I’ll Not Post as Frequently this Week Because…

Mom is coming to visit.

I moved to the East Coast from the Midwest last September and haven’t seen my mom since then.  She is coming for 5 days, and I’m excited to see her.  It can be exhausting hosting a guest for a full week, but my mom is pretty low maintenance: she is happy to watch movies or go for a walk, window-shopping, whatever.

The thing is, well, we haven’t talked about the whole trans/top surgery thing.  I mean, it’s not like she has never met me.  I do wear my gender on my cut-off sleeve.  And remember that wishing well story?  Remember when I told her I was gay and she said she knew?  She said she has known since I was five.  She overheard me at the East China Inn making a wish that day.  But I didn’t only wish for Cinderella that day, I wished to be Prince Charming.  Yeah, she gets the whole gay thing, but I don’t think this trans thing will be a complete surprise, either.

It should also be known that I am constantly underestimating my loved ones; perhaps because I am so quick to expect the worst in any given situation.  My mom obviously loves me very much, and I love her, but we are very good at avoiding the important topics: my gender, her alcoholism.  I hope while she’s here we can chip at both of these topics just a little, hope we can look at them, even if it’s only out of the corner of our eyes.

Part of my reticence to tell her about the surgery is that it’s not as easy as “mom, I’m a man.”*  It’s “mom, I want to have a man top and a girl bottom.”  She has heard of transgender people, but this queer gender business is utterly foreign to her.  I know, I have to be** the one to enlighten her,  get to** explain it to her.  The thing is, I don’t really know how.  And that tells me maybe now is not the right time to broach the topic.  I just want to make sure I’m avoiding telling her for the right reasons (I’m not ready to) and not the wrong reasons (I’m scared to).

What is your advice for telling parents about top surgery, especially if you don’t fall into a recognizable gender category?

Be nice to yourselves,
Your Pal Eli

*And of course I recognize that is never an easy sentence to utter.  But you see where I’m going with this: it’s not about the transgender issue, it’s about the genderqueer issue.

**I know, it’s not that I have to burden myself with this responsibility, it’s that I get the opportunity to enlighten my mom.  It’s about “getting to,” not “having to.”

4 thoughts on “I’ll Not Post as Frequently this Week Because…

  1. The way I’ve learned things are is: it’s NOT a genderqueer issue at all. For HER.

    It is for you, and it is for me, and everyone here in the trans community. But when I told my dad about top surgery, it was simply me being me, as happiest as I can. It was not even a transgender issue for him. He doesn’t really get it, and kind of tries, but is usually completely clueless. All that matters is that he supports me, whatever I decide or am.

    A mistake I make often is trying to pile on everything at once – information, emotions, pasts and futures – when it’s probably better to have them ask the questions when they are ready. Remember, you have probably been processing this for quite a long long time, and although she may suspect a lot about you already, all of it will be very new to her. If she does support you, she won’t care whether you are a man or something in between, she just wants to let you know she supports you, and that you are doing something that will make you happy.

    Good luck with everything!

    • Maddox,

      How did you get to be such a smart kid? As always, your kind words are so encouraging to me. Thanks for your thoughtful response.

      I’ll let you know how it goes!

      • smartness comes from experience. and lots of mistakes. and pretending to know more than I actually do – it’s the authoritative tone that counts!

  2. How true! It’s all in the tone. I wonder, how did you broach the subject with your dad? I am dropping little hint bombs, just to get mom familiar with the language (telling her my friend is transgender–this is true, it’s not a fake friend, we ran into D in town, and I told what testosterone was, for example). Right now I’m still in the planning stages I suppose. I know it’s different for all of us, but how did you know when you were ready to tell dad?

    Maybe you have a post on this somewhere, feel free to direct me to it if you’d rather not repeat yourself…

    -Eli

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