But we shouldn’t be pressuring people to come out. Instead, we should be challenging the expectation that others are entitled to our identities.
No one should be demanding that people take on the risks of coming out. No one except you can make that decision. Your identity is yours, and no one else owns it.
You don’t owe anyone anything – especially not people who are ignoring your personal autonomy and safety by demanding that you come out.
via It’s Not All Glitter and Rainbows: 6 Harmful Myths About Coming Out — Everyday Feminism.
Constance…I face a lot of challenges in life that are in addition to the ones faced by all people simply as a condition of being in this world. If you have read here for awhile, you are acquainted with the gamut of these, and if you are new, well have a gander at the other posts ;-)…giggle.
My point is that it is the additional ones that kill. They are like the difference between running a marathon, and running one chased by dogs, and running one when you aren’t fast enough to keep from getting nipped numerous times on the run. And it is the nips that bleed, get infected, and drain…of vitality, of energy, and eventually of hope.
Right now the hardest of these challenges for me is that of making myself known to other people that are of utmost importance to me. They are mourning what they perceive as the loss of the person they knew, rather than perceiving it as the loss of the explanatory narrative that stitched together our common history.
For a whole host of reasons, some of them spiritual, some of them developmental, and most of them cultural/paradigm related, the onus and burden falls squarely on me in this process…to be the bigger person…to walk the second mile, or the third or the fourth, or however many miles must be walked…to turn the other cheek again and again and again…
My own identity is in need of justification, of proving, of validating, and the ways I respond either contribute to or detract from my right to be.
Judgement is passed on the narrative that I have, as it compares to the narrative that was.
Again…I get it. Fairness is not the operative determinant. But I want it to be understood: this is a costly gift, and gift I do think it is. It is not something that I owe…to anyone except myself whom I owe the debt of authenticity inner and outward. I think that my perspective on things is equally valid, is equally valuable and to be treasured. The “things I have lost” or the sense that “what I thought I had never existed” is just as real, as vibrant and legitimate for me as it is for anyone else who feels like they are being robbed.
Let me state it baldly: anything they are “robbed of” wasn’t real in the first place.
How about this: instead of the point of view that “a father I thought I had is now dead and replaced by you”, how about this: “I have a father who just happens to be a woman, and the idea I held that my father was also a male was an incorrect one. I am fortunate to be able to have this inaccurate understanding corrected while there is still time and life remaining to know this person that I valued and treasured as a father!”
Because this is my story…my history. I fathered four people…as a woman who inhabits a body that is biologically male. And as far as I am aware, my children always felt that I was a good dad to them, valuable in the love, acceptance and counsel that I offered them. And I am still here! The same person with the same ideas and same truths (and some newly understood ones too).
Perhaps instead of me saying over and over again I am sorry I am sorry…I am sorry for being…I am sorry for wanting to be, needing to be…maybe it could be thought about that a different sorry could be said…I am sorry that I held onto my own belief and insistence that a father has to be spiritually and biologically male and only that…I am sorry that I invalidated the lives and efforts of the millions of women who “fathered” young boys into men because there was no one else there.
I am posting this link, because it gets to a lot of the reasons why there is so much gravity behind the other narrative, the one that requires me to justify my right to exist, my right to pursue congruency, my right to be free from suicidal ideation, my right to feel okay about the truth that I did the best I could and while not a perfect parent did a pretty adequate job even compared to a cis-male…and as a transgender woman serving in the role of father and not knowing, well maybe I did an admirable job.
and maybe I suck. but I suck based on what I did and didn’t do, not based on whether I identfy as male or female…others who are insisting with actions that the actual measure of my being is in that identification are the ones who must grapple with the suckitude they frolic in!
Read the article…acquaint yourself with the myths…and then divest yourself of them for some clearer, more objective standards that we will all, together, be held accountable to…how we love one another, how we forgive one another, whether we divorce and separate ourselves or remain connected…those are things that will endure long after gender identification falls away as not needed.
Do Justice. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly.
My dear Charissa,
I am humbled and honored that you trusted me with your story – at the beginning and even more so now as you continue to face these hurdles and obstacles.
THIS – from your words – is what most stands out to me:
“I think that my perspective on things is equally valid, is equally valuable and to be treasured. The “things I have lost” or the sense that “what I thought I had never existed” is just as real, as vibrant and legitimate for me as it is for anyone else who feels like they are being robbed.”
I’ve often thought about this very paragraph before – wondered if you ever felt that you ‘lost’ part of your life in an attempt to be the perfect male father. Heck. ALL parents fail at something at one point or another.
I also really appreciate and admire your perspective around what you are “sorry” for…perhaps, that basis will give your kiddos (especially your son) the framework from which to build from. I wish I had something wise and wonderful and insightful to say…but, I don’t. I can’t even imagine your pain – just know we are here. xoxoxo
I am at the beach… Would so love to watch the sunset, in companionable silence, heart speak loud and clear
“They are mourning what they perceive as the loss of the person they knew, rather than perceiving it as the loss of the explanatory narrative that stitched together our common history.”
Wow! I am wondering if this hit you as deeply and forcefully when you wrote it as it did me when I read it.
I was deeply touched by the first myth and this:
“Coming out is never a matter of honesty versus lying. It’s about how people automatically assume everyone to be part of a sexual, gender, or romantic majority.”
Oh, the assume.
*squinting while looking straight at the sun, waiting for the sunset and yet another dawn*
Dani, that concept is one of an avalanche of my perspective and feelings on the matter both known and felt but as yet formed.
This article crystallized them sharply in a flash of insight.
I know, I know… It’s on me to make the way… But not cus I am Trans. Other reasons, nod. But I don’t owe… And that’s what is most sorrowful, is there is a demand made as the blood price for restored relationship.
Maybe that’s why so many of us kill ourselves? Maybe we are somehow propitiating for Gender crimes?
Okay, so I’m finally showing up. (I’m so incredibly sorry- I got buried these past two weeks and I’m just now trying to dig my way out. )
As is often the case when you share an article along with your own thoughts, I don’t really need to read the article. (I do read it, but I know what it’s going to say.)
I will admit to questioning what Kris’s being transgender meant in regards to our family history. But it only lasted a few seconds. As I looked through the photos and then looked at my kids, who were closer than ever, I saw that it was all intact. It might be a bit strange by other’s points of view but so what? What happened when Kris came out to me, is that my whole world got tipped over and then shaken up a bit. I didn’t recognize any part of it……..but then I did. (That did not mean that it didn’t get shaken up time and time again but each time it did, it settled into place just a little bit quicker.)
You didn’t do this to anyone. I don’t know all that is going on and I hope that we can catch up really soon. Somehow I don’t see you sucking as a father. (Is this disjointed or what?)
“But I don’t owe… And that’s what is most sorrowful, is there is a demand made as the blood price for restored relationship.”
Coming out. Everything in that article is so true. Everything you said is so true. I’ve witnessed it and experienced it with people who were supposed to love my kid unconditionally. Want a laugh? If you were to ask them (I can’t because I don’t speak to them) they would SWEAR that they do love Kris unconditionally and fully support him, too…..and yet none of them have had a legitimate conversation with him since he came out 3-1/2 years ago. They have avoided him on the one or two occasions they’ve seen him. This is “family”. They placed impossible conditions on their acceptance of him and when I told them they were being unreasonable they stopped talking to me, too.
It makes me angry. It’s not on you or Kris or anyone else. You all have the right to live just as everyone else does.
As always I sit here nodding and getting angry at the world.
I cannot find the right words to describe what your support and love mean to me, but even more, your VALIDATION!
Thank you, Sissa… Much much love 💖