Making Memories

Father-Daughter-Bench_DP_680x392

So…first let me say the picture above is just a stock photo…this is not Fab and myself.

However, I can say that Fab and I love…no I mean we REALLY LOVE the outdoors.  She is my mini-me in this regard.  There is something about being out in nature that seems to relax and calm our minds.  It is out in the middle of nowhere that we seem to be the most at peace.  It is in nature that Fab and I make memories we will remember for the rest of our lives, and I would not trade it for the world.

I have not been writing much the past couple of months mostly because of how busy I have been with my job.  I could still find time to write, but that would also mean I would be taking time away from spending it with my family.  In the current national climate it is an easy thing to be swept up in the fervor and anger over the current state of affairs.  It becomes all the more easier considering my child, and those issues that should be of the utmost concern appear to be at risk, and yet I find myself turning away from the fervor and anger for something different.

Let me be clear, I don’t think most Americans are that bright, and I do think they are easily swayed without truly exploring issues that are in front of them.  It is easy to get riled up over this, and I have many friends who can’t seem to escape the funnel of the tornado that currently has them spinning.  I was in jeopardy of this, but thankfully managed to step back and get out of it.  This, in part, is why I have not been writing as much.  I needed to recenter myself, and lately I find myself much happier than I was before, even with the shitstorm that is the Trump presidency.

How, you might ask?  First, because I am mostly a Buddhist in my mindset, and so I choose to focus on the present.  My kids are still young, and when it comes to Fab she couldn’t care less about what is going on in politics.  She knows she is transgender, but that isn’t how she would describe herself, and except for this blog or when educating others, I simply refer to her as my daughter.  She is stealth most days, and people have no idea.  She is happy most days, and I would have it no other way.

Watching politics, talking politics, living politics can permeate a household, and before long where there was no fear, now a healthy dose of it can come to infect all inhabitants within.  The anger and fear will not necessarily change anything outside of the household, but it will definitely lower the spirits of all within.  I have the power to influence the mindset and outlook of my children, and I choose to have it be happy and positive, over angry and afraid.  I have the benefit of time, as my kids are still young, and I choose to use it.

Outside of work, I have been coaching Fab and her brother in soccer, we spend quite a bit of time doing nature walks, playing board games at home, watching movies, etc.  In short, we spend our free time bonding.  Fab has no interest in being an advocate, and her mother and I see no reason to be one simply because she was born with the wrong genitalia.  If in the future she chooses otherwise then I will support her, but for now she just wants to be a little girl who plays with her brother, goes swimming in the summer, and who gets to spend time outdoors with her dad.

Fab has settled into who she is as a girl.  She is finally comfortable in her skin, and she has found her own style and personality as a female.  She is more confident than ever before.  She doesn’t need to wear a dress everyday, because as she puts it,”Dresses are for fancy things.”  She likes her toes painted, but thinks getting her fingernails done “is a waste of time because they just get chipped when you play really hard.”  Her hair is finally long enough that she isn’t seeing the little boy anymore.

Why would I add fear into the mix by talking about Trump, executive orders, and all the other nonsense out there?  I’m the adult, and so I pay attention, but she should get her childhood.  My childhood was pretty carefree, and I feel I owe her a carefree one as much as possible.

Soon enough, there will be doctor appointments, hormone blockers, hormones, and a myriad of other things her pubescent self will have to worry about.  For now, she deserves to just be a kid, whose worries are little different from the other kids around her.

School ends next week, and most of the summer she will spend at the pool.  She finally got a two-piece skirted bathing suit in bright pink, and she adores it.  When not at the pool she will bounce on her trampoline, and play with her brother.  There will be visits to family, and she will be adored by grandparents as all grandchildren should be.

Before that, though, she and I will take a trip together alone.  It will be our special time, doing our special thing, and she will have all of my attention.  It will be our own adventure, just a dad and his daughter, and together we will make memories that hopefully neither of us will ever forget.

It isn’t hard to get where we are at, you just have to be willing to take a step back, and ask yourself if what you are doing that keeps you away from your kids, is what they will remember or is it what you want them to remember?  For me, the wake up was my daughter getting excited because “daddy is actually going to go with us.  He never does that!”  The excitement spoke volumes, and the power I had to bring it about immediately told me I’d be better off making memories with my kids.  At this point in our lives, it is the memory-making that brings us happiness, and for now we will continue to dwell in that place.  For now, and for the sake of my kids it is the most important thing I could be doing.

Advertisements

What’s Up?…Open Your World

Keep-Calm-And-Whats-UpSoooo….over a month with zero posts…what’s up with that?  Well I always said I did this for me, and I’ve been so friggin’ busy with work, where I also do a lot of writing, so I’ve kind of just let life marinate for the past six weeks.  I decided to finally write again, because I’d like to keep this going, and because I was waiting to see if Fab could get out of her funk.

I’m happy to say that she did.  She and I share an outdoor hobby where she is completely stealth within the community.  At the beginning of April we went out in nature for a long weekend, and it seemed to make her dysphoria go away.  She simply lights up in nature and it was just what she needed.  She came back from that weekend a different kid.  She’s becoming more comfortable in her skin as she figures out who she is.  She doesn’t need to wear dresses every day, and she has shown herself to be a fierce competitor in soccer where even with her petite frame she refuses to back down to anyone.

Her fierceness, most days, reflects how she tackles life.  She and I will take an outdoorsy trip as soon as school lets out for the summer, and I’m looking forward to spending that time with her.  For those who really know her to think of her as anything but a girl now seems completely foreign.  Even looking at old pictures I find it hard to recognize that kid.  Being trans is just one facet of many that makes up who she is, and this is often where people make mistakes when measuring or judging a trans-person.

I say the above because I want to share the following video, which is actually a Heineken commercial that has a trans-woman in it.  The point is, when we open ourselves up to the world, and actually take the time to talk then pre-judgements can be changed or reversed.  Judge a person for who they are, not what they are.  Enjoy!

 

Remember Your Power: A Statement from Transgender Youth

national-truth-councilx750

So, this commentary ran on November 20th in The Advocate (Link is HERE).  I thought it was worth sharing here as these young people are paving the way for the next generation of children like Fab.  If we are lucky and Trump is a one term and done president then Fab will turn 11 in the final year of a Trump presidency.  It will be around that time she will need to seek medical interventions, and shortly after she will enter the tween and then teen world.

These young people show themselves to be intelligent, fierce, and strong.  They hold their heads high, and refuse to bow down to the last gasps of a bigoted, misogynistic, and racist red America.  They give me hope for Fab’s future.  As parents, we fight for our kids and as they begin to get older they also find their voices and join us in the trenches.  It seems to me that these young people have found their voices, and refuse to be silenced.  These young people should give all of us hope for the future of our children and of our country.

WTF?!? “Mom Sues Transgender Daughter?”

momsues

Washington Post Article Here

Every once in a while I see an article I have to comment on, and this is one of those.  I could have cited the Breitbart story, but that just gets me even angrier as that bigoted site ran with the headline, “Mom Sues When Agencies Secretly Give Transgender Hormones to her Son.”  According to the Post, the mom, Anmarie Calgaro, is suing her 17 year old daughter to stop her from being able to receive hormone therapy.  The mother feels that she would like her daughter to wait until she is more mature to make these decisions, or to quote her, “I just want him to slow down.”

Now, I refer to the child as her daughter, because I don’t care how the mother identifies her child. If the child identifies female, then I will do her the respect of also referring to her as such.  In addition, it seems to me that this ignorant, bigoted woman is being used, while at the same time dragging her daughter into it for a right-wing agenda to challenge consent laws regarding abortion, but let’s unpack this one.

Child runs away, and six months go by without the mother filing a missing person’s report with the police…that right there says it all.  Taking it a step further, a judge grants the daughter emancipation, further suggesting what a “bad” parent the mother is.  I’ve dealt with family courts before, and I can say for certain that judges do not terminate parental rights without cause.  Once rights were terminated (and this also means the mother ignored a notification to appear or to contest the  termination of rights), only then did the daughter begin hormone therapy, and only after a year did the mother finally bring suit with the help of the kind folks at the Thomas More Society (anti-abortion) and the Minnesota Child Protection League (anti-transgender), because as she stated, “Not only was I robbed of the opportunity to help my son make good decisions,but I also feel he was robbed of a key advocate in his life, his mother.”

So, let me get this straight…she has no problem with her daughter transitioning, but wants her to stop hormone therapy, and to wait until older, because at 17, less than a year away from the age of consent is too young?  Her assertion is that maybe if she had been involved her daughter might have made the better decision to stay a boy?  Obviously, this woman has no understanding of what it is to be transgender (newsflash, you never had a son), lacks a complete understanding of gender identity, and seems to think suing her daughter to prevent the child from doing what she wants will in some way bring them back together again?

It seems to me that this is an end-around by the Thomas More society on Minnesota consent laws that currently allow a young woman to get an abortion without parental consent, because after all if it was against the law then it would stop teen girls from seeking a secret abortion?  History is why we have Roe vs Wade, and why abortions are legal.  Legal means safe care.  Anti-abortion advocates seem to forget this fact.  We have only to look at drug laws to see that laws do not stop people from choosing risky behavior, and for teens, a fear of parents often can force risky behavior.

As for the daughter, who is not named and has not gone on the record, well, she has nothing but my support and respect.  How brave she had to be to run away from a home that refused to let her live her own truth, and how smart of her to seek help to make her outer truth match her inner one.  Many transgender teens would turn to drugs, depression, and sadly to suicide if forced to deny their own truth, but this young lady found a way out, and now her mother, as a political pawn, seeks to pull her back.

Thankfully, the courts have refused the mother’s motion that all therapies must stop until after the case is decided, which also means that in all likelihood the young lady will be 18 by the time the case is settled, and will be 100% free to live her life on her terms.

As parents it is our job to see to it that our children grow up to be  productive, independent, and happy adults.

In Fab’s case,  she has her own life to live, and I’m living my own.  She has her own story to write, and does not need me to write it for her.  I hope that she might let me be a part of that story, but I have my own, and that is how it should be.  I’m excited to see the story she writes, and I’m sure I’ll love it as much as I love her.  I’ll never stop worrying about her, but my worries aren’t about who she wants to be, but rather will she be safe as she travels the path to where she wants to go.

Let your children write their own stories, and find their own truths.  It might not be what you would pick for them, but you aren’t them, and what makes you happy doesn’t have to make them happy.  It sounds to me like this young lady is an amazing person, and so while  the mother makes me angry, it is an anger tinged with sadness that she has chosen to, and may never get to know her daughter.  She may miss out on so much because of her inability to let go and to see her daughter for the real person she is.

 

 

 

Transgender Children? No. (A Response to an Irresponsible Transgender Woman)

hqdefaultI don’t mean to write everyday.  Honestly, I don’t.  However, when I watch something like this, put out by Blaire White, a 22 year old transgender woman, it makes my irritation rise.   I couldn’t help but respond to her on her YouTube page, and to also write a little here where those seeking answers might find it.  Now, to be clear, I think she is out to make a name for herself (and a career) by taking up positions that could be perceived as incendiary by many members of the LGBTQ community, and this is just another incendiary doozy.

In the spirit of fairness, I’ve included a link to her video for you to watch for yourself:

Transgender Children? No. by Blaire White

My response to her video was as follows, please excuse any grammar issues, I pasted it here as I wrote it:

“Blaire, as the father of a genderfluid son, on the verge of social transition, I think you leave some very important information out out of your video. Puberty blockers cause no lasting harm on a child, and American Endocrine Society guidelines recommend children should not be prescribed blockers until around the age of 11, or for MTFs when they reach what is known as Tanner Stage 2. If a child changes his or her mind then they simply go off the blockers and puberty commences in a normal fashion. As to your comments on hormones…you are correct in that they sterilize, but again the AES recommends children not be started on hormones until the age of 16, two years shy of the age of consent. There are also therapeutic guidelines that must be met before this can be allowed. Jazz Jennings was put on hormones younger, but she had also been living female for about 11 years at that point. Many insurance plans do not cover any procedures, and such procedures can run up and over $20,000, meaning that even if kids want it they couldn’t afford it. Finally, no American surgeon will perform top or bottom surgery until the age of consent, making them…an adult. So, in reality the only irreversible medical care a transgender child would receive does not come until around the age of 16, and then again at the age of consent when they are adults and free to decide. As for the comment about trendy…c’mon, you know better than that. Sure there are some, but no responsible medical professional in the United States would perform the surgery without letters from therapists, and a person having been on hormones for at least a year. I know of numerous therapists who have told their patients…No. Until you get your therapy and medical certifications, leave that to the professionals. Over 40% of transgender kids will attempt suicide before the age of 18, and if these medical interventions can prevent suffering and attempted suicide then they should be valid options. I don’t profess to know you, and your journey, so don’t profess to know others just because you are transgender, that’s like me saying I get what it is to be another person simply because he is a man, or because she is white. Sure we share commonalities, but our experiences may be drastically different. My seven year old does not watch YouTube, social media, etc. He doesn’t even know the term transgender, but what he has been saying since the age of 3 is that he is going to be a girl when he gets older, and that has only become more persistent and urgent in the last year. I think having a solid team of parents, therapist, and medical professionals in place is essential, but if you are going to throw your “expertise” on the internet…facts are always useful along with your opinions. I suspect you may know much of this, but for those looking for answers, I’ll leave this here as a counterpoint.”

This is the kind of thing I hate to see out there in the media, because it might persuade a parent to ignore their child’s pleading request for his or her needs to be met.  It also provides validation for those that believe a child cannot know what he or she wants, as if turning 18 magically gives you wisdom and real common sense.  It also goes against current medical research that has found a younger social transition may be beneficial to a child’s mental health, and ultimately his or her physical well-being.

Finally, I find it funny that a 22 year-old thinks she has the answers for thousands of children world-wide.  I chuckle to myself at the thought of my 22 year-old self giving advice to parents twice my age on any child-rearing topic.

I’m not going to attack Ms. White on any other grounds, and feel I provided more a counterpoint to an attack.  She may be a lovely person, who is just expressing her opinion with good intentions.  However, I’m sick of people expressing opinions without sharing any real facts to back them up.  This can be especially dangerous where desperate people looking for answers might find them.

Feel free to hit the comment button, and let me know what you think…I’m always interested in other viewpoints, especially from other parents and allies.