Where We Are Now

by Bedford Hope on January 19, 2014

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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.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Isabelle P February 4, 2014 at 5:19 am

Oh, I just saw you made a new post after I commented on the previous one.

On the topic of the book, I have to say this:

As much as I love reading blogs, there’s a small part of me that respects the opinions of the printed book format a little bit more.
I get this feeling that “yeah, someone out there has proof-read this, and deemed it print-worthy. This will help, this will sell”.

For people like my dad, who I would be giving this book to -if it ever does get printed- I can say with certainty that he doesnt have time to read blogs. He uses the internet for product sourcing and cricket-scores. Not deep fundamental help with core issues in family units.

When he holds a book, he’s engrossed. He pores over the pages and soaks in every word and idea. When he’s online, he’s brief. he flits over the words and skims for the point he wants, and closes the browser.

So in short, I really hope you’ll still make this a book. It’ll be a lot easier to get into the hands of parents that might need it.

Laurin Mayeno March 9, 2014 at 7:20 pm

Thanks so much for doing this blog! I wish I had discovered it sooner. When my son was very young, I didn’t know of any resources like this! I’m glad things are going well for your child and that you respect your child’s desire not to be boxed into any particular gender label. I am the mother of a gay son who was gender creative from a very young age. I have begun my own blog and website and have also written a children’s book, which I am seeking to have published. I am doing all this with my son’s permission, now that he is a young adult. All my best, Laurin

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