From a Child of a Trans Parent

Posted by – July 22, 2009

This is B.’s reaction to the Chloe Prince documentary that was on the other night. Since I’m a partner, & have a soapbox from which to talk about my reaction as a partner, I thought I’d open my blog to the child of a trans parent on her feelings.

She’s 15, and her father, now female, transitioned about five years ago. She was about the same age as Prince’s eldest when she as told of her father’s imminent transition.

At first all I really felt was sadness for the children and the wife. The poor woman had to watch her spouse say on TV that she thought she might not have transitioned if she had stayed with her ex-girlfriend, something that must have felt awful and been humiliating to watch. I was shocked that the children’s reaction to the fact that their father was going to become a woman had been recorded in the first place, let alone aired on TV. As the child of a transgendered person I would be horrified if my initial reaction was shown to people all over who I didn’t even know. It’s an incredibly private moment that the rest of the world doesn’t have any business in watching.

As the show progressed I started to feel increasingly angry, and not just because she seemed to me a parody of a woman, intent on acting like a stereotype of how a woman “should be” and appearing very feminine, or because despite this femininity she still did all the “masculine” chores around the house, and we got to see pictures of her working with tools and at her job (I would have expected someone who had undergone a male to female transition to not be sexist).

I wanted to punch a hole in the wall every time it was mentioned that the children had “lost” a father. I never lost my father, just because she’s a woman doesn’t make any difference to the fact that she is my father. A sex change operation doesn’t change that. Chloe had no right to be upset about being missed out on the mother’s day photo- it was for mother’s day, not father’s day. Those children are going to have a hell of a time growing up now, and will have to deal with people they don’t know recognizing them and even judging for something they didn’t even do.

Thanks very much B. for sharing your thoughts with us. I would love to read comments from other trans people with kids, if their kids watched, what they thought.

2 Comments on From a Child of a Trans Parent

  1. Donna says:

    I am quite sure that my own son (who is now 19; I transitioned when he was 14) would have had an identical reaction had he seen this. He didn’t lose his father; the fact that I’m a woman makes no difference. I’ll forward this to him and see if he’d like to comment.

    Donna

  2. Ruby says:

    Our son, who is now 19, and was 17 when he found out about his transsexual parent, would see this differently, I am pretty sure. He is allowed to call his TS parent “Mom.” For us, a female parent is a mom, momma, mamacita, mother or mommy, not a father. I am not jealous of sharing the privilege or the title. When our son is meeting someone new, he “comes out” to them by saying “I have two moms,” and then smiles broadly. Their reaction to this identity gives him information about who he is getting to know.

    When someone is unwilling to share the title for a female parent, it is effectively “gender entitlement,” in other words, a sentiment that says, it is MY gender and you can’t have it. This is the same sentiment that men who dislike and feel threatened by outspoken and assertive women are experiencing. The roots of this entitlement stem from misogyny, that age-old product of patriarchal society.

    When I saw the documentary, my feeling about the kids was how honest they were about what was really troubling them: “I just wish they would get along” or something to that effect. I am certain that when two adults are unable to reconcile their love for one another above and beyond gender and sex, it is far more damaging to a child than if the child observes a growth process without the bickering, wailing, and blaming.

    This week on screen, I watched a young man in Iowa stand up to testify in the court in favor of homosexual marriage. He was raised by two lesbians; he’s always been in the top of his class academically; he was exceptionally well spoken, handsome, confident. A child does not NEED to have a father to be healthy.

    Ruby

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