Monthly Archives: August 2013

When one parent won’t come to the party

This problem for Jeremy doesn’t lie in his decision to be transgender.  I am sure that there are many kids out there who have two parents who live in different locations, There are many kids for whom negotiation about where Christmas will be, halves of school holidays and weekly phone calls form part of the tapestry of life.  Today J shared something and I am furious.

Jeremy asked for space from his father at the beginning of the year.  His father’s response when contacted after he had an accident was typically self-centred “I thought you didn’t want to talk to me”.  I recently provided J’s dad with J’s new mobile number and received the response “I am puzzled why you are telling me this, your e-mail said ‘No contact until 2014’, had this changed”.  My response was factual, as a parent he had an entitlement to up to date contact details for his child. 

Still, I pondered why Jeremy did not want to talk to his dad.  He used to make special efforts to be home to take his Dad’s call at 5.00 on a Wednesday afternoon, he chased him electronically for hours last Father’s Day, only managing to get his dad on the phone after dinner I think.  This was a relationship that was fraught but still J had tried.  

As a baby he idolised his father, every inch Daddy’s girl.  What had changed?

So today the story poured out.  My ex husband is engaged.  Good on him.  There was a ring on his girlfriend’s finger at Christmas time.  No one in his household said the words to this child.  Apparently it was the last in a long line of issues with being at his father’s.  The silences when J entered a room, the tears that his girlfriend had when J was around requiring comfort from J’s dad, the comments about Jeremy, his hygiene, his physical appearance.  As Jeremy said, “Didn’t Dad ever go through puberty?”.  From my perspective it did seem that Jeremy’s dad was awfully shocked by the physical manifestation of puberty on Jeremy, this occasionally smelly, emotional and very opinionated young woman was a far cry from the blonde baby that he knew.  The child seemed to change from minute to minute. 

I know it is hard to have a child living in a different state.  My ex husband witnessed this throughout our marriage with my eldest’s father.  My ex husband was rude and dismissive about the regularity of phone calls, the time that my eldest spent with his father, efforts that this parent and his new partner went to to make sure that my eldest felt included in their family.  As an adult my eldest has an immense amount of love and respect for his father and his step mum.

So back to Jeremy.  In nearly four years my ex husband and his girlfriend have had holidays without Jeremy and visits have been confined to times to when they are working.  When Jeremy asked for one on one time with his father he was told that it was not possible and when it did happen it was a morning or day.  So I am not surprised that Jeremy showed more and more reluctance to go and visit, when each visit was one where you were left alone all day I can imagine that there was not much that seemed attractive in going to visit your father.  I am not saying that absent parents should make visits OTT movable feasts but some connection should be apparent.

On this last visit what I think upset Jeremy most was that despite a very obvious ring on his father’s girlfriend’s finger, his father did not show him enough respect to have a conversation with him about what that meant.  At the end of a challenging couple of years I imagine that it was the last straw.

I was told by a third party that my ex husband said that no communication with Jeremy for a year was a “tragedy that he would have to live with”.  My response to that was that, as an adult and a parent he was entitled to contact his child. My inner thoughts were that to get Jeremy to engage there would have to be a sentence from the father that didn’t start with “I”.  

I do not know how Jeremy’s father has taken the news that his child is transgender.  I do know that Jeremy is not referred to by name in the limited communication that he  and I have.  I will be honest and say that I did not invite comment, I have my own journey and my own issues in managing that journey to provide support for Jeremy without managing any issues that my ex husband may have.  That being said after knowing me for nearly nineteen years he should know that I would answer questions honestly if I am asked.  I don’t “hate” my ex husband, his actions are his and his life is his.  Our only connection, and it is tenuous, is via this exquisite child.  

Father’s Day this Sunday will not feature a call to an absent father at this stage.  Jeremy has the right to change his mind if he wishes.  Please send him your prayers of love and support if he does.  

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Posted by on August 28, 2013 in Uncategorized


Let’s talk about sex, Jeremy (it’s ok to dance to that earworm)

ImageA couple of weeks ago, up at the farm, in front of a beautiful bonfire, glass of red in hand, piece of lovely goat’s cheese on a cracker, my beloved attempted to voice a concern.  “Honey, it’s about Jeremy and Lachlan.  I’m not sure, um…….”.  The conversation explored the topic of teen relationships, what we were like as teens (very naughty by the sounds of it) and same sex relationships, something of which my beloved is very accepting. He does not have children but he takes an active interest in mine, as I take an interest in his dogs and we clash on occasion over both.  But in raising the topic he voiced a secret concern of mine as well.

Jeremy is 16, but biologically a girl.  Lachlan is older but biologically a boy.  I would be a fool to ignore biology.  

Out of respect for Jeremy I will not expose past exploits or errors, let’s just say that there were times that I wished that our relationship was less open and that I was less forgiving.  Jeremy felt the end of my marriage keenly and his relationship with his father, as it deteriorated, led Jeremy into some rebellions that were natural but also at times scary for momma and daughter.  The expressed themselves in hair colour and dress and facial adornments among other less tangible things.

But back to Jeremy and Lachlan.  Lachlan has been a friend since last year and a frequent visitor to our house.  He a lovely, articulate and intelligent young man.  He identifies as bisexual.  He extended me the courtesy of asking if he could date Jeremy.  Having had an older boyfriend myself as a 16 year old I felt hypocritical to deny Jeremy the company of someone I really liked on the basis of age.  They have been dating for a couple of months now and have the usual ups and downs as a couple.  

I have been blessed this year to have my eyes opened by my beloved to the true nature of a relationship where two individuals meet as equals.  The question about Jeremy and Lachlan and what happens between them is one that belongs to them.  They have given me reassurances and I trust them.  They show each other great respect as individuals.  

I think back to something that Jeremy’s father said to me once, that he knew that Jeremy was a liar because he is one and it takes one to know one.  I have always been honest with my children and hope that they are with me.  I challenge that statement by Jeremy’s father, I have been told fibs about school work and if the dog poo has been collected but the really big things have been spoken about honestly.  Sometimes that honesty has cut to the core.  Mostly it has meant that whatever situation my child has found himself in could be dealt with with the help and wisdom of an adult.

So in facing the dilemma of my child dating someone older and the biology of the situation, I have to trust.  

The photo was taken up at the farm, and Jeremy is standing next to?

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Posted by on August 18, 2013 in Uncategorized


Jeremy needs a job

Sometimes you forget what you know, or it takes a while to remember that the situation you are facing is one that you have faced before.

Jeremy’s father does not use his legal surname.  He hasn’t for over 30 years.  My eldest, when he was six, decided that he wanted to use my married surname and did so until he was nearly 18.  Both presented a stat dec and birth certificate when using birth certificates as identification.  No biggie.  Which is why I am kicking myself because I got all caught up with this issue for Jeremy when the solution is probably just as simple.

Jeremy needs a bank account, to apply for a TFN and to apply for jobs.  When he started looking he hit a roadblock with the identification issue, not sure what to use.

I am reluctant to support a permanent name change at this stage for Jeremy.  I am sure there will be those that think that is wrong, and you have  a right to your opinion.  At 16, making a legal change like this which will require contact and support from Jeremy’s other parent may not be the best option for Jeremy.  It may also not be the right decision overall as Jeremy has a long path ahead of him and this is a decision that should be one that supports a more overall life changing decision regarding gender, surgery etc.  Jeremy by his own admission isn’t at that point.

Which is why I am kicking myself.  There are already two close examples within our family of the use of alias’.  Did you know that it is ok to use an alias as long as people know that it is an alias?

I have started the conversation with potential employers because anyone who employs Jeremy will also have to satisfy me that they will have some kind of policy in place regarding dealing with transgender employees.  I need to know that Jeremy will be able to go to the toilet at work so to speak.  Sadly, one of the nation’s largest employers of young people have failed, after seven working days, to answer a simple question regarding identification and employment policies.  Looks like fried chicken may be featuring in our lives instead of burgers…..

Information gathering is something that we do well as a family.  I am bracing for the tangle of people that I will have to speak to at the Australian Taxation Office but hope that all inquiries will be met with honest answers that cover Jeremy legally and yet, in a practical sense, respect who he is.

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Posted by on August 12, 2013 in Uncategorized


A legal hurdle knocked down for parents of transgender pre teens

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Posted by on August 8, 2013 in Uncategorized


I’m ok, you’re ok (with apologies to Thomas A Harris MD)

It was Jeremy’s initial assessment with the pediatrician at the Gender Clinic at the Royal Children’s Hospital this morning.

The upshot – Jeremy is comfortable with himself.

Thank you God.

Today’s assessment revolved around the physical.  How Jeremy is health wise, how he is coping on a physical level.  This is also the specialist that will, if this is where Jeremy’s journey leads, oversee hormone treatment.

A showstopper for us is that currently Jeremy (through me no doubt) would have to make application to the Family Court to start taking cross gender hormones.  After 18 your body is your own, but before that your parents still have a say in permanent changes to your body.

On our way to the car Jeremy was positive about the appointment.  He then disclosed that part of the reason that he has put the brakes on any potential hormone treatment is that he is planning on two full on years of school.  Ok, he does on occasion float the idea that he will start a baking apprenticeship but he knows that my focus is for him to get to the end of Year 12.  He has the intelligence to excel in the right environment.

In the course of the conversation today Jeremy’s pediatrician told us about the education team attached to the hospital.  They are going to get in touch with us with some advice regarding how Jeremy can finish high school.

Another step closer to a happy and successful child.  Each time we take a step the next step becomes apparent.  The end post isn’t visible, but hey, if life was supposed to be easy everyone would be doing it.

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Posted by on August 8, 2013 in Uncategorized