Children and Transition

This is a blog entry from my personal blog.  Lori had suggested I cross post this entry here. I am glad that she suggested that, it has been some time since I posted here. Thanks for the suggestion Lori, and the wonderful comments. 

I felt compelled to write about a topic that is rather close to my heart, children and transition. I was reading a blog on Yahoo 360 by a friend from the 360 community, Stephanie, see it here. I must admit that I had a very defensive reaction to this posting when I first read it. I hold nothing against Stephanie, I just feel the need to assert my view on this topic. In her blog, she basically questions the decision to withhold information from children during transition, stating that,”There should be no secrets in a family.” 

   Before going much further, I feel that I should give a little background on myself. I came out almost five months ago to my spouse, and I have two young children, both under the age of 6. When I came out, I knew that it was only going to lead to one place for me, and that was transition. For me there is no middle ground. I cannot live part time in one role and work in the other. I have lived my whole life knowing where I was supposed to be, and, since figuring out that transition was possible, I have known that transition was something I needed to do. Yes, I tried to avoid it, through love and other means, but those paths led me to the place I am at now. 

    Now that I am beginning my transition, I have to manage the flow of information about my transition to avoid it getting to the wrong people at the wrong time. Only a very few people know right now, and those are the people who I trust, and who I know will absolutely keep my confidence about what I am going through. There are others who I feel similarly about, but I am still working up the courage to tell them. Others, I feel, will spread the information faster the Paul Revere on a midnight horse-ride. 

     Now for children and the blog post I am referring to. Stephanie is right that children are extremely perceptive. They can sense when something isn’t right or when someone is keeping a secret. I have witnessed the power of children’s perceptions and how they can sense emotions and feelings. One of the most powerful ways I experienced this was on Sept. 11, 2001. I went to my sister-in-laws house that morning on my way to work. My niece, who had just turned one, came up to me right away, and instead of just giving me a quick hug and going about playing, she gave me a long tight hug. This was not just a happy to see you hug, this was one where I could feel that she knew I was upset, and she just held on until I thanked her and told her I felt better now. I was not crying at the time, but I was upset, and she sensed this and did the only thing she knew she could do to try and help. 

    When transitioning with children, we have the added burden of trying to determine the right time to tell our children. Depending on our family situation, their ages, spousal situations, and a myriad of other factors, the “right time” or “best time” to tell your children carry vary greatly from one person to the next. For many of us, if our personal and professional lives intertwine to some extent. Children tend to be pretty honest, and trying to get children, especially young children, to keep secrets can be extremely difficult if not utterly impossible. If information gets out to the wrong people at the wrong time, it can damage personal relationship, work environments, family relations, or other sensitive areas of transition. 

   Do I think that it is good to keep secrets in a family? No, I don’t. I love my children dearly, and I am very honest with them. However, I have not yet begun to tell them about who I really am. My clothes hang in my closet right along side my boy clothes, but they don’t question it. I have also seen no negative effects from my “hiding” the fact that I am transitioning and going out in girl mode once a week. In fact, since I came out and began my transition, my children have become more loving, more affectionate, and more confident. It seems that my being happier and more content has carried over to their own personal sense of well being. Because I am more confident with myself, they are no longer affected by my hiding my true self and the struggle that accompanied it. 

    I think that this brings me to a point that has come up a few times for me recently. That point being about what is the right way to approach any part of transition. Simply put, there is no right way. There is no right time frame, no right hormone regimen, no right surgeon, no right path to transition. There is only your path towards becoming your true self. I appreciate hearing from others about what has worked for them, why they liked a particular physician, why they chose to do things the way they did it, or their general philosophy on transition, but we must remember that we all have to do what is comfortable and right for ourselves. The journey of transition is about discovering yourself through your own personal journey. We are fortunate to have a diverse community with many stories of transition, let’s continue to share those stories, and not judge those who take a different path. I could never spend the rest of my life living as Kathryn but working as a male, yet there are those who can. I do not judge them. We have a community because we need support in a society that judges us and does not understand us, let us not judge each other and let us continue to give each other the support we all need to make what ever transition we choose to make.

“Ma’am” fallout

Earlier this week, I blogged about getting my first intentional ma’am from a sandwich maker at the local Subway.  The interesting thing is that I wasn’t trying to “pass” at the time.  If you’re interested, you could read about it on my 360 blog, including a picture of me wearing what I wore into the Subway, I had Teresa take the picture when I got home.  (We live in the same house.)

Anyway, this isn’t about that, it’s about the after-effects of it.  It was a simple thing and I got a big kick out of it, after all I was just on my way to a service call on what was supposed to be my day off.  (I gotta tell the boss that he’s cutting into my “girl” time.)   After I left the Subway, I kept looking in the mirror trying to figure out what she saw that caused her to call me ma’am.  The incident kinda freaked me out after a while, I was thinking “have I changed that much already?”

That was just one of the things going through my mind, I had an emotional surge when it occoured to me that she was looking right at me when she said it, and that I actually could be gendered as female.   That’s always been one of my fears, not being able to pass.  It held me up for a long time, and here I passed without even trying!  Very strange!

It must have hit me pretty deep, because when I was doing my service call at a multiplex cinema and had to go to the bathroom, it was a tough decision to go into the men’s room.   I actually felt like I didn’t belong there.   Now lately, I’ve been wearing a hat so no one sees the lack of hair on the top of my head, it’s not very female.

It seems like it was a defining moment for me, it’s really hard to go back to “guy” mode after that, I’m still struggling with it.  I know that my fears have kept me sitting on the “gender fence” for a while now, it’s really getting to be time to move!   The biggest problem I have with that is that I’m so unprepared, having taken a different path to get here.  I’ve never been a public “cross-dresser”, I started HRT with no “public exposure” experience.  Maybe it’s time to get out of my comfort zone.

How did your first real ma’am affect you?  Did it make you crazy and frustrated like it did me?

Glad to be here!

Hey everyone! I just wanted to take a moment to introduce myself here on TRANScendGENDER. My Name is Kathryn, and I began taking my first concrete steps towards transition a few months ago. Since then I have jumped in feet first. I guess after 30 plus years of hiding my true self, I can’t wait to let her out and set her loose on this world of ours! Since that time, I met some great people through a local TG group, one of those people being Tiana. Tiana got me into Yahoo 360°, where I really began to meet other girls from the larger Trans community. While not perfect, 360° did get me in touch with a lot more girls, and enabled me to feel like I was really a part of a larger community. For those of you I have already met, thank you for making me feel welcome, both on 360 and here, and for those of you I have not yet met, I look forward to getting to know you and sharing our stories and experiences. I am convinced that as long as we have each other, there is nothing that we cannot overcome in this wild and crazy world of ours. We just have to be proud and be strong!

 

Kathryn

Blogroll

The blogroll is finally up. Check it out in the sidebar!

Everyone who has been added as a contributor or shown interest, should have a link right now (though with people being added as I type, I could be wrong!) If you have an active 360 page, that’s what I’ve linked to – otherwise, your link is to your WordPress Blog or Livejournal.

If you would prefer to have your link go to a different page – or want an additional blogroll entry – please post the URL in comments to this post, or send me email with the details.

An Oasis from a Failed Three Six Oh

“For millions of years, mankind lived just like the animals.  Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination…we learned to talk.”  Stephen Hawking

Thanks for stopping by.  If you were directed here by my 360 link, let me tell you a little bit about my intentions.

It seems as if our wonderful group of online friends have been scattered to the wind over a long period of time.  I met many wonderful people on yahoo360’s social networking service.  The only problem is that failed promises from yahoo in fixing it or creating something “bigger and better” continue to disappoint.   I hate seeing so many people being scattered to the wind.

This is, however, a blessing in disguise.  I ended up throwing my own blog on WordPress to cross post from the marginally operational yahoo360 site that I began with over a year ago.  What’s been happening since then has surprised me.

I’m making new friends, and many of them are not even within the small community of yahoo360.  In fact, many of them aren’t even transgendered.  Kinda cool.

I have invited some of these new people to join us here in this corporate blog.  Hence the name TRANScend GENDER.  It’s not just about being trans that makes us who we are, nor should it rule supreme in our thoughts and lives.  There is more to life than just life transgender.  And that’s why I want significant others or other non-trans friends to pipe in and share their ideas with me and with us.

And I don’t want any of us to lose sight in getting the support each and every one of us needs to get from here…to there, wherever that may be.

I just want people to find a place to come together and post what’s on their mind. A place where people can come to throw their thoughts into a blog where we can all view, review, and post comments. It’s also a place where we can share our own thoughts, and all of this without having to search or bookmark each other in 300 different places. Cross post from your own blog, 360 site, Myspace, or wherever. Contribute whenever you like. Comment whenever also. Do your thing, just do it with us!

Is that such a hard thing to do? we’ll see.

Lori D.