Really important and great film from In The Life Media:
IT GETS BETTER: PARENTS OF TRANSGENDER CHILDREN SPEAK OUT
The first “It Gets Better” video of its kind: Featuring parents from PFLAG’s support group for families of transgender children sharing their personal struggles to understand their child’s needs and find support for both themselves and their families.
CATEGORIES: GENDER IDENTITY & EXPRESSION, YOUTH, ONLINE EXCLUSIVE
Share with yr parents and families! I just emailed mine :)
About The [Youth and Gender Media] Project
The Youth and Gender Media Project encompasses a growing collection of short films that capture the diversity and complexity of gender non-conforming youth. In The Family Journey: Raising Gender Nonconforming Children family members relate their transformations from denial to acceptance and finally to celebration around supporting and nurturing their courageous children. I’m Just Anneke tells the story of a gender fluid twelve–year–old girl who’s taking hormone blockers that delay puberty so she can decide if she wants to be male, female, or somewhere in–between, when she grows up. Becoming Johanna tells the story of a sixteen–year–old Latina transgender teenager living in Los Angeles whose deeply religious, immigrant mother commits her to a mental hospital against her will in order to prevent her transition to a young woman.
The films introduce radical new concepts for many audiences, from the very idea that a young child can be transgender and have the wherewithal to fight against the pressures to conform to a binary gender paradigm, to the new and still very rare use of hormone blockers to delay puberty. However, since the films are structured around universal themes such as parenting and acceptance, identity and difference, growing up and coming of age, tolerance, love and self-esteem, they remain accessible and deeply moving even to people who are resistant to the idea of transgender youth.
In collaboration with our outreach partner Gender Spectrum and several other non-profits dedicated to creating safe and inclusive classrooms for gender nonconforming youth, the films will be used to educate teachers, administrators, parents and students in school communities across the United States.
I just watched I’m Just Anneke and The Family Journey and was floored by how great they are. Read more about them and consider buying the DVD for yourself (or yr organization).
Buy the DVD:
The latest issues of Original Plumbing (the transmasculine quarterly magazine) is all about family! Check it:
Original Plumbing’s Family Matters issue has been a long time coming. The longest OP to date with 60 pages of interviews with every type of family that would share their story with us, this issue isn’t just for OP fans, but is also a personal resource for family members of trans children and trans parents looking for community. Some subjects touched on include: Chosen family, solo parenting (& dating) as trans men, being a supportive parent of a transgender teenager in the public school system, foster parenting, grieving the loss of a family members, trans male pregnancy and more.
Photo spreads and interviews with:
- THOMAS BEATIE: Beyond “The Pregnant Man”
- 16 pages of portraits and interviews from the 10th annual PHILADELPHIA TRANS-HEALTH CONFERENCE
- WYATT & MAX: Two trans guy dads dish on solo parenting and the dating strike that lasted a year
- KY: NYC welder & cover model talks about the adoption process from personal experience
- YOUR MOM: OP Editors Amos Mac & Rocco Kayiatos shut up and give their mothers the floor
WITH EXCLUSIVE WORDS BY:
- Nick Krieger
- Sawyer DeVuyst
- Elliot Foxprince
- Nick Mwaluko
- Charlie Stephens
- Carole Alfe & Diana Kayiatos
(The Moms of OP)
To be honest, I don’t usually read OP, but I’m definitely buying this issue!
My name is Wayne Maines, I live in Old Town. I have a 13-year-old transgender daughter. In the beginning, I was not onboard with this reality. Like many of you I doubted transgender children could exist, I doubted my wife and I doubted our counselors and doctors. However I never doubted my love for my child. It was only through observing her pain and her suffering and examining my lack of knowledge about these issues did I begin to question my behavior and my conservative values. I learned that the medical standard of care requires parents seek assistance from a panel of experts. We did this and our team of doctors recommended my daughter to live fully as a girl. We cannot turn back now.
When my daughter lost her privileges at school and both children and adults targeted her, I knew I had to change and I have never looked back.
When we moved to Maine, it was clear my daughter was transitioning from male to female with us or without us. She used the girl’s bathroom with no fanfare; she was confident and very social. Her strong personality helped the entire school transition right along side of her. She was proud and secure with herself and when people asked at the young age of six she openly stated that she was a girl trapped in a boy’s body.
The transformation was amazing, but her happiness would not last. Unfortunately the fears of others would destroy everything that our team of doctors, teachers, school counselors, friends and classmates had work so hard to establish.
I know that it is difficult for some of you to understand the needs of transgender children. You only need to spend some time with these kids to see that they are struggling and suffering beyond your imagination only because they are singled out and misunderstood. They are just like your children and grandchildren; they have the same hopes and the same dreams.
In the fifth grade because of significant negative exposure we had to take drastic measures to protect her from harm, including splitting our family up to go in hiding and we are not the only family that has had to do so. When she was told she could no longer use the appropriate bathroom her confidence and self-esteem took a major hit. Prior to this my daughter often said, “Dad being transgender is no big deal, my friends and I have it under control.” I was very proud of her. It was only when adults became involved with their unfounded fears that her world would be turned upside down. “She came to me crying and asked, “Daddy what did I do wrong? Daddy please fix this?” That is what dads do — we fix things. I had to break her heart and say, “You have not done anything wrong sweetie, but Mommy and I do not know how to fix this, but we will try.”
Continuing to single these kids out is not necessary. Having the opportunity to use the bathrooms of their true gender is essential for these kids’ well being. This bill places transgender children in a position of doom and hopelessness. This bill tells my daughter that she does not have the same rights as her classmates and reinforces her opinion that she has no future. Help me give her the future she deserves. Do not pass this bill.
- Wayne Maines, in a testimony against Maine’s proposed bill which would allow the operator of a restroom or shower facility to decide who can use which gender’s restroom based upon “biological sex.” Originally posted by Joanne Herman at Huffington Post (follow link to read her commentary on this amazing testimony)
- Wayne Maines, in a testimony against Maine’s proposed bill which would allow the operator of a restroom or shower facility to decide who can use which gender’s restroom based upon “biological sex.”
Originally posted by Joanne Herman at Huffington Post (follow link to read her commentary on this amazing testimony)
(reposted from Huffington Post)
In my last post, I highlighted an amazing dad who supports his transgender teen daughter. Sadly, parental support is not common. Few parents have heard about transgender issues, and some react so strongly to their child’s gender nonconformity that they force their child to leave home.
I’ve wanted to know more about what life is like for these rejected children, and so I finally cracked open my copy of Cris Beam’sTransparent: Love, Family, and Living the T with Transgender Teenagers. It’s an eye-opening peek at an experience quite different from my own.
Beam met over 50 transsexual kids during the five years she worked at a small high school for gay and transgender teenagers in Los Angeles. The kids “came from as far away as Alabama…and even Hawaii.” She says, “many had been kicked out when their parents caught them (their sons!) trying on a dress in the bathroom or stashing stilettos in a schoolbag.” Beam describes how one of the transsexual women she connected with, Christina, was treated by her mother:
Gloria was starting to notice her son’s femmy touches…and she wasn’t having it. She thought her son was probably gay, which, for her, was a black mark upon the family, an indictment of her already-questionable parenting. She told Christina she wished she (Christina) would just die of AIDS if she was going to act this way; she called her “whore,” “puta,” “slut,” and, in their nastier fights, would throw her out, once even changing the locks. Later I would learn that Christina attended five junior high schools in the span of two years as she shuttled between foster care and homelessness and her mother’s house.
Gender identity has nothing to do with sexual orientation, but parents often conflate the two. Beam tells another story — the one of Nina:
Nina’s mother cried and cried and said wasn’t there something they could work out? Maybe Nina could just dress up on weekends and leave late at night, when the neighbors wouldn’t see? Maybe they could work together to hide Nina’s girl things from the mother’s new live-in boyfriend, who wouldn’t tolerate girlie dress-up? This new boyfriend had a decent heart, her mother said, and he paid half the rent so, Dios mio, the boyfriend had to stay. The boyfriend helped Nina’s mother afford her youngest son’s good Catholic school. Everybody has to sacrifice something in this life, and wasn’t there a compromise, wasn’t there a way?
Nina told her mother no and gently hung up the phone. For Nina, then 16, prostitution was easier.
Of course, not everyone Beam met had been thrown out by parents. Dominque’s mom had been a crack addict since her birth, leaving Dominque to forage for her siblings with little support. Lenora was abandoned by her mother at birth and raised by her loving grandparents in Mexico, but when they felt she could have a better life in the United States, they let her go into the foster care system in the U.S.
But regardless of background, these students were all experiencing the same life. Beam says all knew where to:
… find girls trading secrets about how to shoot-up black-market hormones purchased from the swap meets in East L.A.,…find out about ‘pumping parties’ where a former veterinarian or a “surgeon’s wife” from Florida will shoot free-floating industrial grade silicone into hips, butts, breast, knees — even cheeks and foreheads … and learn which dance clubs let in underage kids and have go-go boxes for dancing.
Beam’s insight into these lives helps explain one of the key findings of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey Report on Health and Health Care:
Respondents reported over four times the national average of HIV infection, 2.64 percent in our sample compared to 0.6 percent in the general population, with rates for transgender women at 3.76 percent, and with those who are unemployed (4.67 percent) or who have engaged in sex work (15.32 percent) even higher.
Unfortunately, resources remain scarce for loving parents who have chosen to take a new course and support their transgender child. One of my favorites is The Transgender Child: A Handbook for Families and Professionals by Stephanie Brill and Rachel Pepper.
But at 200 pages, it can be a lot for a newly understanding parent to digest. Fortunately there is a new option — Helping Your Transgender Teen — A Guide for Parents by Irwin Krieger, a clinical social worker with years of experience. Krieger’s style is gentle and accessible, yet it covers all of the basics. The best part is that, at 86 pages, it’s the perfect intro for parents wanting to go where few parents have gone before — support their transgender child.
Follow Joanne Herman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/joanneherman
I use a different name on Facebook, because I like to keep my social life (and thus Facebook) separate from my xxboy/blogosphere life.
My dad messaged me today saying that he hoped my Facebook name choice was “not to avoid being identified.”
He wrote: ”If so, it is time to be Sebastian Mitchell Barr.” Thanks, Dad - that means a lot.