many parents become anxious for this time of year…the time when the kids go back to school. we homeschool, for a number of reasons, and so back to school means back to the grind for me. but i do try to make the experience enjoyable for us both. we decide on electives together…this year we’re learning japanese and python….we use internet and videos for studying science and history especially…we choose art projects together and often plan a mid-autumn get-away to go caving or something.
it is frustrating to wear the hat of teacher and parent sometimes. still, i wouldn’t have it any other way…not just because i don’t agree with the methods of teaching in public schools. but also because it is a harsh world in public schools for children who are ‘different’ … there are bullies their own age with whom the must contend, there are even adults whose aren’t ‘cool’ with the ‘different-ness’ of our kids.
ziona has autism, but is very high functioning. she does however have difficulty with nuance and socialisation among her peers. which leaves her as the ‘odd man out’. but the real danger for her in a school or other situation as loosely monitored as are classroom and playground, is the same one that she will have to eventually face nearly every day of her life.
transgender women, in the world as it is today, are never quite ‘safe’ from bullying or attacks. as a mom this is an overwhelmingly terrifying fact of life. knowing that no matter how well i prepare her, no matter how savvy or strong she may eventually grow to be, there will always be the danger of her being judged, bullied or even viciously attacked just for being herself.
i haven’t broken this to her yet. i don’t know how to broach the subject of how horrible people can be to those who are different. i don’t want to tell her how much more likely a transwoman is of being attacked or killed. i want to protect her from the fact that there are even other women who will judge and exclude her, speak ill about her and shun her, just because she was born with a body that was a betrayal of her soul. i just don’t want her to have to worry about such things…not yet.
still, one day i will have to begin to help her know about the dangers…one day, as her teacher and her mom, i will need to prepare her for the time when this nice cocoon of living and learning at home will come to an end, when she will spread her wings against the skies of her own tomorrow…i will need to help her know how to defend herself, in ways that other parents of cis-gender daughters never have to consider.
i guess there’s still time before i have to break the news to her…about how ugly the world can be. in the back of my mind i hold out hope that the world will change…become a kinder, gentler place before she must fly the nest. and in fact, there are many good changes coming about. transgender women role models are popping up in the most public of places…as actors, athletes, directors, musicians, doctors and politicians! so maybe in the decade we still have before she is out on her own, the world will have changed…become safer.
one can dream!