Me and My Parents, Round 2: This Went Less Well

I do hate to keep boring you guys with the sordid fallout from my coming-out a few days ago, but it seems that my parents are taking it somewhat less well than I initially suspected. As it turns out, they apparently do not trust my competence in such matters. After a somewhat lengthy and uncomfortable telephone conversation, I discerned that their objections were two-fold. My mother, for her part, is primarily concerned with how this transition will affect my life and career; she was under the impression that I was running around, interacting with my professors and TAing my labs in “drag,*” owing to the fact that she apparently believes that I am a pathetic child who is incapable of tying her own shoelaces without a team of loyal servants. I assured her (for the second time, actually), that I hadn’t come out to my professors or to my students, and I had no plans to do so, and that I had been wearing “gender neutral” clothing, for the most part.

My father, for his part, is primarily concerned with my competence, apparently, at making any life decisions whatsoever. According to him, I should have sought “other, contrary opinions” concerning my gender identity. Gee, I wonder if he would have recommended the same degree of even-handedness if I had told him that I had no plans to change my sex. I suspect that, no matter what logic I use in coming to the decision, if it is in favour of changing my sex, then, selon mon pere, it is the wrong decision. I wish I could have been strong enough to tell him that, in fact, I needed no auxiliary opinions, as I consider myself to be the absolute authority on my own life. I wish, moreover, that I could have told him full truth; that the moment I had started to consult with my therapist in the first place, I had already in my heart decided that I was trangendered, and that the only real reason I had for seeking a diagnosis was to absolve myself of the responsibility of having to make the decision for myself, and that once I found out that it didn’t really work that way, I spent months building-up my courage before I was able to come-out. This is not cancer; this is not AIDS or diabetes. This is not hypochondria, because this is not a disease. I do not need the opinion of a distinguished and accredited medical professional to tell me who I am, just as I do not need a liveried guardsman to wipe my ass when I take a shit.

Damn it.

And everything was going so well.

_______________________________________

*By which I suppose that she means, in this case, dressing like a character in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

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About thevenerablecorvex

I have the heart of a poet, the brain of a theoretical physicist, and the wingspan of an albatross. I am also notable for my humility.
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7 Responses to Me and My Parents, Round 2: This Went Less Well

  1. 😦 I’m sorry. Parents are insane. And when they fear that things are not going to work out well for their kids they create irrational reasons for that fear. Regardless whether the fear is justified. Good luck 🙂

  2. First of all this is not boring. Parents who think they know how to live your live better than you do abound. I’m older than you and I’m not transgendered but I keep having the same dialogues with my parents. There is always something. You can never do things exactly as they want you to do because then there will be something else. So the only solution is to train one’s parents to be around one without causing much harm. 🙂 It will take a while but it will get better.

    “According to him, I should have sought “other, contrary opinions” concerning my gender identity. ”

    – I’m sorry, but this made me laugh. Has he sought advice on his gender identity from people? I wonder what they suggested.

    “I wish I could have been strong enough to tell him that, in fact, I needed no auxiliary opinions, as I consider myself to be the absolute authority on my own life.”

    – And you are absolutely right to do so. The only person who will be living your life is you. Nobody gets a vote on who you are.

    “This is not cancer; this is not AIDS or diabetes. This is not hypochondria, because this is not a disease. I do not need the opinion of a distinguished and accredited medical professional to tell me who I am, just as I do not need a liveried guardsman to wipe my ass when I take a shit.”

    – Very well said. You are perfectly fine. It’s people who don’t get this who are not.

    • “I’m sorry, but this made me laugh. Has he sought advice on his gender identity from people? I wonder what they suggested.”

      Exactly my point! There is a heavy dollop of, at the very least, ‘status quo bias’ inherent to this statement. Deciding to do nothing is, afterall, still a decision.
      In any case, any competent expert in the field would have told me exactly what every other competent expert in the field already *has* told me; namely, that my course of action is entirely my own choice. And I have made that choice.

  3. P. rhoeas says:

    For a while my dad thought I was hanging around too many other queers and got the wrong impression. My mom was worried I might just be nuts. I stuck with it, though, and showed them that none of this was true, and they got over it.

    You’ll stick with it. They’ll see their worries about your competence and career are unfounded. They’ll get over it. I can’t guarantee it, of course, but you’re their kid and if they love you they’ll see in the long run that this is what’s best for you.

    • “For a while my dad thought I was hanging around too many other queers and got the wrong impression.”
      Actually, my dad has much the same idea; I call it his “ridiculously bad peer pressure hypothesis.” It goes something like this: I’m off at grad school and I’m lonely; I meet a bunch of transpeople at university and want to ingratiate myself to my peer group by switching sexes.
      It is ridiculously bad because (a) I already have a group of friends who aren’t transsexual or any way ‘queer,’ (b) it is highly unlikely that I would have ended-up meeting my transsexual friends at all if I myself had not been ‘questioning,’ (c) these friends are really more Nominatissima’s friends anyway, and (d) trying to ameliorate my loneliness by doing something that puts me at very real risk of having a significant chunk of everyone I have ever known abandon me strikes me as a phenomenally stupid idea.

      • P. rhoeas says:

        Yeah exactly. I was in fact hanging out with a bunch of queer people … but I made friends with them in the first place because I was queer. Correlation, not causation, &c. &c.

  4. Pingback: How Many Times Must I Justify Myself? « voxcorvegis

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