I hate writing titles…

There… got that one out of the way. I’ve been staring at the screen for five minutes trying to think of a title that I haven’t used yet but  came up with nothing. I hate writing them.

The last time I wrote was on Monday after getting a call from the school official and had been quite hopeful. Then I got the call from the VP and suddenly became less optimistic. She referred to Jeremy as he and him again through the whole short phone call and had a meeting set for Wednesday afternoon… as in that very next day. I work and can’t just call my manager and say, “Whoops, I won’t be there tomorrow. Sorry about that.” They’re already fairly lenient about me taking 10 and 15 minute long phone calls from the school as it is. Luckily the VP was able to make a second meeting for today. I have no idea what they discussed on Wednesday but as far as I know they didn’t cancel it since I was informed Jeremy could go back to school on Thursday after their meeting. I felt better waiting until after mine.

I was going to write a blog post on Wednesday. Jeremy wants me to be the one to tell family about zir being transgender as zie doesn’t want to face their first reactions. I’d hoped to get some letter writing ideas and resources. But Jeremy slept a grand total of seven hours over two days and zie’s not a quiet child. I got woken up by Jeremy tripping over one of the cats as zie stumbled down the hallway. Then zie decided to get a bite to eat. Then checked every single cupboard twice to see what we have and checked a third time just in case anything magically appeared. Then hovered in front of the fridge before finally microwaving the leftover pizza. I know all this because I could hear the doors opening and closing from the other side of the apartment, with my bedroom door nearly completely closed and a fan on. I didn’t sleep much more than seven hours over two nights either. All this meant I was much too tired to write. I ended up pestering Lenny instead.

I decided to tell my Mom about Jeremy during our planned Friday shopping trip, figuring in person would be better than on the phone. I kept that plan right until this morning. That was when I realized our only talking time would be either while my Mom was driving down a busy road or while we were walking through stores. Neither seemed a viable option. Jeremy went off to have a shower and I made my call.

My Mom’s voice got colder when I broached the subject. She figured something was up with all the transgender stuff I’ve been posting lately. I actually haven’t posting anything. A friend of mine, who knows about Jeremy posted this on my page…

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I really liked it and in fact shared it with Jeremy but it very clearly says that it was posted by someone else, although my Mom might not have noticed that. The only other things I can come up with is that I’ve joined two groups for parents of transgender children recently; one’s secret but the other is simply closed. My first thought was it might have shown up on my page, something like “Michelle I’m-Not-Coming-Up-With-A-Fake-Last-Name just joined [insert fabulous group name here]” but I checked my page and nothing showed up. Actually I viewed my page as it would look to my Mom and none of my closed groups are even visible. I was, however, warned that it might show up as a suggestion to friends so maybe that’s what happened.

The flip side is that while I’m sure there are kids who totally blindside people, Jeremy’s not one of them. I showed zir picture to a coworker a couple of days ago, announcing that “this is my child Jeremy”. The coworker gave the phone a good long look then peered at me intently.

“Did you know your son also looks like a girl?”

I couldn’t come up with anything sarcastic on the fly so simply assured her that, yes, I knew my child looked like both a boy and a girl. I’m sure my Mom hasn’t missed this either.

The phone call did not go well. She didn’t want to know anything about it. At all. She loves Jeremy but these things needed to be kept private. I just needed to explain to Jeremy that all sorts of men really do like feminine things too; like my Dad enjoys rug hooking. You know, just in case that information had slipped my mind. And then she told me how confrontational I was and how I go out of my way to make things difficult and throw things in people’s faces. Like being vegan and that whole agnostic thing. Agnostic translating to being an atheist for the past 30 years… which is obviously something I’ve done to be super edgy.

I retaliated that I didn’t want to be confrontational or difficult, I simply wanted to be myself and didn’t feel I had to be exactly the same as everyone else in the family. And that Jeremy was the same; that zie had the right to be zirself without being accused of being confrontational or trying to be different. Or trendy, because my Mom tried to claim that too.

I got off the phone with my Mom, cried a little and messaged Lenny. Then Jeremy got out off the shower and we headed off for the meeting. We walked into the school and I sarcastically quipped that we were going to go inside, they’d use all the proper pronouns, everything would be sorted out, and then we’d ride home on our unicorns. I was partly right.

I got Jeremy’s safety plan when we got inside and immediately noticed they’d written ze and zir down for pronouns. Not exactly right but a decent attempt, and a slight misspelling was definitely not the hill I was willing to die on. The poor principal looked panicked every time he was reminded about pronouns. He’d frantically use Jeremy’s name and struggle to loop sentences to avoid any pronouns whatsoever… then he’d lapse back into he and him a minute or so later. Everyone did make an effort though and Jeremy seemed happy with it.

We got everything reasonably sorted out and I went home only to get a phone call. Jeremy was refusing to read a list of words aloud. Granted, zie has language based issues and reads silently a lot better than reading out loud but this was a reading assessment and needed to be done. They offered to do the reading one on one. The VP even offered to write the whole list out on index cards in case zie was finding the list hard to read but Jeremy refused saying the list was pointless. So zie did zir spelling in the office.

My shopping trip with my Mom went well. We browsed around the first couple of stores then Mom broached the subject of transgender in the car on the way to the third store. She wanted me to tell Jeremy that she loves “him” but that zie’ll always be a “he” because of genitals. I told her that I’d tell Jeremy that she loves zir but there was no way I was saying the rest. She continued to argue about genitals and how society’s changed and now people are way too interested in labeling everything instead of simply letting people be humans. I retaliated with commenting that some societies have up to five genders (thanks for that information Charlie) and that Native Canadians traditionally had two spirited people who didn’t identify as male or female and were considered quite highly. Then I brought up studies showing actual differences in the brain where FtM trans people resembled biological men and MtF trans people resembled biological females. She seemed to listen and assured me she considers Jeremy to be honest, intelligent, thoughtful, friendly, and fun to be around… that “he’s” a good kid.

Jeremy’s off at zir youth group meeting and hopefully having a good time. I just got off the phone with Emma but I’ll need to save what’s going on with her for a different post because I’ve rambled way too much now.

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19 thoughts on “I hate writing titles…

  1. Wow! So much going on! I did all the coming out talks for Kris to my parents and siblings because he asked and because he was away at college. It’s not an easy conversation. 3 years later that initial conversation does not get any easier.

    It sounds like the school is making an attempt, right? As far as your mom goes, well, that’s a tough one. Some people are set in their ways and don’t want to deal with anything new and some people just don’t want to get it.

    • I’m going to simply message my sisters, that way I can add links and information. But not today LOL

      Hopefully the school and my Mom will keep making efforts. My Mom at least asked and listened and that’s a huge step for her. Time will tell.

      • I think you earned yourself a break in the trans battle/coming out area. It can be draining at times. I hope your Mom is open to what you’ve told her and remembers that this is all about what’s best for Jeremy.

  2. We get that whole “you’ll always be a ‘he’ because of genitals” and somehow that equates to “drop the labels”! Which I totally don’t get…if you don’t give a damn about labels, then why are you so stuck on keeping my kid stuck to their genitals?!!?!

  3. I just don’t get this whole genital hangup — after all, how often do you see somebody’s genitals when you encounter them in a store or on the street? I’ll admit that I’ve got genitals, but I’m damned if I’ll discuss their form with anybody except my partner.

    I can understand and forgive honest mistakes with pronouns, but to deliberately misgender somebody is wrong. It says that that person doesn’t have respect, doesn’t believe that the person they are speaking of could have their own identity, their own knowledge about who they truly are. I hope she can open her mind and come around, but I’d not hold my breath.

    • I’m reasonably sure my Mom thinks Jeremy’s going through a phase. As for how long it’ll take her to come around… she still think’s I’m going through an atheism/vegetarian phase of 30 and 22 years respectively. I’m not holding my breath either.

      It’s definitely wrong of her but sadly I don’t think she considers it much of a big deal. Maybe someday she’ll realize it is but, again, not going to hold my breath.

  4. Hello, I am Clare. I read this just after your later post about Emma. Wow.

    Misgendering is not so much a lack of respect, as a rigid view of reality- a definite idea of what a “man” or a “woman” is and a refusal to accept any other view. I got the comment “This whole “transgender” and “transsexual” stuff comes straight from Hell” recently. Oh well.

    The pronouns thing shows hope. I can’t spell “zie” either.

  5. What is so ridiculous is when people think that self-determination of all sorts of other things is totally legit, but not something as central to one’s life as gender. “Don’t like to play basketball? But you’re so tall! Still, whatever, it’s your life.” Versus, “WTF but you have to be x gender!”

    I totally love your writing, and I just wanted to note one thing–please try not to use language about ability (like “blind”) out of context. Use of expressions like that can come off in a way I’m sure you don’t mean. Thanks! 🙂

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