Friday, June 1, 2007

Blogging for LGBT Families

I am adding my voice to this effort. I am a representative of a family where one of the partners is transgendered and closeted. I have a very loving and understanding wife and two wonderful college-age children. Apart from my wife no one really knows that I am transgendered. Telling children at this age is very dicey, and add to that the problem that my son has a depression issue and it manifests itself towards me (the father figure) and it's quite a challenge.

That's a very big challenge that we in the closet face when we have teenage children. Part of it is that our kids are coming to grips with puberty and their own sexuality. How does our "gender variance" affect this? There is a lot of theory and some really good anecdotal stories, but I really don't know if there has been any serious research on this topic (I think not, as the research into transgendered families seems to be very sparse, based on my own experiences in trying to find out what's going on here).

Take my daughter, for example. She is a big All My Children fan. As you may know, they had a transgendered character on there over the winter. My wife was watching an episode with her one day and my daughter told her that she could understand how a person could be transsexual but that crossdressers were "creepy". My wife did challenge her on this point, but not so far as to possibly clue her into me and my situation. I think this is mostly due to the way transgendered people are presented in the media - we're either psychopaths, sociopaths, prostitutes, or buffoons. How is she to think anything else? That she's open to transsexuals is a big bonus. And this is a girl who's been active in promoting gay marriage (she's straight but believes that everybody should be entitled to the benefits of marriage, and sees civil unions as yet another "separate but equal" approach that turns gay couples into second-class citizens).

All that reminds me is that there is still fragmentation in how we are perceived and how we perceive ourselves, and that we have a lot of work to do to reach acceptance. One of my goals is to make sure our children find this path (and my wife has been wonderful in this, too - I have watched her attitude grow here in ways that have amazed me to no end. She struggles with my transgenderism but somehow still shows me so much love. I am so lucky to have her!)