Teenage Angst and Where to Go From Here

by ejayo on July 27, 2015

A quick heads up.

My child isn’t comfortable with me blogging about his experiences at this point; I leave this up as a pointer to the existing posts and resources, but I’m not maintaining it. People with pressing issues should look to the sidebar, for support groups.

You need a support group, if you’re the parent of a GLBTQ kid; other parents of kids your age. PFLAG is great, but the issues of gender non-conformity, gender identity, are confusing for many even in the gay and lesbian communities, so finding support that is specific to your child’s circumstance is important.

Progressive parts of the culture seems to be moving towards an embrace of the idea of the transgender child, which some supportive professionals find problematic. Most gender non-conforming behavior, traditionally, has been associated with same-sex attracted outcomes.

IE, kids who seem different in this way often end up identifying as gay.

You will need to discover, how best to support your child, how best to come to your understanding of his or her behavior, and you should open to the idea that while we must listen and reflect our kids identities, the kids themselves need time to figure it all out.

There’s no short cut. It doesn’t matter how cool or on-board you are, it doesn’t matter that gay marriage is legal and trans people are on TV, it is still unbelievably hard to come out, to be authentic, to be different, and we don’t really know, even now, what all this really means.

I can say, that traditionally, most gender non conformity is associated with people who will one day identify as gay, but nobody knows for sure; will we ‘encourage’ transgender people into existence, who might have, in the old days, identified as gay?

And, if we don’t grant children this self-determination, and we discover, in twenty years, that hormone disruptors / pollutants had vastly increased the number of transgender people, what will we think then, about our caution now?

As parents you will have to find your way through this, to some sort of peace, some sort of understanding. Be kind to yourself on the way, if  you can.

Love your child. Hold open options as long as you can. Let kids know, about the different ways to be a boy, or a girl; get your kid therapy if they experience dysphoria; be open to the possibility of a trans outcome; be open to the possibility of a gay outcome; be open. Be loving. Be kind.

Don’t assume another kid’s story will be your kids story. And vice versa. Do not judge parents of other children for coming to different conclusions.

Don’t be afraid of ambiguity.

Don’t be a afraid of not knowing perfectly the future.

My kid is seventeen. He is insecure, in some ways, about his future, college and career, but he also knows himself, and there’s a pillar of strength inside him.

When a friend needed him, recently, making a comment on social media, he was the only one who responded appropriately. Can’t give details, but we were so proud of him.

My kid is a great person. Imperfect, but great.

His story is his own. I’m proud to have been part of it.

That’s it for now.










Where We Are Now

by Bedford Hope on January 19, 2014


I have taken a step or two back from this blog for a number of reasons. My wife and son have never been crazy about it, but as a writer, they gave me the space to write about this, under this pseudonym, and so far there have been no repercussions. We’ve turned down the offers for documentaries and reality television series; we’re not that kind of a family as it turns out, not that I’m in anyway passing judgement on families that do such things.

My son, mid-way through high-school, is again out as whatever-it-is-he-is; and I use that term as one of respect because he has not, and never has, used any term for himself but boy or girl. As in, “I’m a cute boy.” or “I’m a cute girl.” Said ironically, but not, because he is very pretty, and he works hard at being pretty; his primary interests now being hair, styling and coloring, makeup, fashion (what he can do with fashion with thrift store purchases and a part time job teaching after school.) and drawing manga characters that embody his fashion ideals.

Oscar’s manga heroes seldom smile; they look pensive, or downright disgusted. He started drawing males, for the first time ever, a few years back, and seems to draw them most frequently, now. They’re stylized in certain ways, with huge eyebrows, wide noses; they’re beautiful, too, like him, and also offbeat.

Now when I say that he’s out, I mean that he wears skirts, dresses, makeup, platform shoes. He has a strange fascination with the Spice Girls, which is of course, retro, as they’ve not been popular for a long long time.

“It’s all about the shoes,” he tells me.

His friends and activities take him all over the city on mass-transit. He’s in no hurry to grow up, go to clubs, drink and party, though he does have a fair amount of freedom and I suppose, at fifteen, we cannot know everything he is up to. He is not out in terms of preference. His relationship to gender is coy. Or, he’s simply gender queer, but isn’t interested in that word.

Whatever he is or will be is his business. I only have to love him and I do.

We’ve missed the window for any kind of intervention which might yield an invisibly MTF outcome; so far it all feels right. If in a  decade we’re helping pay tens of thousands of dollars for laser hair removal and trachea shaves and such, I suppose the ‘feeling right’ might one day turn out to be ‘feeling right but we were wrong.’ No one will ever be able to take away his height; about six feet at fifteen, he’ll always be tall.

All the drag queens I’ve met have been tall now that I think of it. I’m sure that’s a stupid generalization. Please let me know if it is.

So we are in our happy ending now, and this is why I write infrequently. That, and the fact that my son told me recently in no uncertain terms that this blog would never be a book. Heh.

But a recent comment from a reader said that he wanted me to keep writing, that he thought it could be helpful, maybe, so here I am again.

Life goes on. Our gender, our preference, these are big parts of us, but they are really just a smallish part of the totality of being human, or they could be, if we all got over ourselves and let each other simply be; I’m sure of this now. If you love your child as a straight and cis-gendered, you’ll love them as gay and trans, or any possible combination thereof, if you only let yourself. Will there be unpleasant moments? Confusion? Pangs of strange emotion? You betcha. Will you get through it and find a new normal?

You will. I promise you from the bottom of my heart. You will.


To the Unicorn’s Dad

August 5, 2013

I got a note from a kid who just came out as Trans, who asked for a post to his father. This is it. I hope it is useful. Dear Father of an Exceptional Child, You don’t know me, and I don’t know you, but first of all, I’m very glad that you didn’t freak […]

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Kickstarter OUT Youth Theater Project Tells A New Story

April 5, 2013

This documentary film moves beyond the boilerplate feel-good progressive boosterism by capturing the voices of the kids themselves. Who are these young people? What is their experience? Where are we really, in this moment in time? Where are we all in this journey? Why not spend some time with these young people, their friends and […]

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Be A Man

March 7, 2013

We must be swift as a coursing river BE A MAN With all the force of a great typhoon BE A MAN With all the strength of a raging fire Mysterious as the dark side of the moon –Mulan, 1998, Walt Disney Pictures We’re re-watching the Disney canon with Oscar, at his insistence, and enjoying […]

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Girl Things: Accepting Dad in Convenient Book Form

February 27, 2013

I am editing Accepting Dad into a book titled Girl Things. The book will feature revised (and copyedited, finally) content from the blog arranged so as to tell a chronological story, with several additional essays included. I will be pulling most of the blog content contained in Girl Things, with the exception of a sample […]

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REVIEW: Gender Born, Gender Made by Diane Ehrensaft, Ph.D.

June 17, 2011

The cover of my review copy of Dr. Diane Ehrensaft’s new book, Gender Born, Gender Made might have been made from one of my family’s snapshots. The presumably male-bodied toddler with the tutu worn over his pants peers quizzically into the camera’s eye, evoking a shiver of recognition. I know that kid. He could have […]

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New Study Confirms Supportive Parenting Does Not Hurt Gender Non-Conforming Children

January 12, 2010

I’ve had the opportunity to read a draft of a recent study by Hill, D.B., Menvielle, E., Sica, K.M., &  Johnson, A. (2010), of children in different therapeutic environments published in The Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy shows that supportive / accepting parenting is associated with lower rates of mental illness. From the abstract: When […]

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The Tomgirl Profile: Commonalities among gender-variant or gender non-conforming boys

September 29, 2009

As supportive parents find each other through mailing lists on the internet (see the CNMC and Transkidsfamily) we share stories about our kids, and the problems they face— and the problems we face being thier parents. Over the years a profile builds up, qualities that many of these boys seem to share. We are astonished […]

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Open Letter to KRXQ 98.5 FM Sacremento

September 22, 2009

KRXQ transgender kid controversey: After an ugly and defamatory broadcast which suggested that child abuse was a good response to gender-non-conformity, and a wide-spread community reaction,  a group of sponsors pulled support from the station, triggering both an apology and a follow up broadcast which became a teachable moment for the community. Some in the community […]

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