For me this picture symbolises the instant connection that J had with a young trans guy recently. Who knew that such a short time later I have watched in horror as this young one and his mother, like so many other loving mothers, have become the target for anti transgender ignorance.
A while ago I saw a post from a fellow momma, her precious child O was struggling and she was looking for a solution. Unlike Jeremy, O was not yet into puberty. He was worried that people would notice that unlike other boys, people would notice that he was missing a bulge “down there”. Let me draw a parallel – if as a parent you have a) searched the shops looking for Elsa knickers or a purple sparkly top b) that toy that everyone else is getting for Christmas c) spent hours online looking for the perfect absolutely whatever it is your child has expressed a desire for; you will understand that on occasion your child says something that strikes a chord with you and you will go to the ends of the earth to help satisfy that wish.
So when this fellow momma reached out about O’s desire many other mommas sprung into action. One momma has sent a few prototypes for trial. Jeremy and Lockie put their creative brains together and developed a quick yet simple and washable solution to the lack of penis bulge that even the momma involved said she could put together and the momma reached out to Den and TranzWear in the US who said he would try and help.
A story was then publicised about this issue with the help of Ginger Gorman, a journalist who is working hard to raise awareness of the issues of transgender youth in Australia.
Now, in the last 24 hours this little transphobic piece popped up (San Francisco company selling “packers” for trans boys, ages 4 and up) which has resulted in hate mail and a death threat to Den and some abuse heaped on Ginger basically for promoting pedophilia. So the angry momma bear has awoken.
I had the privilege of meeting a terrific young trans guy of a similar age and his mum last week, two beautiful people, a little one who confided in J that he was worried that people will not like him in high school, a momma who is walking in my shoes. Two hours flew as we talked about so many things and I felt that I had met a long lost friend. So today when I saw the snide implications that her actions, like so many other mothers, in procuring a packer and stand to pee device for her child was somehow (with murky implications) linked to pedophilia I saw red.
Den’s website TranzWear has an 18+ warning on the front page. When I first visited the Peecock products page I had a reaction, I saw lots of phallus shaped objects in various colours, in a quantity that I had only encountered in certain shops in Fyshwick in the ACT. Did that stop me looking as I helped my then 16 year old son to chose a stand to pee device? No, because I knew what I was looking at. I was also a grown up who knew that the device was to be used for my son to pee, and wise enough in the ways of the world to know that an STP is a pretty useless device for sexual gratification. Because that that is the dangerous parallel that is being drawn at 4thWaveNow – that STPs and packers are being given to children so that adults can get sexual gratification. Let’s name it people, and not hide behind euphemisms.
Here is my truth. Transgender boys want to look like their peers. They are acutely aware that they lack a little bulge in their pants. Caring and supportive parents will recognise that and do what they can, from crocheted bird seed filled cylinders to more sophisticated inventions that stay put, can be worn while swimming, can be popped in a washing machine, these are testament to the love that parents have for their child. Post puberty there are a range of devices that enable trans guys to stand at a urinal to pee, like every other guy. It helps these boys get through the day feeling a little safer, a little closer to how they see themselves. It does not solve the deep down desire for a penis that can only be achieved by surgery, and not always successful surgery at that.
What Den at TranzWear did was try and help a momma. That’s it. He is one of a few suppliers that a parent could turn to and receive support. A death threat was unwarranted. He has done nothing wrong.
So may I ask a favour? Please spread the word. Spread the word about Den and TranzWear. You may help a young person take a step towards being comfortable with themselves. Spread the word that STPs are cool when you want to pee and you don’t have a penis. Please send anyone who mistakes an STP for a sex toy to me, by the time I have explained the difference they won’t make that mistake again.