Decisions… decisions…

Nothing much has changed on Emma’s side regarding transitioning. She knows she’s female but hasn’t decided whether to start hormones or not. She doesn’t want to be a trap (definitions 3 and 4) as she puts it.

There seems to be blocks everywhere. Having her stop transitioning and waiting for a decade or so to have biological kids is easy to say but isn’t particularly feasible as she’s already struggling with gender dysphoria. Plus, as Emma pointed out, there’s no guarantee she’ll be able to have biological kids. She could fall in love with another trans woman or a woman who’s infertile.

Sperm banks are prohibitively expensive, then there’s storage fees on top of the first payment. Plus there’s In Vitro Fertilization which only a 40% success rate per cycle for a young person. Once her spouse’s age goes past 35 years old, that rate drops.

And the last choice, on her list, adoption. This one sounds like a good option on in future. Let’s say Emma and her partner have good jobs and they want to adopt. They get a list of questions and one of the first ones is “Do you have a mental illness?” and that’s the end of the questioning because she’s no longer valid to be an adoptive parent.

Her only hope now is for a partner with a womb so they can use a sperm bank, something I haven’t looked into… yet.

I’ve found someone for her to talk to, mostly because I’m tactless and will do just about anything for my kids when they’re in a tough situation. I walked up to a total stranger and asked her if she was trans. She was. Before she could turn around and walk away, I blurted, “I’m asking for my teenager, she’s trans”. We had a good conversation and she gave me her phone number and agreed to chat with Emma.

It’s hard waiting for Emma to make up her mind. I could ask her but it’s her decision to make and she needs space to do this on her own. I just hope she makes the decision for her and not some possibly future embryo.

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Feeling dizzy…

“Mom, I’m dizzy,” Emma informed me yet again.

I paused, unable to tell if she was trying to shirk chores or if she really was feeling unwell. The odds were 50/50.

I settled on, “You can tell that to your doctor when you see him.”

Emma was satisfied with this, especially since she was seeing the doctor that week. The doctor was very thorough. He checked her blood pressure (which was low) her ears, her heart, and wrote out two sheets for blood work. One for then and one in two weeks.

Her complaints of dizziness concerned me about as much as her diet. Emma lives off cup of noodles, SideKicks Singapore Curry Noodles, frozen hash browns, and not much else. She hates all vegetables except potatoes… all fruit except for the occasional grape and apple… oh, and she’ll eat mushrooms.

I’ll make pizza from scratch and put hers on a plate then, a couple of days later, I’ll find three quarters of it in her room. I’ll make spaghetti and remind her she has a jar of plain tomato sauce. She’ll make cup of noodles instead.

She’s seeing a nutritionist, whom I’m sure is pulling out her hair. I know the nutritionist tried to get her to eat more fruits and vegetables instead of garbage food but it didn’t work. Finally she asked Emma to start eating meat.

The first I knew about this was on Friday night when Emma informed me that she was “‘thinking of eating meat again”. I believe I said “Oh okay” or something equally witty. Then we went out for lunch with my parents and Kait and Emma proudly announced, “I’m not vegan anymore. I’m going to eat meat”. She ordered the butter chicken.

I find myself torn. On one hand she insists the dizziness is gone (placebo effect maybe… it sure happened quickly) but on the other hand she’s not eating any healthier. She’s replaced her previous junk food with canned ravioli, Kraft Dinner, and some sort of thick and chunky beef stew.

I am absolutely no help for her when it comes to meat. I switched to being vegetarian when I was in college and have no real idea of how to cook it or how long it stays fresh. Neither do I want to. This is something Emma will have to learn on her own. Maybe she can find a cooking channel.

She’s been vegan for about two years now so it’s definitely going to take a bit for me to get used to seeing cheese on the fridge door and milk on the top shelf.

The hard decision…

Emma sees her doctor tomorrow about starting hormone therapy. The thing is, she’s not sure she wants to. Or, more specifically, she wants to but also wants to someday have a baby of her own. And this is one thing I can’t help her with.

It’s a hard choice at twenty to have to decide whether to make yourself infertile. It’s even harder when you’ve wanted to be a parent for your whole life. I reminded her about adoption but she wants to have a baby, not a child. I pointed out that they could go to a sperm bank to impregnate her future wife and got silence in return. And I brought up the fact that hormones work better when you’re younger and got a curt “I know”.

Emma has school tomorrow and I have a social recreation group. We’re going to meet up after both and walk to the doctor’s office. With any luck she’ll have come to a conclusion she can live with.

Update:¬†Emma’s doctor sent us home with information about sperm banks and some places to call. Her next appointment is in two months.

Clothes shopping…

It was afternoon when Emma called. I’d been having a high anxiety day and was still in my pjs.

“Mom, I’ve got a 30% off coupon at Value Village. Why don’t you meet me and we can go clothes shopping together.”

Clothes shopping was definitely at the bottom of my list of things to do. Right under scrubbing the bathroom with a toothbrush. Then my mind caught up.

“Are you scared to go into the ladies section on your own?”

“Yes,” she replied.

Okay, I’ll get dressed and I’ll meet you there.”

Emma was waving to me at the front door when I arrived. Then we went looking for their x-large section in ladies wear. This was easier said than done. Did you know they have an entire section devoted to button up sweaters? I sure didn’t. But we finally found the correct section and started riffling through the long sleeved shirts.

Emma got bored and discouraged quickly.

“I’m going to shop in the men’s department,” she said with a sigh. “At least I know the clothes will fit from there. And, with that she walked off. I kept searching and quickly found several shirts that would probably fit her and a shirt for myself. She was back with me in a couple of minutes.

“Couldn’t find anything?” I asked

“I was too scared to go into the men’s department,” she admitted.

“Well I found a bunch of shirts for you,” I assured her, gesturing to the buggy. She looked pleased with the selection.

shopping for Emma

So sparkly!

Luckily the changerooms here are unisex, just a row of rooms in the corner of the store. Emma quickly found one and started changing. She even opened the door for me to see a couple of shirts. And, by the time she was done, she had at least five “new” shirts.

Then came yesterday. We were at Dollarama when Emma gasped, “I’ve always wanted one of these!”

One of those being a purple infinity scarf. I’m trying to cut back on spending but I bought the darn thing anyways. She put it on as soon as she got home and then she started fiddling with it.

“Look,” she said as she wrapped it around her waist. “It can double as clothing if you lose all of yours.”

I think I’ll pass on that fashion statement.

It’s so nice to get my sparkly girl back again!

On mistakes and taking advantage…

waterfall squareEmma and I went to Toronto on Saturday to spend the afternoon poking around hidden gardens and have dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory. We had a great time and found a few lovely man made waterfalls.

One thing I also did was help a few homeless people out. Just simple things like buying flip flops for a man with no shoes, giving change to a pregnant woman, and giving half a sub to an elderly man rummaging through the trash. Nothing we couldn’t afford.

I talk a lot about Emma on the blog but I don’t often mention one simple fact. She’s autistic and developmentally delayed. So you can imagine my concern when she didn’t show up at 3:15pm from her day program. My concern worsened when she wasn’t home at 3:45pm. I was just about to call her when the phone rang.

“I thought he was homeless,” she wailed from the other side of the line.

“Who?” I asked in bewilderment then got a disjointed answer in reply. I finally pieced it together. Someone on the street had a sign asking for help cashing a cheque so they could get a bus ticket home. The cheque was for $800 and he was going to leave $20 in the account for Emma for being so nice gullible.

Luckily Emma has limits on her account and could only take out one hundred dollars. That didn’t stop the guy from snagging it as he was removed by security… two minutes too late. And, double luckily, the bank is only charging her $7.50 for a bounced cheque. We can live with that.

It makes me wonder how someone can take advantage of someone who’s obviously special needs. All Emma needed to do was speak for the man to realize she wasn’t average. Plus she’d have needed help to use the bank machine. I don’t understand people can take advantage like that and, honestly, while I wonder, I don’t think I want to understand.

We had a long talk about only sharing what you can afford. We can afford $4 flip flops, we can’t afford eight hundred dollars. And I explained that cheques aren’t safe, that people can write anything on them and it takes days before that’s discovered.

“But why do banks let this happen?” she said shocked. I had no good answer.

Emma’s doing fine now, happily chattering to herself (and the cats) about computers. Now it’s my turn to shuffle around the budget… and to be glad it’s only one hundred dollars and not the whole eight.

You are not an ally…

You are not an LGBTQ ally if you can explain gay or lesbian relatives to children with ease but decide it’s too complicated to explain a trans relative.

You are not an LGBTQ ally if the trans relative’s chosen, real name and pronouns are too hard to remember so you go back to their old pronouns and name.

You are not an LGBTQ ally if they’ll always be deadname* to you

You are not an LGBTQ ally if you accept bisexual people but figure they’re really just confused.

You’re not an LGBTQ ally if you assume bisexual people are natural cheaters

You’re not an LGBTQIA ally if you figure the A stands for ally

You’re not an LGBTQIA ally if you complain there’s too many letters. It’s the length of a phone number and people aren’t crying those are too long.

You’re not an LGBTQIA ally if you figure asexual people are straight but confused.

You’re not an LGBTQIA ally if you decide asexuals are simply prudes

Go back to grade school and re-learn that a word can have two meanings if you think asexuals have to bud in order to reproduce.

You are an ally if you listen to your trans relative and follow his, their, or her narrative to explain to younger family members.

You are an ally if you use your trans relative’s name and pronouns as often as possible, apologizing if you forget.

You are an ally if you realize bisexual people aren’t any more confused or promiscuous than the rest of society, they simply happen to be attracted to two or more genders.

You are an ally if you learn the acronym without complaining.

You are an ally if you listen to the LGBTQIA community and learn about their various orientations without judgement

You are an ally if you stand up for the LGBTQIA community and correct any misunderstandings you hear.

If you are an ally, I thank you!

Selfie filtered

Emma’s self portrait last summer

* deadname equals birthname

“I’m transitioning”…

“Well hello,” said the elderly man from our UU church. He smiled then turned to Emma. “And who might this handsome young man be?” he asked jokingly.

“I’m Emma,” Emma replied. “I’m transitioning.”

The man looked bewildered. “Erma?” he asked.

“Emma,” both Emma and I replied.

“Alma?”

“Emm-mma,” I said slowly.

He smiled and went on with his conversation. I wondered if he thought we were joking.

Emma tells everyone she’s transitioning these days from her cousins to the cashier at the grocery store and every one gives her the same blank look. We belong to online groups and PFLAG, to us it seems like half the planet is either in transition or related to someone who is. I’m guessing, judging by the blank looks we encounter, that’s not the case outside our little circle because no one seems to have a clue what she’s talking about.

I wonder how people’s reactions will change when she eventually starts taking hormones and begins to look more feminine.