Decidedly Undecided

Transgender everything is everywhere and I am decidedly undecided about how I feel about it.

On the one hand, all the exposure, explanations and acceptance are spectacular. On the other hand, that’s a whole of exposure, explanations and (not so much) acceptance. Oh, the irony.

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With this latest round of chatter (thank you, Caitlyn Jenner) I have found myself again asking why anyone gives a shit. I know that sounds trite and, perhaps ridiculous, but seriously…how does one person’s gender (or any other, for that matter) expression in any way impact me, you or the mailman? I get that it is (un)comfortably outside of the norm. I get that it is not what most of us grew up with. I even get that what feels natural and real to the transgender person and their families, feels extraordinarily unnatural and unreal to folks who are on the outside looking in. I. Get. It.

What I don’t get is how polarizing the whole subject matter is. Oh, I do, but I don’t. See: decidedly undecided.
I will acknowledge that the sheer volume of media attention is indeed making it virtually impossible, particularly for those folks who are uncomfortable and unable to latch onto the concept, to avoid it. Even in the three and a half years since our transition (to be clear: it is an entire family that needs to transition) the discussion has changed dramatically…and while I applaud the newfound understanding, I worry about it being too much all at once. And, boys and girls, that just gives me one more thing to worry about.

Yes, I have seen the Vanity Fair cover. Yes, I will buy the magazine and read the article. Yes, I believe this is a good thing in terms of paving over the gravel on the road that my kid is travelling. And yes, I think about it every single day. Repeatedly.
No, I don’t think that the people who are spewing hate, anger and vitriol are playing fair. No, I don’t understand why they, as I have already said, give a shit. And no, it isn’t easy to listen to.

The media is entirely schizophrenic on this subject and has caused tremendously good and fantastically horrid banter. This, in my mind, only breeds more anxiety on both sides. I love that transgender is part of the national discussion. I hate that it is, too. I just want my kid to be whomever she is…girl, boy, somewhere in between.

Yes, I am decidedly undecided.

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16 thoughts on “Decidedly Undecided

  1. Your thoughts mirror my own as I cringe, applaud, recoil and celebrate through this national discussion. As with any issue of such caliber it will take all these emotions to get to acceptance. I only wish we were further down the road. For the sake of my own transgendered child and for our country and world.

  2. Julie, I am so with you on this!! You always (almost anyway) express what I am feeling and hit the nail right on the head. I have only commented here a couple of times, but my husband transitioned about 5 years ago. Not all of my “acquaintances” know about my husband. I vacillate between telling everything and not telling another soul ever again. It’s like a train wreck that I can’t stop watching – I hate seeing what some of my “friends” post on Facebook when it’s hateful, but am encouraged when there’s support. I’m glad that Caitlyn is exposing more people to the issue, but I hate the negative results. And just as an FYI, my husband won’t even watch any of the accounts on TV, did not watch the Dianne Sawyer interview, and thinks that none of this is going to help. She’s always been a pessimist though. Hugs to you and to all of us. One way or another we’ll make it through.

  3. You accurately expressed my sentiments. And you hit the nail on the head when you said it’s the whole family who transitions- all in our own ways.

  4. ” I have found myself again asking why anyone gives a shit.” Me too. Unless it’s someone you know and love, who really cares what people wear or look like under their clothes? Why can’t people stop talking about it, whether it’s someone they pass on the street or a celebrity?

    Having a mother as a nurse who was against any medical interventions unless absolutely necessary (it wasn’t even until I was an adult that I realized there are products out there that help relieve cold symptoms!), I admit that I do wonder about the health issues surrounding taking hormones and surgeries, but that is something for medial researchers and people contemplating transition to discuss.

    I do wish we had a genderless pronoun, like some languages do, rather than “he” and “she.” (And I don’t mean “ze,” at least now. I mean something that is the common and general vernacular.) It would make life a lot easier, and not just in relation to transgender folks.

  5. There has to be acceptance and inclusion for Trans people by “society” for things to get better for the 99 percent that are not like Kaitlin Jenner. They are struggling to live life and be accepted as an equal human. Many people “get it” however comments from haters drowned out the positive. I wish we had a world where gender “has to be A or B ” when we know that is a bunch of crap.

  6. Fellow transgender mom blogger with similar sentiments. I know many in the community are getting tired of the media coverage. I think even more so in households like ours where we are having private and public conversations with well, it seems like everyone. I’m so appreciative that Caitlyn Jenner has brought the word transgender into (what seems like) every American household. But, wow. I’m exhausted. I often can’t stop myself from starting to read horrible blog posts but get halfway through and close it because it’s no different than what I’ve read before. Suddenly, there’s just more of it. Stumbled on your blog today and thought, “Yeah, she gets it.”

  7. Julie,

    I’ve been a following your blog for quite sometime as a quiet lurker.

    Someone close to me is struggling with some of the same things as Jessie. I want to say I admire your honesty.

    Sadly, I can understand why it’s so polarizing.

    I grew up in a Southern conservative church. When you sit in a pew and hear over and over how homosexuality and struggling with transgender issues is an “abomination,” acceptance is almost an impossibility. Twenty-five years ago, I might have been one of the people so offended. Conservative Christians (I still consider myself somewhat one) are quite good at not wanting someone else’s morality forced upon them, but have no problem wanting their beliefs forced on others.

    I still consider myself very much a person of faith. But the Jesus I follow reached out to the people who didn’t fit society’s norm, and showed them love and compassion. Heck, I’m a single parent who raised two kids, and our family never quite fit society’s norm either (my daughter struggled with her sexuality in her early teens).

    I pray for kids like Jessie that they’ll see a time where “Trans” isn’t a label anymore, that they can be who they really are.

    Scott

  8. I totally agree with you, as usual, Julie. I don’t know why anything different is always a cause for concern to some people, ESPECIALLY when it doesn’t concern them at all.

    I’ve been dealing with this issue for 57 years and have recently decided to just bury it inside for good. The reason is- it’s just too much trouble. I have decided to just be what I’ve presented to the world forever- a normal guy- one whom the world will accept. The irony is that I choose to do this now, when people are finally more aware, and potentially understanding in the future of transgender folks. I never did follow the trends, so I guess I’m being consistent. You, and every other women knows- how hard it is to be a woman- to have to be this or that for a certain person, look this or that way, do this or that thing, all because you’re nice, or considerate, in love, or it’s expected. To try to do that when you’re fighting the ravages of a lifetime of testosterone is equally hard, especially when the world is still all to busy “giving a shit” when it shouldn’t concern them anyway.

    Bravo to all of you who are supportive of those in your lives who are able to be their true selves because of your support and encouragement, especially in the face of much disapproval by others. As a lifetime expert on the subject, I can tell you with certainty: you are doing the right thing! I am fully aware that I was born too early to have that support when I was young. It was NOT a possibility then, when it would have made a difference. At some point it really does become an uphill climb to realize your true self, if only from a completely practical standpoint, and that can ultimately turn into the decision that it’s just too much trouble. I know it must help to have scads of money and a supportive family, but kudos to Caitlyn for deciding after all these years, that the trouble is worth it.

    I’ve been reading your blogs since George was becoming Jessie, and although I’ve not been too vocal in my responses- I’ve been behind you 100% Julie. I always knew you were doing the right thing for her. To the rest of you who read her blogs and are living with the transgender surprise (which it always is, even for us that are) please know that supporting someone you love is never a bad thing- you are doing what’s right, kind- and loving too. You are all amazing!

  9. Much love and support to you and your family. May the road be smooth and the journey fulfilling. I can see that it’s getting better for us trans folk, slowly but surely. People are waking up to it, that’s all, that’s why all the fuss. It’s like they just learned about black people and racism, or women and voting. It’s understandable that they have questions… (they’re a bit slow). It’s not a trend, it’s a wave of awareness.
    Love to Jessie. Go girl.

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