Pasupatidasi's Blog

thoughts, poetry, life as it is…

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except ye become as children

people really don’t get gender.

but before children are ‘programmed’ by our systems of education and cultural paradigm, they seem not to be so confused about it.

the problem is that this conditioning happens so soon and through so many venues. television gets to them of course, but even before this, the ‘sins of the fathers are visited on the children,’ as it were.

parents mean no harm. they are merely acting the way they were taught, by their parents. who were also acting out the patterns imposed upon them. and so on and so forth.

culture carries with it a number of benefits. but equally it passes on things of detriment; stereotypes about race and gender, classism, xenophobia and a host of other peculiar items that run counter to an equitable and peaceful society.

my daughter asked me the other day, why people of this present age are so ashamed of their bodies. i thought this would be another of our talks about her body and how it doesn’t line up with who she is, i worried she was ashamed.

so i asked her what she meant.

‘well’ she said ‘native people used to not always wear clothing. unless it was cold or something’

after breathing a sigh of relief, i began to explain to her a concept i had learned about in a course in cultural anthropology when i was at university.

it was ‘the super-organic nature of culture’. it is concerned with the fact that cultural mores are so powerful as to cause humans to act in ways contrary to their organic needs.

like wearing a three-piece suit in the middle of summer, when as far as our bodies are concerned, we’d be better off with no clothes on.

her simple question opened up a conversation on how cultures differ and how they can clash, a subject we had already broached somewhat in our history lessons as we explore the tragedy that resulted from the clash between the european cultures and the indigenous peoples of the western hemisphere.

it would be nice to think we have learned our lessons from all of this history. but truly, and obivously we haven’t. especially when it comes to tolerance of differences as regards gender and sexual orientation.

readers of this blog will have no need of examples to prove this point, of course.

but a most interesting thing happened the other day. someone insinuated that perhaps the fact of my bi-sexuality made me inordinantly accepting of zeeona’s being transgender, which otherwise ignored or at least not supported, might have turned out to be only a phase.

it seemed one of the more ignorant things i’d ever heard.

as a parent, in this day and age when even being ‘just gay’ is still a source of ostracism and bullying for our children, causing them much pain even to the point of suicide, it is ridiculous to think that we would try to ‘make’ our kids gay, much less urge them to be transgender!

as a member of the gay community, and one who has felt the sting of societal rejection, oppression and cruelty, it is absolutely ludicrus to think that i would attempt to force my child into being something she’s not knowing full well what sort of discrimination and pain she would have to learn to endure.

but such is the mindset of those whose cultural conditioning has restricted their ability to reason. this is the result of the programming to which they were subjected.

i think that these sorts of mindsets, this sort of programming is also an example of the ‘super-organic nature of culture.’ because it causes humans to behave in ways contrary to not the individual’s organic needs but to the organic needs of society.

the family of humankind on this fragile planet is an organic thing, with needs to ensure it’s health and future. it seems to me that evolution of this particular organic entity is going to require a quantum shift in the arena of cultural mores.

if this doesn’t happen, what hope of a world without wars is there? what hope of a world of not just peaceful co-existence but of joyous appreciation of the variety within it’s being?

so we must begin the process of creating a new paradigm. and we must quit contaminating our children with failed cultural values. perhaps take their example more often

it’s simpler to say it this way: ‘unless ye become as children, ye shall in no wise enter the kingdom of heaven’

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does stealth = shame?

does stealth equal shame?
this point is moot where my daughter is concerned.

before i realized how badly she needed to live as
the girl she is, zeeona felt compelled to tell folk
who saw her as a boy, (she had short hair, didn’t wear
dresses) that she wasn’t really a boy. she called it
‘her secret’ but didn’t keep the secret very well.

one day, at the opening of a new lgbt community center
in a nearby town, the local tv news wanted to interview
me. because i am a queer woman who has adopted a child,
and the laws against this in our state had recently been

altho i had adopted zee long before moving to florida, i
agreed to speak on camera about my feelings and thoughts
since the repeal.

zeeona had already been living as a girl at this point,
and identified very much with this community of lgbt
people. she even initiated conversations with some of the
folk who were there about the fact that she wasn’t just
the adoptive child of a queer parent, that this was her
community in her own right as well.

i feared that the reporters would hear this and want to
interview us further about this other twist. it wasn’t
that i was ashamed, it was something else that i couldn’t
quite put my finger on.

fast forward a year, and once again because of a totally
different sort of news story, we find ourselves being
interviewed on camera for a tv story. it was one about the
toll of foreclosures on neighborhoods becoming veritable
ghost towns, with banks not taking responsibility for empty
property upkeep, and so many vacant homes.

zeeona drew me down to her and whispered in my ear that she
wanted to tell the newscaster about her “secret”. once
again i felt that uneasiness i’d felt at the lgbt community
center’s grand opening.

i told her that this story was about something else.

it isn’t that i have ever felt the slightest inkling of re-
gret for allowing my daughter to be who she is. it isn’t
that i have ever felt that her being transgender is a cause
for shame. it isn’t that i felt that the information is not
hers to share. or that the subject is too private for sharing
with others.

it was all about my fear that in this homophobic, transphobic
judgemental society the repercussions of this admission had
far more consequence than a young child could comprehend.

lately, especially since the high profile transitioning of
chaz bono, i have wondered about just how much more damaging
being stealth can be.

there can be no doubt whatsoever that in order for society to
come around, there must be exposure to the things it judges
and fears. the refusal of closets and subsequent visibilty of
the gay, lesbian and bisexual community has done much to win
long sought after rights and respect. quite probably then, a
similar time for visibility and pride need occur with regard
to trans-people in order for injustices to be identified and
turned back.

in the queer community, there were always some who felt the
need for privacy as regards whom they chose for love and sex
partners. after all, what business is it of anyone else? do
heterosexual people have to declare themselves?

but there were far more of us that felt that the dominant
cultural paradigm had to be openly challenged if we were ever
to attain equal standing within society. that it was unfair
that blatant display of heterosexual love and intimacy was
okay but to walk down the street hand in hand with our lovers
was not.

i would never presume to tell the transgender community
that it perpetuates prejudice against them to be ‘stealth’,
that “secret” often translates “shame” in the minds of
“normal” society. because this allegedly normal society has
few qualms about discriminating against any and all that run
contrary to their established rules. just look at ‘dont ask –
dont tell’ or ‘defense of marriage’ legislation for proof of
this well known tendency.

but can i continue to tell zeeona when it is okay for her to
share ‘her story’? where does my protecting her against an
irrational society end? does my protection translate as shame
in her young mind? dare i impose my fears upon her young mind
by letting her know the horror stories of hate-crimes, of
things such as ostracism and discrimination?

she’s only eight!!!
so how can she make the decision to not to be “stealth” when
she’s scarcely old enough to understand the repercussions?

as with most things concerning her well-being and safety, i
find myself walking a tightrope between supporting her and
shielding her. tho as i said earlier, the stealth controversy
is a moot point with her. she has no hesitance to declare that
she is transgender.

so no matter what i feel, no matter my justified fears or my
feelings that society needs to be awakened to the presence of
people who are ‘other than’ in their midst, this is her story,
not mine, to tell or not to tell.

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i love being a mom

i love being a mom.

that said, i admit that part of the fascination
owes to the child-like air that caring for my kids
manages to instill in me.

for example, zeeona loves to be tickled before bed, then ride my back while i assume a pony pose, all the way to her bedroom.

what an awesome way to end each day!

at eight years old she is full of questions, some to which i don’t have the answers. so i am forced to admit that (humility) and follow up by finding the answers. (thank heaven for the internet)

one day as she approaches her teen years, tickle fights before bed will seem beneath her. and rides on my back will become to much physically for me to accomplish. (or not! i’m pretty fit for a woman kicking sixty in the rear)

one day the questions will trickle in more slowly as she grows to be a young woman who prefers to keep secrets and find her own way.

i will miss these days in that time when child-like play surrenders to trying on her grown-up wings.

but unlike with my older daughters, who have already made me a grandmother many times over by now, zeeona will need a bit more help in making it through the dreaded puberty stage.

unlike them, zee will need to have cross hormones, and other such things as will help her body to transition in alignment to her mind.

she will need to speak to therapists (she already has one, but not a specialist in transgender issues. just try finding one of those here in the deep south)

she will have to travel to california for the surgery necessary to change her body even more than the hormones and subsequent puberty will.

all of these kinds of things will make mommy necessary for longer than i was to the neuro-typical cis-gender daughters i raised before her.

my other daughters had need of a natural to most disassociative phase, in which they differentiated their selves from the like-gendered (and only) parent. i had taken enough psych courses in college to allow me to understand that needful part of their developing into persons that were ‘other than’ me.

but i think with zeeona that particular strain on the mother-daughter relationship might not have to be. she will have been struggling with identity for many years by the time she hits sweet sixteen.
she will, by dint of being a transgender person, already have a distinct point of departure from the ‘same-gender’ parent.

at least, that is what i hope.

there will likely be no more little ones for me to raise after her. no inspiration on a daily basis to be child-like and full of the wonder that seeing things through the eyes of a child can impart.

i hope i’ll be able to let go. to allow her to soar like an eagle, not tethered to me like a kite.

and so long as she understands that she can always count on me to be there for her, just the way that i am now, it wont be as hard to watch her venture out on her own.

of course, since she is transgender, i will always be worried about how the world treats her. and that is something with which i didn’t feel a need for concern with my other allegedly ‘normal’ daughters.

i love being a mom!

it would take more than a thousand books to convey a sense of the many ways in which that role has enriched my days.

and when i can no longer fill that position, a little something of heaven will be lost to me…for a time.