This is the presentation I did for Southern Comfort and basically these are the notes I speak from.

I need to give credit to Dr. Sandra Cole who kindly spent several hours on the phone with me making suggestions. 

GENERALIZATIONS

What we have here are specific answers from a biased source!!!

  Testing biases!

1.     Parents see what they want to see and children say what their parents want them to say! Some of the responses are a bit unrealistic!

 2.     Differences between what the T* says and what the SO says! Not as much as I expected! BUT

 3.     Ignorance of what is really happening!

 I was beaten up for some of the questions, I AM a Woman! I am proud he still calls me dad!

 This is still a small sample but there are some very clear trends none the less.

 Credit to Dr. Sandra Cole

 

 

Telling

 

Should you?

·        What are your motivations

·        If you are TS you don’t have a choice, if you are going to be out.

·        CD TG Selfish? Are you trying to gain allies? This can work both ways includes wives telling the child!

·        Are you comfortable with who YOU are? If you are not dealing with shame and guilt then! Effects on them if they are not very secure in who they are will!

·        Is the wife supportive?  Her level of acceptance may well be related to how she found out. The importance of this can not be stressed enough it is pivotal and he or she can some times sabotage the relationship with the child!

At dinner time, my spouse broke the ice. We believed they would take their acceptance cues from her. If SHE was okay with it and it didn't mean the "family" was in danger, then all would be well. It was

 

Spouse transparencies.

 

When should you

·        If you are going to then early is best!

Time Transparencies

 

Post op TS Children 29, 32.UK

 The children and their spouses were told the day after my wife. I spoke to my children , and my wife spoke to their spouses. I thought that my daughter would be supportive , and my son have difficulty , the opposite happened.

 My daughter lost her Daddy, and it took 17 months for her to come to terms with it. My son has never had any problem with it, and in fact hugged me and cried with me at the time

 Daughter: After the initial reaction she had counseling for a few months. At first she would not even speak on the phone, and there were no birthday or Christmas presents. This changed on the birth of her son (my grandson) and we were reconciled in the hospital a few hours after the birth .I have full access and she now visits us for she has now accepted the new me . My son still calls me daddy, which pleases me.

  

Communications style with in the family.

·        Is yours a family with an open and free style, is there absolute honesty? (Some of us are very accomplished liars).

·        Are you available to discuss topics?

·        Do you converse freely and openly?

·        Is there , deceit, little secrets,

·        Is information “leaked”? 

·        Can you tell your secrets?

 

Consequences if you don’t!

·        Accidental discovery clothing, computer, seen dressed! Then you are into damage control!

1.     discovered clothing in the “Airing  Cabinet” UK

2.     Seen in baby doll’s delayed reaction (months)!

 CD

My daughter 16 walked in on me while I was asleep and dressed in baby doll pajamas. Though she seemed to accept it after talk from mother, she took years to deal with it comfortably. Still has spells of dislike but controls feelings. delayed reaction.

Daughter has on occasion, bought me girly items (nighties for Xmas, dolls, etc.) Depends on moods though and sometimes seems to have to withdraw because of having difficulty seeing me dressed (partially most times - no wig, makeup).I wish I had Talked to my daughter BEFORE she discovered by accident. Less shock and better position to explain things. Possibly introduce her to these different gender issues over her growth years much like I did son. This would give her time to understand before having to deal with it personally.

 

I Talked to my  son as he grew up, about gender issues and some of my feelings about femininity. Sometimes even told of wishing I could experience being a female but did not dwell on it. occasionally commented on personal beliefs that males should have same freedoms as females when it came to clothing, though not often (months apart) Son 21 (married) has no problems with it though would prefer it wasn't part of me. Has seen me dressed several times and seems ok with it

 

3.     Hacked the computer! This is what my two boys did and then we are into damage control!

  

The longer you wait the worse it gets Except for TEEN years (they are in mental pause)! {this varies with the maturity level of the child}

·        Burden on the child? My wife the teacher says this can be a problem and it is largely related to how secure the child is in their person. Why didn’t you tell me was my daughters response!

·        The burden really is, is this another source of stigma?

·        BUT to learn later that the family was a façade can be much more damaging!

·        It can also be a privilege to share and deal with a difference in the family. Most of the responses from those who’s children grew up with this indicate that the children are more open and tolerant, much as children who grew up with a handicapped sibling.

 Consequences if you DO

·        Be prepared for the worst (being outed) if you do tell young children! Not many responses indicate, Jane Ellen close call with older son; Family portrait in Kindergarten. He drew the Whole family

 

·        Be prepared for the consequences when you tell older kids (prepared, or damage control).

They may surprise you some accepting some not, not easy to predict!!!

“I am proud to have a women like you for my father”

·        This is part of that family communications, while they are growing up. If they do not have a good model in their parents then they will be struggling with having to deal with who they are virtually alone! Big tension! 

 Preparing to tell! THIS IS IMPORTANT!

 HAVE A PLAN

 

That plan can even be to not tell.

 The partners should be on the same page!

 ·        Most responses to the question, how did you prepare to tell your children, are characterized by one wife who said, “I took a couple of very deep breaths”!

 

 Wife CD

 I told him by myself and several weeks later told my spouse that he knew

Response! He chided me! I was the one who needed to grow and develop.

 My son said: Mom I hope that you can learn to appreciate this very special aspect of ___'s personality!

 

There is a major problem with both of these because in both cases there was no plan, and the Trans person abdicated responsibility!

  

Home work, Know your subject!!!

 Talk to a therapist about the level of understanding of each child!

When I decided to transition, and after talking to my spouse and then my parents, I decided that I needed to talk to each child individually. I prepared for the discussion by talking to my therapist about each child’s stage of development and how to approach each based on age, sex, and maturity. I started with the oldest, then middle, then youngest. I was very careful to listen to their needs, questions, and concerns. I tried to discuss it as openly as we had discussed various other issues over the years (family to world issues). I allowed them to ask me anything - without reservation.

 Each child had a different response.

The oldest was, on the surface< "Oh good, we can go shopping together!" But, she masked her fears, etc., under the surface.

My son was the most mature, still is, with, "Its OK dad, your changing your body, not your mind."

The youngest reacted initially with, "This is freaky." However, within 14 hours was calling me by my new name.

 My children were subjected to a lot of taunting, especially at school (middle and high school). As time passed they learned to cope with society in various ways. Once my son, while visiting the orthodontist for a check-up was asked by the dental assistant to speak to me (I had been the one in the waiting room). My son said, "My dad is in the waiting room." The dental assistant came around the corner, seeing no "dad" turned around and said to my son that I wasn't there. My son got out of the chair, looked around the corner into the waiting area and said, "There's my dad, she's sitting right there!" So his mechanism of a keen sense of humor and situational awareness helps.  My youngest daughter says that she feels out the parents of her friends to determine whether or not disclosure will have an effect. However, if the topic comes up, she faces it as a fact of life, like changing the decorations in her bedroom. The oldest has the hardest time. She is seriously dating a young man, who knows, but won't discuss it with his parents.

 

·        Learning levels, three stages, as a child where they know nothing. As a teen when they know everything and as an adult when they know how much they don’t know !

·        Teens can’t see consequences, and early teens, (middle school), are almost un teachable! 

·        They are going through a LOT and if they are not secure in them selves then it is probably a good idea to wait!

  

Damage control! I hope you are prepared; this is likely to be rocky!

 

What next? You have lost a bunch of options!

 The first step is to explain why you have not told them! And that is out of fear.

·        Primal scream, if you don’t tell them I will!

·        Windows 98 is not secure!!!

·        Hostile EX  Child 2 told biological father when she discovered the hidden wardrobe EX husband (bio father) told child 1 in negative manner told many family & friends & co worker (in negative manor. lost children for four years).

It Can work for you! In a couple of cases the T* came out as the under dog and gained acceptance

 

 

CD

Daughter 24 saw interview with younger daughter.  Daughter Panelist at SPICE

 Shares her clothes with me comes to Tri-ess meetings helps with wig and makeup

How did you tell? Just told her 

Describe! told her sooner Not a good idea!!! In this case the daughter said she would have done everything she could to hurt her parents, to quote her “I was a total bitch”!

She intends to do transgender counseling

 

 

Strategies! Bad ideas, letters, and e-mail, unless you have no choice.

The best seems to be if they grow up with it

 CD Jane Ellen

 Both knew about the cross dressing from their earliest days. As they got older we gradually educated them.

 Younger son serves on panels at SPICE. Both have been to many meetings + conferences. Older has been in a skit at a CD convention + done collage research on HIV + asian transgendered people

 We answered their questions as they arose, after giving them a general outline.

Both accept people as they are: both find discrimination abhorrent. Both reject "Macho" stereotypes.

Accommodations have been made ! when the boys will be bringing friends home they call first

 

 F to M partner F

As we live in the Uk we are not able to get married. I am ftm transsexual man, my spouse is female - we have been partners for a very long time, so I will complete the form as if we are married (after 24 years we have done better than most married couples)

 my female partner has always accepted me as a man albeit transsexual, even before I had surgery - although when she met me I was already bearded.

Children 3 and 4 are not old enough to express support per se but not bothered at all by it

 

They all just see me as dad who happens to have been a boy who was brought up as a girl, because my body was like a girl's. They certainly appear to totally accept that version and know that it is called transsexualism

We told them the story of the day they were born, and then gradually over several weeks took the story back to the day of their conception and why we needed a gift of sperm rather than using sperm I made - we then went on to explain my background

 

It has made me a much better father, much more aware of my children's individuality and the fact that they are their own people, not extensions of me or my partner

 

Some 'friend's' parents have expressed being troubled but all have been very positive and accepting

 

 

·        The Tootsie approach

- Sabrina Marcus

 

I had spoken to my children years ago about who I was and introduced myself as transgendered in a loving and caring way.  It took me three days to introduce the

subject.

 I rented movies such as Tootsie and Mrs. Doubtfire and asked my children in a very cautious way how they felt about men wearing dresses.  Their answer was “girls get to wear pants, why shouldn’t boys get to wear dresses?”

 

I started to talk about how  some girls are more like boys and how  some boys are more like girls.  I asked if they knew any children in their class like that. They both said yes.  I asked how they were treated. They said in there own words that the girls were shunned and the boys were bullied.  I asked if they thought that was right. They both thought it was wrong and to my joy each child in their own way had been kind to a child such as I described.

 

We spoke about God and how he makes people different. We spoke about the color of people’s skin and how people would hate and kill just on that basis.  We talked about the mentally handicapped, little people, and people who get incurable diseases. How these are all Gods children and that God does not make all people the same.

 

I then introduced to them that I was a child who felt different. We spoke about the trying times I had as a child and how I was bullied for being different.  I told them how hard it was to be different but that a person needs to stand tall and be proud of the way God made them.  I told them we don’t know Gods plan but we are all made differently, and we must do the best we can with how he made us. 

 

I finally told them I was Transgendered, and spent a lot of time explaining what that meant.  I told them why I would go away a lot and that I did not want to leave them so often.  They then asked if they could see me dressed and I agreed.  When they saw me they didn’t blink or laugh.  They just looked at me in a very reassuring voice and said.  You look fine and you’re still our Daddy.  I can’t explain the joy I felt that my children loved and accepted me.  The tears flowed for a long time.

 

 

·        Ask them questions (feedback) 

 TG Kathy Randal 16, 14, 9,

Each know at a different level.  Each knows only age specific information, and are understanding at their age level. 

My eldest daughter 17 is very interested in my journey, and I can talk freely with her.  She is OK with my dressing as long as there is a reason for it.  She does not want to see me outside of specific times to dress, holidays, etc.  She still wants dad as dad. The other two are the same way.   None of them have a problem with modest dressing around the home.  The dressing I was referring to is full-en femme, pad, hose, make-up, wig, etc...

 

I introduced the subject gradually. I started with the gender spectrum and asked how they felt about themselves.  I then mentioned how I felt, and gave them the opportunity to modify their answers.  I introduced them to my dressing during Halloween, and mentioned that I enjoy dressing up at other times during the year.  I went one-on-one with them to lunch and asked them all sorts of questions about what interested them.  I asked questions about how they felt around the other kids at school, etc.  I then shared with them some of my feelings about how I related to girls more than boys and how sometimes I wished I could have been a girl.  I would continue to relate back to how they felt.  Later on I would casually ask if they would like to see what I could do with make-up and a wig.  I then would show them a picture of my transformation efforts.  As they grow up I tell them more in relationship to where I was in my understanding at their age, and let them share with me if they felt similar.

Taken in stages and paid attention to the responses

 

·        Halloween intro

CD   Wife very supportive! Kids 5&7 currently

 Showed them this last Halloween (2001)and a few weeks latter I got dressed to go out and let them see me and told them that dad likes to dress like a girl more than just Halloween. they think its cool to see dad all doled up, they think I look like snow white.

 They are indifferent, thinks its just some thing that some dads do, no big deal Wore woman’s night gowns for months prior , shaved legs and polished nails

 gradual steps, seeing dad in femme pj's the seeing dad at Halloween then later all dressed and talked about that dad dresses more than on Halloween.

 worked out well so far

 

 

·        Sit right down individual and group!? Wife present/not present.

At dinner time, my spouse broke the ice. We believed they would take their acceptance cues from her. If SHE was okay with it and it didn't mean the "family" was in danger, then all would be well. It was

 

Medical model (most successful). I can provide!

TS UK  relationship very good we have a 14 yr old son who is fine with things Gareth was told about Auntie Diane but he sussed it out for himself and then we just gave him any support he needed, which in the case was only minimal

  Gareth realizes this is a medical condition and that this is the way I am so he has no baggage about it, he has only had minimal problems from other kids

 we are a very strong family we do things together, the family bond is good and that is what other people have problems with many who are critical have weak relationships without having a TS member in the family.

School

Please explain minimal name calling I asked the headmaster to warn the kids I would take legal action against their parents under the incitement to hatred act, they stopped straight away!

 

·        Mom dressed me as a girl (not true as cause but understandable).

 

 

Religious Problems!

Kay Fox!

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Last modified: 12/24/13