First of all, I hope that all of the children of transitioners who wrote in got SOME reply from me! My gmail seems pretty unreliable. Your messages are very important. I hope that at some point you might consider writing something yourself about your experience. Just get in touch. All of the messages so far from CoTs have been from daughters whose fathers have transitioned fairly recently, about the pressure to pretend that you are all right about it and the difficulty in sharing your feelings with siblings and parents. I had forgotten the aspect of this whereby your father takes any ambivalence or negativity about his transition as something poisonous coming from your mother. There’s some gaslighting there that I really recognise. Your feelings are your own. Don’t bury them.
There have also been some lovely emails of support from parents of trans children, wives and partners of transitioners, as well as people who are just interested in the subject. There were also very supportive messages on Twitter, Mumsnet and Facebook. Thank you!
So it was very interesting to then receive this message from ‘Idi Amin’, who I understand to have been sending out abusive messages to several groups and individual feminists online. My first instinct was to just share it with a couple of friends, have a chat about it, and then forget about it. But then I realised how much it really reflected the pressure on the families of transitioners to be quiet about how they feel. This is also echoed in another post I am making today, a look at the BBC documentary ‘Seahorse’, in which the ‘trans man’ who is pregnant, plans to cut their father out of their life because his negativity is impossible to handle. If your ideas were robust, if your identity was robust, if you were really convinced that what you were saying was right, you wouldn’t have to resort to violent words or emotional blackmail to get people to agree with you.
It takes something to come across a web site written by and for the CHILDREN of trans people and write this kind of thing, particularly to wish that the person writing about their childhood experience dies of brain cancer (the ‘Berns’ referenced in the email is Magdalen Berns, the feminist activist who died recently). There are two requests in this that I die. There’s a violence and vileness about this communication that is wholly unwarranted. Why the strange sexual language and allegations? I don’t really understand how this type of communication is supposed to make anyone feel more positive about their interactions with the trans community. This was in no way the behaviour expected from trans people when my father was transitioning, yet the louder the voices from wives and children of transitioners the more violent the rhetoric. The trans community really needs to urgently challenge these sorts of people who believe they are allies. This is what you get if you write about your experiences of a transitioning father, apparently! Thanks, Idi.