this is my beautiful gamer girl!
it’s impossible for me to see her as anything but a beautiful, creative, game-loving 9 year-old girl. but of course, the reality is a bit more complex.
on any given day we do our homeschool lessons and she fights with me over them a bit, then co-operates and afterward is allowed to play ‘games’. one of her favorites is skyrim, where she is always a female, but rarely human. another one she enjoys is sim’s city creator, where after each build, she chooses from among the various disaster modes offered, and goes about wreaking havoc and destruction on the towns. these days she’s into minecraft. not surprisingly, these are the games i enjoy as well, tho i am not nearly as good at playing them. she is in many ways, a girl after my own heart.
she wants to travel to exotic places, and we do. right now we are saving up for a trip to thailand. it will be an expensive trip, because in addition to seeing the sights, by the time we save up enough to journey there, she will also be getting gender aligning surgery in one of the best places on earth to get it.
there are at least 7 years between now and then…and we will take other, less exotic excursions in the meantime. like the cross-country roadtrips we take every summer to visit california, our home and friends there. or the planned adventure to venezuela in a year or two. maybe another one to belize, or one to peru. and most certainly every trip from now until her gender alignment surgery, we will be making return visits to the child and adolescent gender clinic at ucsf, perhaps even taking in another genderspectrum event in the bay area.
it’s surprisingly rare that the whole topic of ‘transgender’ comes up in our household. zee, innocently enough, doesn’t really relate to that assignation. to her mind, she is just a girl. the unfortunate reminder of a body part that belies her own truth does bother her, however. she can’t bear to see her ‘spare part’, relies on me to ‘dab’ after she pees (of course always sitting down for this), insists on bubbles for the bath and when she gets out the robe is her shield against the reality of her body right up until i have dressed her.
so today, as a part of our homeschool ‘video day’, we watched one about propaganda and its effects on behaviour, then we watched one about ‘transgender children’ which i had selected because the child portrayed in it had such a similiar experience to zee’s own. like ziona, this child knew from a very early age on, about 3. like her, this child had begun to live outloud, as we call it, at around age 6.
at one point in the programme the child’s parents said they had noticed their transgender daughter becoming very concerned about her body changing ‘into a man’s’… always checking the mirror worried that she might begin to have facial hair. the child voiced her fear, and as she did i chanced to look over at ziona’s face. it would be hard to describe her expression. but it looked like one of fear.
i turned off the video at that point, deciding that it was a good enough place, (it was near the end anyway) to stop and have a little discussion. in doing so i was to learn that ziona is indeed still terrified that somehow we wont ‘catch it’ in time and that ‘boy changes’ may start to happen to her. a nightmare that she pushed to the back of her mind whenever it occurred to her. even tho she knows the whole procedure of going forward to become the girl she’s always known she is will be full of injections and at least one major surgery, despite how much she hates shots and fears pain, she is far more terrified by the prospect of having ‘boy changes’ happen to her.
it is a good thing that we watched this, that i noticed her expression and that afterward we had a heart-to-heart about her feelings regarding this. she always seems like such a carefree child! it never occurred to me that she might be genuinely terrified, deep down inside. not of the painful surgery, not of the hormone injections, but of what would become of her without them.