Yo, Jane Doe

It took nearly 130 posts and over a year, but I finally got a negative (nasty, actually) comment on this blog.  It is the first one (of the 3,000+ I have received) that I have elected to leave unapproved and, therefore, unseen by the general readership.  Not surprisingly, it came from a Jane Doe.  No, literally, she* took the time to create an email address of janedoe@googlemail.com before letting me know that she believes me to be a misguided and poorly-taught-by-my-parents parent (sorry, Mom) and that what I am experiencing is “nothing special”.  She knows, after all, because she is also parenting a transgender child and, therefore, is the authority on how to do things correctly while I, it seems, have mastered doing them incorrectly.

She further accuses me of writing for “you and your own acceptance” as if that is the worst thing I could ever do.  I own it.  I am a person, not just a parent, and need support and, well, yeah, acceptance.  Clearly Jane is a better person than I since she is able to fly solo on this crazy-ass adventure while I have not.  Props to her?

The only line she scribed which I will admit (briefly) tripped me up was her closing sentence: keep it private and don’t make a spectacle of your child…..it will come back to bite them. Okay, full disclosure: this is something I grapple with every time I hit the “publish post” button.  I have discussed it out loud and in my head, the latter usually in the middle of the night.  I have considered the positives and negatives associated with sharing our story as intimately as I have. (Now might be a good time to make myself feel better, er, let y’all know that there is much to our story that I do not share on these pages.  There are many experiences and events which have not made it to the blog…some of which are doozies.  I do, it is important to note, self edit more than you might think.) Here is an important piece of the puzzle: Jessie is not stealth.  She does not keep the fact that she is a girl who has “boy parts” a secret.  In fact, she is the one who tells new acquaintances with her head held high in the process.  She knows all about the blog and has even been known to offer up suggestions for entries.  I am taking her lead.  Am I finding a degree of support and acceptance in the process?  You bet I am.  Is this experience as a parent (as a person!) “nothing special” as Jane suggests?  Are you kidding me??  It is a huge deal.

I know nothing about Jane Doe.  I do know that she did not have the inclination? courage? wherewithal? courtesy? maturity? balls? to identify herself whilst she stood upon her soap box and chastised me for my choices.  Had she opted to criticize me without hiding out behind the veil of secrecy that is inherent in her very email address, I would have approved the message and thanked her for her opinion.  Had she respected me for being a less private and more open person than she, I also would have approved the message. (That sounded more judgmental than I intended…but can think of no other way to say it.  I am a very open person.  It is just a fact.)  And had she shown the compassion that any other parent of a transgender child owes to their like-experiencing compatriots, I would have approved the message.  But, no.  She did none of those things.  Instead she lumped herself onto the top of the heap of haters that troll the internet and cast aspersions anonymously.  Up to her to do so, up to me to not approve.

The logical question now, then, is to call me out as to why I am giving any credence to her comment by dedicating an entire blog post to it.  Fair question.  It feels somehow disingenuous of me to know that I am being called out and choosing not to publish it on the blog. I am sure that Jane is not the only one who feels that I suck for one reason or another.  There are probably many Jane Does out there horrified by what I share, but I pride myself on being open and honest and will not allow myself to be derailed by a nameless, faceless Jane Doe.  Truth be told, I made the decision for me and for my readers.  I made it so as to not sully what has become a positive and supportive spot for so many people, most of whom I do not know.  It is a place where people have shared their own experiences, struggles and triumphs with the transgender (and gender variant and non gender variant) people in their lives.  There is criticism and judgment aplenty in the big world out there…who the hell needs to find it on a blog?  And, given the fact that I am entirely certain of nothing in this world, it gives me a little bit of a warm and fuzzy feeling that my blog is something I have complete and total control over.  So there, Jane Doe.  Send me a comment with a real name and a non-judgmental angle and I will happily publish it.  I will even discuss it with you. Do not get all high and mighty…I don’t respond well to that.  And neither do my readers.


*I am not sure why I am referring to Jane as “her”…”she” may be a “he” or “she” may be somewhere on the gender fluidity spectrum and not care to ascribe to any particular pronoun.  Who knows?  More importantly, who cares?





46 thoughts on “Yo, Jane Doe

  1. What Jane Doe doesn’t realize (or does but doesn’t care) is your blog helps others. Lets other parents realize they are not alone. Sad for Jane Doe that she can’t open up like you. Even sadder for her child.

  2. Oh Julie. Where to even begin? Is it even worth the effort to answer this troll? I seriously doubt “she” has a “transgender child” but if “she” does I feel for her/him! I’m guessing this is just a “hater” though. Ho hum. There are a lot of us that love this blog and your posts, both about Jessie and otherwise! As for motives, why does anyone write anything?

    I hope that this gives you no distress whatsoever.

  3. I am sure that they are people out there who think that I suck for one reason or another and I don’t have a transgender child or a blog. There are always people out that who don’t agree with how someone else is doing something or conducting themselves and feel the need to preach the wrongdoings of that person. But, oh well! I think that your are amazing and that your blog is doing more positive than negative!!! And I bet that most people would agree with that!!

  4. I’m wondering if Jane Doe’s comments were in reply to your “Good Mom” post. I’m sure that she is trying to be a good mom, even letting her child lick the beaters with the mixer turned off. Too bad if it’s a bitter batter, though. Anyway, the best way to parent an extraordinary child is to do so extraordinarily. This is what I see you doing.

    I will admit that my comments to your blog are sometimes self-serving. I could write my own blog, but it would be read almost entirely by other transgender or gender variant people. It’s not that we in that “community” don’t need the support of each other, but I’m sure that the vast majority of us could have avoided so much guilt, shame, and poor self-image had we been parented differently in the beginning. I hold myself up as an example of what can result from “keeping things private”. At 61, I’m finally about ready for junior high. 😉

    By the way, my name is not really Constance. I tried for Jane Doe, but that name had been taken long ago. 🙂

  5. I would imagine it is painful to walk this journey alone. Jane must be sad and or jealous that you have people. You also have guts and courage/balls to live out loud and when you do that you are surrounded by people who love an support you! I for one thank you for doing it out loud! As always you rock!

  6. I agree Julie .. If she had sent in the comment in a more public way it would have allowed of us to see another point of view and in some way given her the support that she needed, whether her story is true or not. I think this is the way we get through life, the good, bad and the ugly. No one EVER gets a free ride in this life and the stories we share with family, friends and strangers alike, about incredibly private things, provide us much needed support and comfort, allow us to get amazing advice from others who have weathered the storm or who just love us and want us to feel better and help us to see, above all else, that we are not alone, which BTW, I hold at the top of the list. My guess is that she was/is having a hard time with her family and the need to stay private outweighs all the benefits of going public with her personal story. That makes me sad … because I don’t know a single soul who hasn’t struggled, doesn’t struggle, continues to struggle, who hasn’t benefited from telling their stories – to their family, to their friends, on blogs, in columns, etc., etc., etc. If the story is true, she is a coward and I feel sorry for her and her child. If the story is true you have to feel sorry for someone who doesn’t have the guts to speak her mind in a more public way. Her email to you only shows her weaknesses and flaws and not anyone else’s.

  7. Keep it up Julie! By nature, a blog will always illicit its share of detractors and neigh sayers preaching their way as the right way, but a blog, for many, is a form of therapy. Isolation and hiding of a truth will only lead to more issues or problems in our journey called life. Just as we have taught our children the difference between privacy and secrets and how secrets lead to lies and that lies grow in size as we continue to cover our tracks, so too will repressing our children’s need to express themselves as they truly see themselves or wish to discover themselves.

    For Ms. Doe, I personally appreciate and welcome different points of view and interpretation because I am no scholar nor do I claim to know that I am guiding my family on the best path. What I do know is that opposing views offer perspective and sometimes serve to teach in ways I hardly expected. Have your view and opinion but share it in a way that would make your Grandmother proud to read your thoughts. As you (hopefully) read the replies to your post, maybe you will learn something or gain an insight to a group of people supporting each other in their shared experience of raising the children who threw us curve balls that none of us could have ever expected.

  8. Anyone that writes you and says what they said using a false identity is probably just a hater trying to rattle you. The rest of us know that you are doing great parenting for Jessie. Keep up the great work!

  9. > More importantly, who cares?< Apparently you – so much that you'd devote an entire blog post about it. I understand your offense, your anger, your DEfense. As always, I applaud your humility, your openness (who *doesn't need that little bit of affirmation and respect for your choices, even if they are different than another's) and the wonderful parent you are being for that blossoming child of yours in accepting her as she presents herself today. But just as I hate all the media attention that murderers, rapists, mass shooters in our schools, etc., I hate the attention this miserable Jane Doe receives in your blog post. It's really not worth your energy or attention. If she really *does* have a transgendered child, she's jealous of *your* attention. And you're obliging.

  10. When having a baby, as you leave the hospital or if you have an at home birth, ‘you’ are handed a beautiful human being….and none comes with a manual…. Most of us will learn as we go since each beautiful human being is different… Along the way we may impart words/ actions/ wisdom of what we learned from our families and friends and others… I know myself… I try to use all of the aforementioned, while crosssing all appendages that can be crossed and hope something sticks…. Each beautiful human being will take it all in, mix it around and determine what recipe works for them.. And continue to learn as they/ we go…
    Channel 7 abc news new york.. on fri had a report on transgender.. I did not happen to catch it but hopefully anyone who can learn from it will google it and watch it.
    Keep writing Julie…. Xoxo

  11. I’m glad you write this blog. Even though I’m the one going through transition, it helps me understand how some of my family members might feel.

    On another note, I also wrestle with how much or if I should share my family’s story. So far, everyone has been supportive, but I don’t want to make things harder for my kids than they already are.

  12. Yeah, anonymous writing = cowardly. She or He has an interesting point in the sense that even if you let Jessie guide your writing, Jessie is a child, and adult Jessie might be a little more closeted, but that’s a family thing to talk about, not something a stranger should dictate to you.

  13. I am writing because my mother is an active follower of this blog and as a mother of a transsexual teen (ME) herself she has found comfort and understanding in the posts that she has read. This “Jane Doe” as they call themselves is a coward, but much more they are hypocrite. They call you out on the way in which you help others to accept their child, while telling you exactly how you should accept your own? That just doesn’t sit well with me as I am sure it didn’t with you. My mother, has spent the last 6 years supporting me and actively standing by my side to ensure I am safe and turn into a good man. While I choose to live my life without being stealth, I believe it is the parents purgative how they choose to share the information about your transition with others, especially in order to help others. The things you have posted, the stories you have told, and lives you have changed are important. As a transsexual man whom lives his life openly everyday and has the support and love of his family, I commend you and your daughter for your openness and for allowing people to look into your life, in order to help.
    Although I understand why you wrestle with these ideas, rest assured that you are doing a very good thing.
    I will leave you with one last piece of information: The transgender community often discusses how terrible it is that we are not only judged by those whom watch from the outside, but we judge our own members every day. We make people feel like they need to fit into a mold in order to be completely male or female and that they need to follow certain steps in order to transition and those who choose to not follow the same steps are viewed in a very different light. It is terrible that this kind of judgment is being portrayed in our accepting parents as well. You chose to love your child no matter what and help them to be the best they can be, no one has the right to tell you that you’ve done anything wrong.


  14. Julie, I really respect what you are doing. Yes, there are pros/cons and risks/benefits to everything. There is no perfect decision about how to manage things like blogs and posting and sharing. But I think that there is a spectrum of acceptable and you are well within that spectrum–thoughtful, considered, respectful. Yes, you may put your child “out there” (as she does herself) but maybe you will also help the world understand her better and treat her better and become more accepting which surely is in her best interest. These are all tradeoffs and we all make them every day. I could never have a blog (not that there is anything of significant excitement or interest in my life!) because I would melt under any negative comment, so just seeing how someone else deals with painful criticism with courage and strength is helpful to me. I know that wasn’t even the point of your post, but you touch lives in ways you may not even know or hear about.

  15. julie,
    I just wanted to tell you how brave I feel you have been with everything and support you guys ( gals!) 100%. It s a hard line to tow and you are doing your best to do it honestly. Its been a rough 2 years but I just wanted to throw in my support. I am coming back East when I can find a beach house near /around hull/hingham/cohasset/scituate. Would love to see you guys then. XO Heidi

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