoint him?

I had thought to ask my father to fill in as some other children did with their grandparents for whatever reason they did. But that’s not the point. My child HAS a father – ME! Could I be Chloe and represent his Daddy too?

Nervous, I arrived at the school and awaited in the lounge as requested by my sons teacher. A class room of 1st graders awaited -what would they think? How would my son be treated and viewed by his class mates after this day? The teacher walked in and after a short conversation on what to expect and cover with the class, we headed to the room.

When I walked in, I didn’t even notice what the class room looked like – all I could do was scan the room for my son… and there he was. In that moment, he turned to the visitors walking in the room and when I walked in with my AT&T clothes, tool belts, meters , pinned back hair, and pulling off the best male look I could, he exclaimed to the children “That’s my Daddy!”…

At that point, all my inner term-oil of presenting myself in this manner were washed away. I began to show the kids photos of me on the job, climbing poles with ladders and spike… going down manholes, in creepy dark tunnels under the city and even riding a cable car that trolleys you out to fix a cable where ladders and bucket trucks can not reach – for example, cable that runs over a wide river (Someone has to get out there and repair the cable when it goes bad there – how else do you think we do it?) The kids loved it.. and they loved seeing all my gadgets and learning what they do and how the phones, Internet and TV is all brought to homes, schools and commercial buildings. THAT’S LOGAN’S DAD’S JOB!

I had thought to go as Chloe – because, honestly, my children know me no other way. Their pre-schools, friends parents and neighbors ALL know me as Chloe and as a Transgendered person. Why did I revert back to being a male for this period?

That my sisters and brothers, is a mystery that may only be unraveled in the silence of the night when you walk in your sons bedroom and he is fast a sleep with a smile on his face, clutching on to his toy phone man truck…

I know my role… and I know where that role is buttered too.

-Chloe

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3 Responses

  1. Chloe, I think this story tells me a great deal about your own personal maturity, not that I’m a person to be judging your character. But having known you for some time now, and having read your blogs over the last year, I know this used to be a topic that clearly vexed you (as it still does me).

    For a transperson to be able to see the simplistic need of a child and to “sacrificially” put his or her status on hiatus in order to do what they see is best for their child to me is simply admirable. There is definitely those in the camp who would argue “No, you should use this opportunity to show people you are who you are, and they are the ones who need to deal with it.” I’m not in that camp in this specific instance. You know who you are, and your life and your relationship with your children is ever evolving.

    The day will come when “only Chloe” matters. I don’t think this was that day.

  2. I wish you could see the smile on my face right now. Good for you, you did the right thing for all the right reasons. Darn its hard to read this small print, of course the rears in my eyes dont help much.

  3. When my wife had left me, my son went with her; she and I had both determined this was best for him. He was 11 years old at this point. I began living full-time shortly after that.
    The time eventually came for my son’s first visit here with me, one of the things we have always enjoyed together is model rocketry. So during his visit, we went to our usual place to fly some of them. One of the hardest aspects of his parent’s seperation for him, was his seperation from everything he knew as home.
    At some point he asked if he could invite his friends to come watch him fly his rockets. This caused me a lot of concern, for it would be the first time he was interacting with anyone while I was present. I had a slew of possible names he could call me lined up in my head. I hemmed and hawed a bit, until I finally asked him what he wanted to call me when his friends arrived. He immediately replied “My Dad, of course!”. Still concerned about his friends reactions, I then asked him “But Zachary, don’t you think there might be a problem when your friends see me, but you call me Dad?”.
    His reply still floors me to this day, he said, “If they have a problem with it, then they aren’t my friends!”.
    I held him to me then, fighting back tears of shame. For the sake of others comfort and my own, I must admit, I was prepared to take away from him the person he calls Dad. This was never a question after that day, it was also the beginning of the end for all my fears for transition.
    Now 13, we have fun with it when he visits and we go out in public together. We aren’t pushing the issue, but when he has reason to call out to me as Dad, we have a giggle afterwards at the double-takes others give us!!
    Thank you for sharing Chloe, catching our children with our transition before they lose the capacity for unconditional love is truly a joy. May none of you out there be faced with children or family who lack this capacity.

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