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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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?