Pasupatidasi's Blog

thoughts, poetry, life as it is…


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NO parent would….

this is another article i’ve recently read that has my hackles up, find it here

please also treat yourself (or mistreat more likely) to the articles linked to within this one, about how the politically correct gender industry is preying upon the phases “all children go through” in order to make big bucks.

at the end of each of these stories are the typical binary-gender minded xenophobes that are well worth reading, for the kicks and giggles one can enjoy whilst reading inane and absurd closed-minded takes on this subject.

where the hell to start with all this?!

do we begin with the notion that it’s the big money that is behind the ground-breaking research and standards of care being deveoloped and provided to transgender/transsexual people? or that there are ‘mad doctor’ frankenstein types foisting this gender oddity upon an unsuspecting public? or that an entire industry lies in wait, lurking in shadows and somehow convincing children and their parents to participate in unnecessary medical and therapeutical procedures, just to fill the coffers?

do we approach this as tho children who are transgender are merely confused and that their equally confused caregivers are opportunists hoping for media’s 15 minutes of fame…or to get rich writing a book about it? do we consider that the parents who support their child’s self-definition are idiots who’ve not done the research that would inform them better on the subject?

let me be frank!

NO parent who loves their child would push a child to identify as transgender! NO parent would do this because society is chock-filled with idiots who stigmatise these children, with school systems that can’t even prevent ‘normal’ children from being bullied to death, much less ensure a safe and sound educational environment for those who are different. NO parent likes the odds of their trans daughters being seen as less than women, altho more likely to be victims of rape. NO parent with eyes, can look around today’s so-called enlightened and ‘equal’ society and feel ensured that their transgender child will escape oppression, or ostracising just for the simple human desire to be themselves!

that being said, NO parent with a heart can stand idly by as their transgender daughter, the one who was born a boy, cries when they learn that “it” isn’t gonna fall off someday and “he” become a “she”. or one that tries to cut off the “male” part with whatever is handy, or worse begs the parent to do it. or attempts suicide, so that they can be born into the right body next time. NO parent who’s done their homework, can ignore the percentage of suicides for trans-children who aren’t supported by their parents or somebody!

it took me a full three and a half years to finally hear what my beautiful ‘daughter’ had been telling me since she was three and a half years old. oh, i listened. and said things like:

“do you want to be a girl so that you can wear pretty things, cause you can wear whatever you want ya know?”

or

“boys can play with dolls, you don’t have to be a girl to do that.”

until finally

after she’d tried to cut off her penis with a pair of plastic scissors from her pretend doctor kit,
after she’d come to me drenched in tears and agony begging me to cut it off,
after she’d been so torn apart, by the three years that passed before i let her be the girl she is, that she was suicidal…at 5 years old!

finally, i listened.

in the intervening years i hadn’t been burying my head in the sand like an ostrich either. i did my homework. i researched the issue from every angle. i educated myself as to what it would mean for her in the future, the cost, the procedures, the rejection by society…whether to be stealth about it.

NO parent would choose to force their child into a life situation that offers so much of difficulty, in these allegedly open, politically correct gender industry dominated times!

ziona is proud of who she is! i’m proud of her too! she already understands the long road ahead of her, and at nine years old has had to consider many things that no other child has to…
whether to have an implant for the testosterone blockers or to do it through monthly injections, whether the girl she eventually meets and falls in love with will love her back.
when and whether to tell people that she is transgender, knowing that some people will hate her for it.

NO parent would force these sorts of issues upon a child. but the very best parents will support their child as they navigate their way to becoming who they are!


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standing my ground

i just read this at a yahoo news link from my twitter timeline.

it was obnoxious to me on a number of levels. not the least of which is the fact that soon after i began supporting my transgender daughter in her quest to be herself i was reported by some hopefully well-intentioned individual to the child protective services. not once, but twice the investigators from CPS recieved complaints about the fact that i was ‘allowing’ my child to live as a girl.

yes, in a world where priests are routinely given shelter by the Roman Catholic church after being accused of sexually abusing children, a world where children are afraid to report when a relative or parent ‘touches’ them inappropriately, in a world where the horrendous beatings and punishments that parents and others inflict upon children are rarely deemed newsworthy, i was reported to CPS for supporting my child.

just yesterday i read about a nine year old girl who died after her mother and grandmother had forced her to run for three hours straight as punishment for lying to the grandmother about eating candybars. yes, this time it made the news. but where i live in the deep south here in america, in the bible-encrusted region where ‘sparing the rod’ is considered against god’s laws i have watched in horror as a father snatches up his son by one arm in public and beats him with the free hand, or where a mother backhands a child for not ‘shutting up’ while shopping in walmart. these are not rare incidents, not the excetion. such things are often done around here, publically and without the slightest bit of shame. and i can only watch because around here such things are not consider abuse.

now studies are coming out that tell the story of transgender kids being sexually abused, so of course some use these stories to support the view that transgender people are broken people who manifest their damage by being transgender. altho the above article doesn’t do this and raises concern that our transgender kids are being abused at a high rate and that lifelong scars result, some people are putting the cart before the horse, insisting that transgender people become transgender as a result of abuse.

it figures, tho doesn’t it? that this interpretation would arise in the small minds of those who can’t accept different-ness?

so, the Roman Catholic church has millions of dollars in a fund set up by then Cardinal Ratzinger who is now the pope to defend the pedophile priests. presidential candidates threaten to relieve women of their rights to their own bodies as attempts are made to ‘redefine rape’, the extreme christian rightwing nutjobs tell us that homosexual marriage is the same sort of abomination as bestiality, and yet parents who try to support and protect their children are investigated by CPS.

right across the street from me lives a neighbor whose yard is filled with garbage, everything but the kitchen sink really, the house is small and likewise filled with trash. there are four adults and four children living in this tiny one bedroom shanty so small that the children have no room to play indoors. the mother of the kids, their grandmother and their aunt all take turns ‘correcting’ the behaviour of these beautiful children, and usually do so in violent and abusive ways. to top it off altho all four children are under 12 years of age, these people have recently allowed a known and convicted sexual predator, whose crime involved minors under the age of 12, to park his tent in their front yard, and live with them.

so where’s the concern over this? calls made to describe this situation are met with absolutely no response by CPS. no investigator has come to check out the living conditions which are substandard and not fit even for animals. upon informing the authorities about all of this one is told that it is ‘their right’ to allow this perv to live amongst them even with minor children present, that since he has disclosed to the proper authorities where he resides and since everyone in the neighborhood has been made aware of who he is and where he is, the situation is out of their hands.

really?! allowing a known sexual predator of minor children under 12 years of age to live in your home where minor children under 12 years of age reside isn’t child endangerment?!

but i am investigated, not once but twice, for supporting my transgender daughter.

to be fair, the investigators on both occasions were almost apologetic about even having gone out on the call. especially after meeting my daughter, seeing how we live and hearing from me about the recent research about transgender child issues. i am grateful for the fact that we ‘passed’ inspection, but confused as to why no one even bothers to go out and at least inquire into the safety and well-being of the children across the street.

it is worrisome to know that my daughter has a greater chance of being subjected to sexual abuse, rape and assault simply because she is transgender. and as i see it, that is all the more reason for me to advocate on behalf of people, like her, who are different. my strong hope is that someday our society will quit protecting pedophile priests, and the rights of sexual predators. that it will become a place where those who would redefine rape and attempt to rob women of their rights would be laughed out of public office and deemed unfit to govern.

but i’m not holding my breath. instead, i am standing my ground!


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wisdom of squirrels

i just spent the past half an hour watching a squirrel in my front yard. the curious behaviour caught my attention in part because it was so repetitive. you see, he was picking up acorns from underneath the southern oak which tends to drop them by the thousands, and then carrying them after a careful taste-test scrutiny, to another location in the yard. as soon as he’d ‘planted’ the one, he’d run back to the tree and taste-test another…sometimes eating a bit, but more often, running back to the same general location of the yard as he’d planted the previous ones.

over and over again the squirrel repeated the behaviour, relatively mindless of being observed and seeming to be in a bit of a hurry.

i know from long hours of watching squirrels in the past that they quite often dig up one of the acorns from their cache, only to put it back into the ground and cover it over. it is because, as anyone who has made ‘nupa’ (a mash made of acorn that the native americans used to make) acorns must be ‘washed’ and ‘rinsed’ to free them of the tannic acids that give them a bitter taste. so i did understand the reason for burying them, digging them up, tasting them and putting them back again.

but what surprised me about this clever little fellow was that he was taking the acorns from a place in the yard that rarely gathers a puddle of rain, (because of the overhang of the oak branches and the relative high ground upon which it stands), then bringing them to the only place in my front yard where, to my dismay, large puddles form during a good rain.

over and over again…and just as a storm was gathering strength enough to really let loose!

as i watched, my mind drew parallels. this activity of ensuring that his acorns were exposed to the element needed to rid them of their bitterness made me think of how certain kinds of exposure about transgender issues can help to make them more palatable to the general population. just as the squirrel was exposing his treasures to the rain to make them less bitter on some happy morrow, we who expose our stories about transgender issues cannot but help to improve the attitudes of the society into which our children must eventually find themselves. maybe making it a bit less bitter of a place.

it may seem like a bit of a stretch, and perhaps not a very good analogy, but as i sat watching the little guy, who seemed to have mapped out in his head precisely the regions that would provide the best exposure, i thought about the programs on t.v. that have brought exposure to transgender issues. i thought about chaz bono’s high profile courage in being who he is and how people like him and the thousands of others bravely being themselves are improving the savour of trans issues. i thought about the readers of this blog and the writers of countless other blogs like this one in cyberspace.

i couldn’t help it.

it seems to me that the wisdom of squirrels is far more broad than merely making sure of a stash of acorns, they know just where to plant them in order to get the desired result.

ziona and i have to save up money like crazy for the massive costs of hormones and the eventual surgeries she will go through to achieve her tomorrow. she is only eligible for medic-aid as she has so many other conditions that no insurance company would have her, and medic-aid doesn’t in every state cover the hormones, much less the surgery. so like little squirrels, we are stashing away the necessary funds.

but we are indebted to the other wise squirrels who expose their ‘treasures’, their very selves, to public scrutiny and awareness, because all the dollar saving in the world won’t help to remove the onus of being transgender…for that enlightenment is necessary.

so here’s to the wisdom of squirrels! and cheers to the people planting the seeds of tolerance by sowing them where they’re most likely to lose their bitterness: in the public eye.


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the normal of us

yesterday when ziona and i were finishing up at the check-out counter after shopping, the clerk smiled and told me how much ziona has grown, what a beautiful young girl she’s growing to be…etc.

but behind her eyes i saw the unasked question, “didn’t she used to be a he?”

no, the clerk didn’t come right out and ask (altho others have). in fact, the closest she came was saying “didn’t she used to keep her hair cut really short?” quickly adding something about how nice she looks in long hair.

this isn’t the first time i’ve noticed the ‘unasked question’ in the face of people who have seen us, clerks at stores mostly, since we don’t go many places outside of home, my mom’s house, or shopping. on occasion, the person upon whose face such ‘unasked questions’ register will actually allow their mouths to frame the inquiry.

usually something like, “where’s the little boy you used to come in with?” or “i always thought she was a boy”.

to these folk i offer a short explanation. such as…’turns out he was a little girl all along’ and if they appear open to further discussion, i teach them the word “transgender”.

teach is the proper way to describe the interactions, because most of the people have either never heard of the word or confuse it with ‘inter-sex’, an unrelated condition in which a person has both male and female ‘parts’. keeping it light and avoiding a tendency to be pedagogical whilst doing so, i briefly illumine them as to the meaning of transgender. usually by saying something like:

“some people are born with female brain, but a male body, or a male brain in a female body”

then i direct them to some information online, or the t.v. documentaries done by barbara walters, and recently lucy ling on oprah winfrey’s network. the name-dropping of such well-known and esteemed personalities whom they have invited into their living rooms via their televisions in the past, from whom they’ve learned about subjects far less controversial, seems to dispell the judgmental thoughts that begin to creep in after the initial curiousity has been sated.

and so, i’m thankful for the recent media attention, the high-profile appearance of chaz bono on dancing with the stars, and other such attempts by documentarians to elevate the social discourse about people like my daughter. i’m eternally grateful to such resources as genderspectrum.org and boston children’s hospital’s dr.spack for paving the way forward for young people who are gender variant. and as for those brave souls going forward with being who they are, despite the mountain of discrimination that they must face, clearing the myriad hurdles to becoming themselves and doing so unapologetically and in the open, i wish i could meet them, embrace them and let them know how awesome they are for the courageous endeavor of being who they are!

shortly after leaving the woman ‘with the unasked questions’ as we started towards the exit, an older gentleman, maybe in his mid-seventies, gave us the biggest compliment of our short shopping excursion, when he said simply: “what a beautiful little girl…and her mom”

tho i am clearly too old to be the mother of an eight-year old, and ziona is probably not exactly the little girl he imagined her to be, i turned to him and said a great big ‘thank you’, knowing that the fact that ziona is adopted and transgender didn’t make his statement any less true!

i smiled inside thinking about the truths he’d not seen or had chosen to overlook. feeling a bit relieved, perhaps for his lack of ‘unasked questions’, but most of all, very pleased that someone that day had perceived the normal of us: just a pretty girl and her mom.


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duh!

i read an article a few days ago…well, skimmed it really. usually if i bother to read something it gets my full attention. but this one was one of those “duh!” articles.

the subject of a scientific study the article referenced was whether or not ‘spanking’ is of benefit. there are perhaps some who may come across this post who believe in spanking; who think that treating their children like test monkeys in a b.f. skinner experiment in behaviour modification is a good thing, who quote the biblical line from the book of Proverbs that states “spare the rod and spoil the child”

to the latter sort, my recommendation is this: before deciding to follow biblical advice on this read some of the other exhortations and recommendations in that old testament, like those that state that a woman be stoned for adultery, or that she is an unclean thing for her issue of blood after birthing a child or during menstruation. or the verses that support slavery, slaughter of infidels and seizure of their lands. or that value a male at fifty shekels and a woman at thirty shekels, or that a woman whose husband dies must marry within the family, to a brother who must agree else bear onus.

this isn’t even grazing the surface of the ridiculous advice and admonitions given. really! have you ever read this book? so, no way i go along with the ‘spare the rod’ bullshit, nor should any caring parent.

to the former i say, what’s good for the caged lab rat is not necessarily good for the child. altho, the article in question said that punishing isn’t even good for the lab rat, not for building real intelligence.

it was as to intelligence that the whole ‘spanking’ thing was being called into question. apparently, tests revealed that the I.Q.’s of kids who were routinely disciplined by spanking tended to be lower than those of kids who were otherwise shepherded into appropriate behaviour.

does this really require a scientific study to discover? doesn’t it make sense that if one is convinced through explanations and encouragement to ‘behave’ that they will learn more than if they are merely terrified of the consequence of pain? maybe a dog can’t grasp words, but even they are more likely to learn new tricks if encouraged rather than punished when they don’t!

so why is this something to study?

through the decades, many child rearing type books have been written, most not worthy of having their pages used as toilet paper. among the few that caught my attention were ones with titles like “raising your child without threats or violence”, “summerhill: a radical approach to child rearing” and others. these, and not from some laboratory experiment in pavlovian technique or biblical exhortation, made sense to me. so my children weren’t spanked.

to me it just made more sense for their own well-being if the lessons they learned from me were ones that taught them compassion, that revealed reasons for behaving in a manner that is co-operative and that allowed them to discern for themselves what might be the consequence of their misdeeds. so, duh! of course such an upbringing would encourage introspection and thought. intelligence.

now, that said, i was beaten by my father, badly…and my mother spanked. my I.Q is 147. not exactly a rocket scientist but above normal. still there is not a doubt in my mind that the lessons i learned that have helped me the most in life, didn’t come to me from the fists of my father, nor did the ‘board of education’ that my mother wielded against my backside teach me anything more than the fact that wood hurts skin.

so, yeah…a great big “DUH!” for this oh so not unexpected discovery.


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bully, be yourself!

quite often i peruse the blogosphere reading what’s on other people’s minds. while not always leaving my two-cent’s worth comments, rarely do i come away without giving pause in thought about what i’ve read.

recently i came across some blogs that had to do with two things that often through life have occupied my mind. bullying, and being one’s self. there seems to my way of thinking, to be a co-relation between these two.

a couple of cases in point:

my daughter, who was born with a male body and is autistic besides, is fortunate to have a mom who is retired and able to homeschool. this saves her the bother of bullies, and spares me the troublesome battles of insisting upon her rights within a system that doesn’t understand her needs.

but for a few days this school year ziona did attend a very private school. expensive, but specialising in kids with developmental delays, the only thing we insisted upon at our intake and admission appointment was that she not be bullied. of course, we were given every assurance that such behaviour was simply not tolerated.

that assurance later was borne out to be patently untrue. in a classroom of only 5 students with two teachers present at all times, a boy who sat behind ziona teased, taunted and bullied her from day one. her reports of this to the teacher fell on deaf ears, and when i tried to “hip” the teacher to the situation, it was no better received. my earlier post about this incident is here

the boy who was my daughter’s tormentor was guilty of this behaviour with others as well. all of his victims were girls. and the taunt used towards them was the mere fact of their girlness…in other words, he teased girls for being girls.

there’s an old saying that whenever one points a finger to accuse or taunt, three point back toward themself.

often i have pondered just what makes a bully bully. altho not having researched the phenomenon i have developed my own hypothesis about the bully syndrome. i believe that, like lying about something you’ve done or are, bullying is a fear-based defense-mechanism. (take note that this does not excuse the behaviour.)

under this reasoning, the boy who teased girls about being girls might be transgender, or perhaps attracted to other boys. fear of being or just facing who he is could be his tipping point.

and, reaching back into my own childhood, consider this incident that started me thinking about the whole bullying thing over fifty years ago. a third-grade boy, was teasing an older boy, who was both developmentally delayed and had cerebral palsy. 3rd grader was calling the older boy, “mental” and “retard”, even following closely behind his victim to further torment him. no one else seemed to want to stop him and of course some minions were actually snickering in support of the bully. i couldn’t bear watching. tho only in 1st grade myself, and not very big or strong (or brave really) i told the boy that he was himself the retard for calling the other one names. in response the bully quite unexpectedly and violently punched me in the solar plexus. (my first such assault. i actually fell to the ground)

using my ‘fear-based bullying’ hypothesis it is possible that the bully was aware of his own inadequacies. he was, after all, in remedial studies for every single subject.

of course, there are many who are fearful of being themselves who never become bullies. not everyone who is a transgender person torments those of the gender he or she hides from the world, not every closeted gay person strikes out against other homosexual folk. but what if society were such a place that there was no onus to being different? no judgment for being ‘other’? how much of bullying would vanish were there no underlying, tacit support for prejudice or bigotry?

i tend to oversimplify when trying to wrap my mind around concepts that baffle me. so i’m aware that this might seem a naive hypothesis. but in trying to somehow comprehend the indefensible actions of others, compassion may prevent me judging them too harshly. and what if the hypothesis bears true in at least some of the cases? then should i feel pity for those poor souls, so fearful of being who they are that they attack others for being mirrors that show them their self? or should i tell them to check their makeup, as it were. should i say “hey bully, be yourself!”

wonder what the response might be…

probably another punch to the solar plexus, but who knows?


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poetry and photographs

today, while going through some poetry to post online, i came across a couple of poems written about ziona before she had disclosed to me that she had the ‘wrong parts’, that she was a girl.

the word ‘son’ and the male pronouns used to reference her seemed so obviously out of place now. i began to feel as tho i should ‘rewrite’…but stopped short of actually doing so.

one reason is that daughter wouldn’t fit the meter of the poems, but more than this, altho i completely support ziona and her right to be who she is, there is still a slight sadness of loss. the loss of my son. so i suppose, this is one way to hold on.

already ziona has insisted that the photos once that hung on her walls, those taken before her fourth birthday, the ones depicting that cute little boy with the huge blue eyes, be forever removed. altho she didn’t insist i get rid of them, she made it quite clear that these were not pictures of her and she didn’t want to see them. perhaps they were even a painful reminder of the fact that, until she is older, she still has those ‘things’ which pertain to ‘a boy’.

so i stored the photos away. i don’t really care to see them either. after all, for my part, they speak to not just the loss of the son i’d believed i was raising, but also to the reality of all that my daughter will have to endure just to become who she is. they speak to me of the puberty blockers, cross hormones and eventual gender re-assignment surgery. they even fill me with the worry that while our society as a whole is beginning to accept people who are different in ‘that’ way, many people within this same society have been known to perpetrate assault, or even just bigoted discrimination against people like ziona.

i drank in the words of the poems i’d come across, realising that nothing in their verses, except for the gender specific references, was any less true today of her than the day i wrote them. like the photographs, her spirit shone through in these mementos. the spirit which has never been anyone’s but her own. like the photographs, a sense of bittersweet irony seemed present. an irony that only exists because of the preconceived ideas i held of her, a bittersweetness that vanishes the moment i look at her face and see the beautiful girl she is.

there’s nothing much of a sense of loss to my todays with ziona. she fills my world to the very brim! only when i re-visit those yesterdays do i feel a slight twinge. after all, i have only ever raised daughters, so i suppose there was a bit of excitement and something new to find myself raising a son.

but because of ziona, my todays are even more exciting and interesting. every day i feel challenged to expand my notions of what it means to be ‘female’, of what gender is, of how to allow her to unfold herself, the perfect bloom of her essence, unhindered by my own ‘therefores’. not as easy as the concept it portrays is the follow-through of being a supportive parent and wise advocate for someone in ziona’s place! every day she helps me to grow to a far more fulfilled measure of the role of mother.

so i posted the poetry, as is…figuring that the words spoke eloquently of her spirit regardless of gender reference…and knowing that the more recent ones she’s inspired, only realise a deeper truth about her, not a separate one.

perhaps she can forgive me.