"The unexamined life is not worth living" Socrates

- - scatterings of ideas sent to my younger self, a sensitive girl who was fooled into believing she was a boy because of anatomy - -

Monday, 30 December 2013

Parenting As a Subversive Activity

It has been a while since the previous offering here. Some friends have told me that they have wondered how a year taking spironolactone has worked out. I will honestly say that if I was twenty years younger, I would have hated myself as I am right now; basically neutered. Because I have no ambitions to further procreate, and the love that my sweetie and I share no longer hinges upon sexual adventures, it suits me at the moment.
The evidence of how well this chemical sterilization is working might be measured by the time between posts here I suppose. It might have been that I'm not feeling a need for the outlet of writing. That has not been the case. The real reason is that packing up our household and moving it all down the road has and to some extent still is monopolizing my days.

It would be dishonest to suggest Spiro has taken away all of my feelings of loss at not presenting as a female and pursuing transition. It is just a lot less urgent.

Now and then I read a blog from a young trans-person who has decided not to have children. I understand this. There was a time in my life when I was convinced the world was better without another version of me, a person nobody could possibly love if they knew the real person behind the mask. 

I have written before about the Great Denial, a time when I rejected all that self doubt and created the man my wife fell in love with. That deception, as terrible as it was for my psyche, turned out to be pivotal. In spite of the devastation of a part of my person, I feel the world is better because of my children and in retrospect, it seems to me that having a parent who struggled with gender conflict was if anything some sort of advantage for them. This might well have been true if I had transitioned when they were younger. I will never know.

It was lucky that when we met my wife wanted me enough to teach me everything about being a sexual partner. We were both determined to have children. One of the factors I was never proud of was I wanted to be the one bearing the children. I dreamed of being their mother, and relished every opportunity to live that dream after they were born. I was the first to hold our son. The bond with those two is more complex than any male or female stereotype.

My friend Caroline was the first to tell me about "Golden Handcuffs". She used it in connection with the news of impending grandparenthood. Yes, I am 'Gran', and I will tell you all, it is a wondrous feeling to look at your own child while simultaneously holding their child in your arms. In a fall of amazing high points, this was the highest. Being a parent and now a grandparent is a wonderful thing, but it tends to bind you into place, thus the handcuffs of gold.

Our son who is in his thirties spent a day with us, helping us with the move. In every way he is a gentleman. Literally, a gentle man. In an ironic twist, his wife has commented many times how alike he and I are. It has been a matter of great pride to me that he embraced many of my better qualities too, not just a quirky sense of humour. He and I share a self-sufficient attitude. There is no part of keeping a home, inside or out that we cannot, or will not do, or at least attempt.

Our daughter, his older sister and new mom, shares that same self-sufficiency, and expected and got that from her spouse. She understands how things work, and together, she and our son-in-law will take on any project. They are going to be awesome parents.

It has been my contention since I began corresponding with other trans folk that we are among the most intelligent yet compassionate people on the planet (and yes January, very, very geeky!). It may simply be a matter of survival. We needed to be smart, we had to learn how to forgive and live with ourselves.

These are qualities worth passing on, somehow. 


  1. I found this post quite fascinating. Yet it raises certain questions which I am unable to formulate. I accept all you say about your experience of transgender issues, very largely because they are not part of my experience. I can therefore look at those matters with a fresh pair of eyes.

    Where I have certain difficulties is with children and grandchildren. When I look at my adult children I see four self-sufficient people going about their lives, or at least what I know of their lives. One of them I see once a year; others I haven't seen for years. So, I'm not an archetypal parent! When I look at my grandchildren, whenever I see them, I can appreciate their characters and personalities, but I have no hankering to do the 'grandparent thing.' I do not understand why this should be so, but I accept it because I'm comfortable in that skin.

    I suppose what I am trying to say is that regardless of our orientation, sexual, psychological, and whatever, we in all our diversity are not all formed in the same mould. The differences rather than the similarities are what make us interesting and valuable.

    May I wish both you and yours, all the best for the coming year.

  2. Tom, thank you as always for your insights.
    It seems to me that you are a successful parent, in that your offspring have gained independence from you. So far luck has been on my side to find that my daughter, son and I are friends and relatives both.
    The same cannot be said for my father and I, so I understand what you say about differences.

    All the best to you and yours for the new year Tom.

  3. There are times I regret that I have not given my children a true father as I was so wrapped up in denial and self hate for not being their mother nor now can I be the grand father to a precious gift. However, I am lucky to be accepted as the woman that I am with all the fallacies of my past and present.

    Still.... Whom knows if anything would have been any better or worse. My children are doing much better than I would have dreamed having dealt with a "father" in the academic sense

    1. So true that we can never know what might have happened, and being happy and accepted as you are, that is worth so much..
      I followed the trail back to your blog and will say I've found your posts quite fascinating so far. So, a double thank you for stopping by.