I’m going to use this as a bit of a journal space… there’s some stuff going on and I just need to get some thoughts out of my head.
So my best friend has a kid who is trans. He was born female, and has come out as being non-binary and preferring the pronouns they/him. He is only 11, and wicked smart and funny and kind. Occasionally he and I will talk outside of the biggest connection that I have to his family which is through his mum, my best friend.
Anyway, they have this other friend who is older, and she has not been okay with their kid, his clothes, his change of gender and prounouns, or apparently with their parenting of him. And here’s the thing, the other day she said to me that she thinks I have the same feelings about all of it as this other friend. That I think those same shitty things.
And well its safe to say I reacted crappily to that, but also, I am feeling kind of annoyed about it still, for being held in such little regard. Because I don’t have the problem with her kid that this other friend does, not at all, and none of my feelings that I have (coz yeah I have feelings about things, dont we all?) are that he is bad/wrong etc for being trans.
So here are my thoughts about transgender people….
I am, to a certain extent, transphobic. Absolutely I am. Just like I am to a certain extent, racist.
The world has evolved and progressed and we are moving ever forward about being inclusive. But all of us (white cis people) are to some extent those things, I think. Becuase we have grown up with the messages that our parents passed on to us, which were in turn passed on to them by their parents. And those messages are racist and lgbtqia-phobic too.
So yeah, that also applies to me. When I see somebody from the lgbtq community I might automatically feel a tension in my body, this inherited unease. But I don’t feel disgust or have anything to say about it (the slow progression from generation to generation – my parents would).
I do have feelings about my best friends kid being trans. Those feeling are love for their family. Their wondeful, inclusive, understanding, beautiful family. For how their kid feels so at ease in his family expressing himself, for his parents who love him unconditionally and support him in his being himself. I think they are wonderful parents, and that is the truth (and also why I was so upset about being put in the same category as their other friend).
I don’t think he is wrong. I don’t think he is bad. I don’t think he is selfish for changing his name, I don’t think he is disrespectful. I think he is doing the things that he needs to do right now, for himself, as he grows up and figures out about who he is. And I think he’s very lucky to have the parents that he does, supporting him through it, by his side no matter what.
All of that said, he is a preteen (though a solid few years ahead of his time, so really basically full fledged teenager), and he can be a typical teen. So yes, sometimes he can say awful things to his parents (and as my best friend is one of those people, yeah I don’t like it), he can be a little pain and sometimes I don’t like the ways he can be, like completely ignoring mothers day). And, he is a kid, a teenager, and he is going to be making mistakes…it comes with the territory.
I said to her once that I don’t always like him. And I don’t. And by that, I mean I don’t always likes the way he behaves, the way he treats his parents, the things he says to them. And yet, I also always love this kid. I think he is truly fab, he has a wonderful big heart, and I think he is a great kid. He can say the sweetest loveliest things to his parents. He is a wonderful friend to other kids, he is talented and funny and kind. Those are the things that make him who he is, not the things he says when he isn’t doing good. And it isn’t actually that I don’t like him its that I don’t like the things he says to them and the hurt (albeit temporary) that it can cause.
I also once asked my friend if she could ask him to help one day when she was feeling totally overwhelmed with housework. I think that was taken as parenting advice because I said he was old enough to help out. I didn’t mean it as parenting advice, more just an idea of something to help with the feeling of overwhelm she was having, if there was one thing he could help her with.
Which brings me onto their parenting. I think they are bloody amazing parents. That is what I think. I do not think their kid is spoilt (and have never said that), I think he is very loved. I do not think he is disrespectful (though sometimes I think he can be to them, we all can be sometimes). I don’t think he is selfish, I think he thinks and cares a great deal about pretty much everyone he comes into contact with (one of the amazing things about him).
I think he’s lucky to have the parents he has. Not becuase he doesn’t deserve, not because he takes them for granted, but because he could have had a real hard time feeling the way he does, going through all the things he is, with different parents. I think they have done and are doing a wonderful job parenting him. And they aren’t perfect, no parent it, but I think they are doing pretty great. The proof of that being in the kind, respectful, intuitive, smart kid that they have. I wish he treated his parents better, but hello? what teenager does?!
So that is what I think. And, I think I try to offer suggestions rather than listen (because thats the way my brain works) and I really need to learn to stop doing that coz it pisses my friend off to high heaven. And, whilst I have not intended to offer parenting advice (as I know absolutely jack shit about it) it has clearly come across that way, so I need to keep shtum about it. So I will, now that I have said the things I needed to.