Whaddya know?

Some days just kinda suck.  Perhaps you have a stressful meeting.  Or the house is a total disaster and you aren’t going to have the opportunity to straighten it up.  Maybe you had to rush all day long, sometimes to the same place three times, in a vain attempt to get one simple errand taken care of.  Or it could be that someone (presumably inadvertently) threw a wrench into that which you (mistakenly) thought you had a handle on.  Or it could have been a sudden mental note coming to life reminding you that if you don’t cook that chicken up tonight you had best throw it away or risk an ugly outbreak of salmonella raging through your house.  And, if you are really lucky (or me) you can experience all of these and more in one day.  Yep, some days just kinda suck.

Coming off a wonderful and relaxing weekend, it was even more brutal than normal to hear an alarm clock go off at 6 a.m. today.  This morning wasn’t just any Monday-morning-after-a-vacation-week…it was the morning that we were going to meet with the folks at the GeMS (Gender Management Services) Clinic at Children’s Hospital.  It is the first of what will be a long series of meetings which will spread over the next few years.  Yes, years.  Before she can even be considered for puberty blockers, Jessie has to be not just thinking about puberty, but in the throes of it.   That, dear friends, seems to be far enough in the offing that there is not much of anything that we either can or should be doing any differently than we have been.  “Just keep doing what you’ve been doing” is the mantra we have heard over and over from person after person.  Frankly, it is getting irritating.  Patience has never been my strong suit and when it comes to matters involving my child and his/her gender, I am not inclined to change course.  Sucks for me.

Perhaps the most mind-blowing (and by mind-blowing I mean mind-fucking) thing I learned today was a statistic that literally made me nauseous.  Despite the fact that I might have heard it before, it still struck me much like I would imagine it feels to have a sledgehammer land squarely on your head: Seventy-five percent of kids who identify as transgender prior to puberty wind up, gulp, changing their minds.  Most of those then go on to live as gay men and/or women.  Of course this means that a full twenty-five percent continue on the path that Jessie is so deeply entrenched in, but it still freaked me out.  That said, I maintain my contention that a ten year old boy socially transitioning without hesitation has to mean that there was something calling to him (g.c.i.) loudly and powerfully.  But what do I know?

I pose that question rhetorically, but I do actually have a few responses to it.  For starters, I know that Jessie loves to get dressed in the morning and, once she settles on an outfit, departs for school with at least some pink somewhere and does so with joy and without hesitation.  I know that many of the most unpleasant “symptoms” of her prior distress have disappeared completely.  I know that she thinks of herself as a girl named Jessie and not a boy named George.  And I know that, for now, anyway, she is very confident and content in her new persona.  As far as what the future holds – yeah, well that I clearly don’t know.  But I take great comfort in the fact that nobody knows in part because I hate being the only one not in on the things.

But things aren’t all bad.  Harrison took a bunch of pictures of me and Jessie tonight, including this one:

28 thoughts on “Whaddya know?

  1. Julie (and Jessie, and family), you guys rock. I love reading your posts and am proud to have you as a great friend’s great friend. Janet W. and I go way back (you and I have met a few times too) and yesterday we were celebrating birthdays. I mentioned how … hmmm don’t even know what the right word is here … thrilled/proud/happy/supportive I am of what you are undertaking. Janet mentioned how Jessie’s always gravitated towards dolls and dresses, even when she was 2 years old. And then we switched over to Alex and his love of cars, also from the first moment he was able to identify with them.

    Some things are just meant to be. Thank you so much for letting us share in your journey.

    • Thanks, Melinda! I remember Alex being like that way back when. Oh, wait, just yesterday he and Harrison (still besties after all these years) were salivating over some car…a GT something. Following one’s heart is the way to go and more power to those who are able to! I love that one of my bestie’s besties is following along, too!

  2. Julie,
    Whatever path Jessie chooses post-puberty, she will do so knowing she has support and love to count on. That is a gift that the 3 of you have given to your child/sibling more precious than any “statistic” can speak to. I too hate uncertainty…but unfortunately life doesn’t always accommodate us.

    Puberty sucks no matter what….only to be meet again in later life by menopause. But the ride in between is worth it.

  3. Remember that season on Dallas when Bobby died and the writers developed entirely new story lines that everyone hated?

    As the TV sudience dwindled, the writers changed their minds, decided the entire prior season was a dream, and brought Bobby back like nothing had ever happened.

    And everyone proceeded without blinking an eye.

    I’m guessing that if Jessie has a similiar “WTF did I do?” moment in the future, the reaction will be the same. Life happens. People change. The world continues.

    Ultimately this is G/J’s life and he/she will settle in a place of comfort. You may be driving the car but she is giving the directions.

    Stay the course and keep doing what you are doing. Time will tell and there is not a damn thing you can do about it anyway.


  4. What Robbie said! It is so true. Sure yesterday was hard and all meetings and appts to follow maybe hard too. This is where, I think, the taking it day by day or even hour by hour may come in handy. You take the info you get and file it away, either in your head or in a drawer. Some of it might be helpful and some of it scary. Truth is none of us knows what will happen, today, tomorrow or in the future. My mom, a very wise woman, always says, “I could get hit by a bus tomorrow.” Yeah thanks Ma! But you get the idea Julie. I read your post today and felt your pain. Then I read about Jessie being happier than she’s ever been and got teary eyed. Your pain = her happiness. Sounds like parenting to me:). BTW – the picture of you and Jessie is gorgeous! You BOTH look so happy. Blow that baby up and put it in a prominent room where you can see it every day. Xo

  5. One of the best parts of reading your blog is hearing you voice the uncertainty of trying to make the “right” decisions … something we all do every day, sometimes on a very small scale, and sometimes a larger one. You clearly are grappling with one of the largest ones of all, so we all listen attentively. But this post is an uplifting reminder us that decisions, big and small, or even unbearably weighty, are not the final word, even if they do have substantial consequences. Rather, they just bring us to the next step, the next decision which can be made if and when we find ourselves needing to make another one. Not sure that your shitty day was intended to send this message, but it’s one I got from the good read. And the picture is precious.

    • By the end of the day, it didn’t feel so shitty, actually. I just have to keep myself in check and remember that this is not an event, but a journey. (I cannot take credit for that, though. My dear friend Riva was the one who said it and it has stayed with me.)

  6. Julie —

    First, that picture is gorgeous, of both of you. Second, I was thinking as I read this blog entry that, as a parent, you have not only embarked on one of the most difficult and challenging journeys imaginable, but that you are doing it with unbelievable grace. I think you are amazing.


    • Awwww…thanks, Carol! Next time we overlap over manis I will give you a hug in person. I contend that I am not doing anything that you or any of your three daughters wouldn’t do, mostly because they, like me, were brought up right! xo

  7. Responding to “Seventy-five percent of kids who identify as transgender prior to puberty wind up, gulp, changing their minds. Most of those then go on to live as gay men and/or women.” There are so many facets to these types of decisions. One of my daughter’s classmates, Dan (formerly Miranda) is transitioning to male in anticipation of being a gay man. I’m just so happy that these choices exist and am so glad to know of kids who have such amazing families to support them through the process.

    • Truthfully, I do no care if Jessie is male, female, homosexual, heterosexual, bi-sexual, tri-sexual…as long as she is happy. And I really mean that. As long as she feels free to be whomever she wants to be, the rest will be easy.

  8. Hi Julie and Jessie,
    First, fantastic picture! I showed it to a friend who had no information about this situation but told her nothing except this was a picture of my cousin and her child. She thought Jessie was an adorable girl. As do I. And Julie, your hair looks fantastic in this shot (so shiny!).
    I’m glad you had a good, recent shot for the Phoenix article—and that Harrison got credit for the photo!
    As you know, going this “out” will cause backlash. I just saw one comment in which the writer didn’t agree but put it nicely overall and is praying for you and Jessie. I kinda felt like replying and asking that if he shaves his beard, is he going against G-d’s plan; after all, beards grow naturally and, therefore, are meant to be there!

    • We did not have the picture, rather took it for the article since we couldn’t unearth a good one to save our lives. I have not checked the page today, but will certainly go see what Mr. Negative had to say…

  9. I stumbled upon your blog today (congrats on your Freshly Pressed status!), and I am enthralled.
    Your family has to be the most supporting, and loving, that I have ever come across.
    You really love each other unconditionally.

    Beautiful picture, by the way! Jessie has your features 🙂

  10. I showed this picture to my 10 year old daughter and 12 year old son and explained Jessie is a boy who decided to become a girl. I asked them what they think about that. The both said, “cool!” and commented that she is very pretty. My 12 year old son cracked me up with his innocence. He explained, “I would go out with her because she is like really good looking, but if I wanted to throw the football with her I bet she would be awesome!”. My daughter’s thoughts were a little different. She loves to paint her fingernails and toenails and she loves to have designs on her toenails. She is curious if Jessie does her finger nails and has cool designs painted on her toes. My daughter thinks Jessie makes an awesome looking girl and she thinks this is a very cute picture.

    • Throughout this entire process I have marveled at how accepting kids are. When Jess first transitioned the principal told me that she was more concerned about the parents than the kids. I am pleased to report that neither the parents nor the kids were terribly phased by it all. Ahhhh

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