My oldest son Francis used to be my oldest daughter Frances. Francis is 25 and lives and works in Chicago so being the parent of a trans kid is somewhat removed for me at this point but it still presents unique challenges and opportunities for learning.
One of the challenges is who do you tell and when? Even though by this point many people know Francis is now a man, not everyone does. I find that some people I have an easy time telling but some people who I have a fleeting relationship with will refer to Francis as a “she” and I find myself not correcting them. It’s really hit and miss for me and as I’ve kept this quiet on the WGOM for nearly 3 years myself, consider this Father Knows Best posting my “coming out” as a Trans Dad.
Of course having a trans kid brings other concerns as a parent. Let’s face it, not everyone is comfortable with trans people; discrimination and even violence is not uncommon. I bring it up to dates in case they are uncomfortable with it. It is a parent’s worst fear that bad things could happen to their child because of who that kid is and basically are powerless to do anything about it. Luckily nothing like this has happened to Francis (that I know of).
It is, however, pretty amazing how accepting people are. For people under 30, it’s not even an issue. My youngest refers to Francis as his brother like it’s been rolling off his tongue forever and the nieces and nephews didn’t even bat an eye. Others that I have told have been more fascinated with the process than questioning the intent. Which has been nice for me.
One thing that I have learned these past 3 years is that sexuality is definitely not M or F but is in fact on a continuum. Francis is the same person he’s always been with the same personality, sense of humor, needs and desires. In fact he exhibits some characteristics that I would consider “feminine.” But having said that, I don’t question at all his identifying as a male.
So we are all in a good place. Francis is a very happy, young person, striking out on his own in Chicago. He has a good job, been in a relationship for over 5 years, and has matured greatly these past few years, like many kids in their mid-20s do. The three of us are going backcountry hiking at Glacier National Park this coming July and I’m really looking forward to it.
Do I have any Father Knows Best advice? Probably not, each of us will have to experience the world our kids bring to us as they grow up. All I can say is your kids are their own person and it’s quite fascinating to watch them grow and experience the world on their own terms. It’s quite a ride, just make sure you have something to hold on to.