I don’t talk about it very often, mostly because it’s not my journey, not my story to tell.
But… then again, it is.
Many of you who know me also know my son is transitioning to be my daughter. Actually that’s a misnomer. She always was my daughter. I just didn’t see it, recognize it, until recently when she was cosplaying for DragonCon and gave me a look—a shy smile that became a smirk and a shake of the head because Mom’s always been on the clueless side about many things.
Her friends knew. The riders she competes with knew (or guessed). Mom? Not so much.
The adjustment for her began with incremental steps: laser hair removal, slow changes to wardrobe, talks with HR at work (her company has an enlightened policy for such matters), gradually expanding her intentions to a widening audience of co-workers, friends, and acquaintances.
She’s no kid, and that itself has presented some special challenges, but on the positive side, she’s well-established in her career, she works primarily with women who’ve been supportive, and she’s had a hella lot of time to think this through. She’s researched the process, she’s very cognizant of the discrimination and misogyny rampant in society at large (and also in the LGBT community that should be standing with her), and she’s got a plan.
That’s way more than a lot of kids have. She’s wielded that double-edged sword of knowing what she wants… and also what she doesn’t want.
The process isn’t simply a matter of tah-dah! I’m wearing heels today, deal with it. There’s mandated counseling, medical choices with consequences that can be unpredictable, legal rigamarole and hoops to jump through (legal name change across a broad spectrum of socioeconomic platforms), and the thing I dread the most…
Shopping, ohmigawd, the shopping!
I hates shopping, I does. Hates it I tell ya. I’d rather gouge my eyes out with a spork than go to the mall or the local outdoor concept pavilion.
I will say she’s got good taste, especially in shoes (and I do love me some classy pumps and boots… yeah, boots rock), and I’ve finally gotten to the point where I enjoy her modeling her newest acquisitions. It’s sort of fun, watching her redesign herself into a new image, seeing her confidence grow when we go out and the term “ladies” applies to both of us. That’s cool.
She’s been taking hormone therapy for a few weeks and is now ready for the next step: feminization surgery which involves multiple procedures performed on the same day—repair to a deviated septum/sinus issues, upper lip, chin, brow and shaving the Adam’s apple. There may be others, I’ve forgotten. That seems like quite a bit to me as it is, but the surgeon said it’s easier for a once and done rather than dragging it out.
She’ll need to stay at a recovery center where the surgeon can check on her frequently—two weeks there, then a week at home if all goes well. The hospital is 2 hours away so that means a bit of juggling on my end. I need to be there the first couple of days to take care of her. Fortunately we have people to help with the farm chores. After that, I’ll day trip.
Being a mom means I worry quite a lot, especially with Firstborn going under the knife—that’s normal. Being a mom also means I’m insanely proud of what she’s doing, the sacrifices she’s making to be her true self.
She’s brave, braver than me by a long shot, because she’s giving up the one thing I couldn’t if I were in her shoes…
And that’s a post for another day.
Meanwhile, to all our friends who’ve had our backs… respect. Respect and a healthy dose of gratitude for your understanding, your support, and your love.