What If Your Kid Is Transgender?


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In light of the recent “announcement” of Apple’s CEO Tim Cook’s gay admission and another report from NPR telling the story of a family with a 2 1/2 year old son showing signs suggesting he may be transgender, I decided to spark a conversation with my husband. What if our child was transgender? I knew where I stood on the subject, but then again I am a woman and I feel that women tend to be slightly more open minded. How is that for gender generalization? Ask a man if he would care if his male child wanted to wear dresses to school and you might be in for a fight, even in this day and age.

So, as we are having this conversation about our possible future children, and trust me that is still up for debate in our house, I wonder how many others have talked about it. We look for a partner in life that shares our same values and conversations normally occur about what kind of schools, or discipline or nutrition we want to implement in our parenting, but how often do we talk about gender or sexual preference. Now, I want you to know straight away that I am a huge supporter of the LGBT community and so is my husband. So, please forgive me if I reference something wrong or use words like “preference”, it’s not an intention of suggesting it’s a choice, so whatever your perspective, excuse my language use. Anywho, as expected when I approached the subject with my husband of our 2 year old boy possibly wanting to start wearing dresses instead of pants, he was a bit apprehensive. He put down his game controller (indicating he was really listening) and said “well, I feel like 2 is a little young and the back lash from school and other parents could cause reall damage, I’d like to wait until he was a little older, but if it was consistent and important to him, I’d let him, eh but not at 2”. This was not the answer I wanted, but it did bring something to the surface I’d hated to admit might be true. Did it cause damage due to society pressure? Was it wrong to encourage if there was a interest expressed?

I am the kind of person who wouldn’t think twice if my son wanted to go to school in a dress, even at 2. I’d probably say “ok, that sounds like fun”. I mean, what is gender if not just a society perspective on how we should act and dress as “men” and “women”. No one said women have to wear dresses, have long hair and play with Barbie’s. No one said that boys have short hair, wear pants and play with trucks. However, somehow as a society we have come to view this as the “right” way of doing things in our current gender roles. I really have no idea why this is and until now have never given much thought to it, sadly. In a society that is finally slowly starting to shift their perspective on the subject and more and more people are starting to become more and more comfortable with the idea, it seems to me this should start to become more and more of a “normal” conversation, right? Maybe my children will be lucky enough to grow up in a world where a major CEO being gay isn’t news worthy anymore. I want to be prepared for that day and I want to make sure I am doing the “right” thing to encourage the natural growth and individualism of my child. However, my husband brings up a good point too. What if my children are not privileged enough to be part of such an accepting society? What if it takes us even more years to get to that point? I really struggle with this. I think for boys in particular at an early age this might be more difficult. No one really questions a little girl that’s a tom boy and likes to play in dirt, but a little boy in a dress is like catastrophic for some reason.

In the end, the conversation might not even come up, but I want to be prepared if it does come up and I want my husband and I to be loving and open to our children (if we have any, ahh). Just as importantly, if the conversation comes up about a friend of our child in this situation, I want my child to be just and open and loving to them. However, not everyone shares my sentiments on this and I think it’s important that we get really clear in our relationships on where we stand on the matter. You’re entitled to your opinion and so is your partner, but if you can’t come to some kind of common ground on this, you’re going to run into issues and ultimately become divided as a family, which sadly is the case all too often. If you do not share my perspective, I encourage you to give some real thought and soul searching to your resistance. The reasons why you resist the idea have everything to do with you and nothing to do with anyone else, so food for thought. Anyway, I am by no means an expert in the area and of course I am not claiming to be, but I just thought it would be interesting to put this thought into the world and encourage couples to have the conversation as freely with your partner as you do the color of the nursery. Because it’s important. I was lucky enough to grow up in a very accepting family and I’m thankful for that. I want to create that for my children, I want them not to be afraid to talk about it. I want them to show love to everyone and I hope that one day this is the new normal and that it will no longer require pondering how to approach the converstation or what implications will come as a result. Until then, I am happy that my husband and I are loving and open enough with each other and with the world to have an honest debate on the matter. Can you?

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If You Think You’re Pretty


When I was 10 the coolest thing around was the roller skating rink. If “coolest” didn’t show my age I’m sure the skating rink bit did, but then again I’m a slightly out of touch on what’s hip with the kids these days, so maybe cool is still cool. I guess I need to have some kids so I can know what’s cool again even though parenthood inevitably makes me uncool with both my friends and kids alike. The skating rink always smelled of stale popcorn and sweaty teenagers, but I loved it. My mom would take me every weekend for months. Until one of the “punk teenagers” pushed her and she broke both her arms, yes both her arms! My father nearly killed the kid, like seriously. You don’t know my dad. Anyway, getting off topic here. I so desperately wanted to be one of the cool pretty girls. I wanted to dress like them and talk like them and be picked first for the couples skate. Unfortunately, I was a frizzy red headed slightly overweight tragically fashion challenged very loud and awkward little girl. Need more of a visual? You know that little girl in a bumble bee outfit tap dancing for like homeless dudes in the “rain” video by Blind Mellon? Yea. Pretty much like that. Look it up, early 90’s, tragic little girl, just like me. What ever happen to them?

Anyway, None the less, try I did, to fit in with the pretty cool girls. One such desperate attempt to be a cool girl was made up of a plaid skirt, knee high socks and a button down shirt. Maybe I was channeling my inner Britney Spears. Anyways, I clang to the only other girl in the rink near my age thinking strength in numbers. She was a foul mouthed too short for her age gum in chewing confident runt. I wasn’t sure where all that confidence was being created in that bite size little body. We skated into the bathroom where the runt pulled out a small bottle of liquid from her even smaller training bra. She held it to her nose and inhaled “want some?” she asked pushing it into my face. It smelled like my dad on a day he forgot to use deodorant and compensated with what he called “foo foo juice”. I wrinkled my nose and turned away to cough saying “Why would I want that? You know that’s men’s cologne, right?”. The runt started rubbing the cologne on her neck laughing at my ignorance “Yea, I know it’s cologne doofus, I like to smell like men have been all over me”. I decided I was OK with not smelling like men had been all over me, that seemed like something I wasn’t cool enough to pull off and people would just think I’d lost a fight with a skunk. The cool older boy that worked Saturday’s playing music and making announcements came over the loud scratchy speaker “Ok kids, it’s time for snow ball, girls on the left and guys on the right! You know the drill, once around then rink and then grab a new partner”. I nearly fell on my butt as the girls put away their lip gloss and ran screaming out of the bathroom to line up against the wall. I hated snow ball. It was my most dreaded part of the night, I like shoot the duck or fast skate, those only took skill.

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Snow ball took coolness and being pretty and thin. It was kind of a stupid name, I always thought, because it made no sense at all. Now that I am an adult, I think some sick 40 something dude made it up and laughed hysterically at these unknowing teens happily running out to participate in “snow balling” each other. Ew. I just threw up in my mouth a little thinking about that and the scent from the rink came rolling back to me. Anyway, here I am on the wall of shame waiting for anyone to ask me to skate but even the dirty stinky boy passes me up for the girl next to me who puts out her hand without extending her arm and making a face like she was sucking on a lemon. Even the stinky boy passed me up. The runt had already been around the rink with three boys as I stand pathetically against the now empty girl side wall. I think about skating back to the benches, where at least I can appear not to care with the other SMART rejects that didn’t even attempt to stand on the wall. The runt comes over and does some fancy toe turn to rest up against the wall next to me since she was so tired after skating with so many boys. Bitch. Anyway, she goes “Why haven’t you skated with any boys” and I’m like “I dunno, maybe I look silly in my knee high socks, like maybe they only look cool when you’re not in roller skates, or maybe I should have smelled like men have been all over me or maybe…” she finally looked over at me and took a break from making google eyes at the boys passing by. She tilted her head smacking her gum and chewing like a new born cow.

She looked absolutely puzzled by what I was saying and I thought perhaps I needed to explain further my concern with my knee high socks, but she looks at me and starts talking so I don’t get the chance, “If you think you’re pretty, you’re pretty” she said in a high pitch squeal before skating off with boy number four. I felt like I had been hit with a sludge hammer. I repeated what she said to me, out loud, as she faded into the dark strobe lights of the romantic snow ball skate. “If I think I am pretty, I am pretty?” I asked out loud. What the hell does that mean? What do my socks and my scent have to do with how pretty I am? Until that moment it actually legitimately didn’t occur to me that anything like that would factor into how pretty I was. Not only did these things not factor in, but being pretty never even really occurred to me. Like, sure the boys weren’t asking me to skate, but it legitimately never occurred to me that it had anything to do with whether I was pretty or not. So, I rolled my silly socks down, turned my back to the rink and decided I was pretty. I decided I thought I was pretty that night, then I didn’t care if anyone asked me to skate. It’d just discovered this major secret, that I was pretty. So, I starred at the wall through the whole Whitney Houston song and counted the lines, for each line I repeated, “I’m pretty”. Seriously, I was 10 and this actually happened.

So, here I am feeling really good about myself and doing positive affirmation (before I knew what that was) and do you know what happened? Actually. Nothing. No one asked me to skate, but I strolled off that skate deck like I was a model on a run way and I did not give a shit. That felt really good. So, maybe it didn’t matter if a boy asked me to skate. In fact, I didn’t even bother getting up for the next “Snow Ball” skate. I waited until the skilled skating challenges and I won a trophy. I wish I could say that night changed my life. I wish I could tell you I didn’t struggle with eating disorders or seeking unhealthy attention, but I can’t. All I can say is, when I think back on that night, I think about the life long struggle I have had to get where I am today and that is empowering. One day, I hope I can meet a frizzy red headed slightly overweight tragically fashioned challenged very loud and awkward little girl and tell her “own that shit”. Because one day, none of this will matter and the fact that you are brilliant like no other will matter. I’ve had my fair skates with boys now that I am an adult, and it’s not all that great. Although, the affirmations followed me through life, so I guess I have something to thank that little smells like lots of men runt for.

Telling The Truth… It’s Ok


Lately I find myself telling the truth a lot more about myself. It’s as if something switched in me and suddenly I really have no shame about who I am. Including, who I was and who I am trying to be. Granted, some of these conversation have been flowing from wine and totally nonjudgmental company, but still. As I prepare to launch my woman’s empowerment “movement” where I plan to teach other woman how to become and continue to be empowered. I guess I reached a point when I decided that sometimes, you have to tell the truth. You have to get down to the nitty-gritty with people and let them see the downright ugly scary truth about you. Because the truth is that none of us is perfect and we’ve all made mistakes. I can’t put myself in front of a bunch of women and tell them I can empower them without letting them in on the fact that I myself have been where they have been. I’ve drank myself into black outs over waiting on a TXT from a guy. I’ve talked myself out of jobs I felt I didn’t deserve. I lived in bad neighborhoods, I’ve been robbed and maced and jumped and left to die.

I think it’s important that we tell someone the truth. I think it’s important that someone hears you say all of it. Someone that you feel safe with and know that will love you no matter what. Because before we can move forward to being empowered we have to truly understand how we got where we were before and understand how to get to where we are going now. Everything matters. People will say that actions speak louder than words, well that may be true, but people haven’t always had to figure out how to pay rent or try to feed their children after losing their job. See, the thing is we all love to sit up here on our pedestal and talk down to all the minions below us. Spewing out judgment on their life choices and what I like to call “Life Forces” because I don’t care what anyone thinks, there will be a time in your life when you don’t have a choice. Life will force you to your knees and you’re going to have to put on your big girl panties and do whatever life says. However, there is a way out and it can be taught. When you’re ready to learn, it will come to you in the form it speaks most to you depending on your situation, but you have to be ready. You have to be ready to be honest.

In the meantime, I mean, fuck it, try to let that shit go. Ultimately, we are all going to end up bug food 6 feet under once life is done with our physical body. Now, maybe you believe in some kind of after life, personally I believe our energy lives on, but just not in a physical form. Scientifically, everything is energy and everything and everyone is the same no matter what bad choices that key board made in its life, it’s no better or worse than you are. Think about that for a moment, maybe with a glass of wine. If you believe that someone will judge you in your new form once you’ve left this one, well even then there is room for forgiveness as I understand. So, basically what I am getting at is, I feel like I need to be totally honest with myself and with others if this is going to work. This being, empowering other women. So, perhaps that is why I find myself launching my truths onto complete strangers, or maybe it actually was the wine. Although, I still find myself letting go of these truths, completely freaking out inside and then realizing that the world continued to spin after. Not only did the world continue to spin, but someone else in it felt just a little less judged and a little less guilty of their own “shit”. Here is the truth, everyone, I mean everyone, has their own shit. We have so much pressure to be magazine perfect or leave it to Beaver accomplished, we hide ourselves.

We hide the parts that are “less than” the mistakes that are “not good enough”. We hide them and we burry them and we don’t talk about them, hoping one day maybe they will no longer be truths to us. The crazy thing is that while you may believe that “actions speak louder than words”, maybe you’ve never had to act the way someone else has because life hasn’t presented you the opportunity. Well, good for you. Aren’t you a self-righteous so and so? Judging someone from way up there on the “I’ve never had to make that personal choice” chair must feel good. Maybe the opportunity has presented itself and you did make the “right” choice, so you feel even more powerful in your “I have been there and I made a better choice than you” chair. Well, good for you. Aren’t you a self-righteous so and so? Remember that the “opportunity” looks different to all of us based on our own “shit”. So, the lines of right and wrong take on new meaning for us all.

I realized, maybe too late in life, that the moment I judged someone I became a hypocrite. More often than not, when I criticized someone else’ path, I found myself on that exact same path later in life. Well, aren’t I self-righteous so and so? Today, I know that we are doing the best we can in this crazy and all to often unforgiving place. So, as I cringe at some of the truths I’ve told lately, I also embraced them. Something made me brave. Maybe it was the wine. Maybe it was me getting ready to release my own shit so I can help other women release theirs. Maybe it was the wine. Maybe it was feeling close enough and secure enough to confide. Maybe it was the wine. Maybe it was coming to terms finally with who I am, and being totally OK, no, proud of that. It was probably the wine.