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And now ladies and gentlemen, a word from Jeremy

Before I start, I just want to let you all know that my heart goes out to those fellow trans* men, women, and people, who have no family to go home to these holidays, due to misunderstandings and unfortunate losses. I know it is difficult to live the life you have wanted to live when the people you thought would love you no matter what have decided that you are no longer deserving of their love for the way you dress and the name you choose. This family, my family, love you no matter who you are, what name, gender or clothes you have. We are here, and we will always welcome those in need. ūüôā

I realise that throughout the course of 2013 my mother has been expressing to you all my journey as a young transgender man. I thought that now was a good time to give a little personal update from the trans* man himself! I wanted to thank you all for the online support that has been given to me. For the most part though, I wanted to thank my beloved mother. I know that having a child trying to find themselves in the realms of gender and sexuality would be so very difficult. I have tried my hardest to show my immense appreciation for her strength and continuous love and care for me. There are days that go by that aren’t so great, in which I see her doubt her ability to raise children. When she doubts herself, she doesn’t know how much further away from the truth she could be. This amazing woman has raised two awesome children (especially the youngest). She has taught us amazing life lessons and shown us that humility, modesty, and care for others, are just some of the things that make a great human being. I know that without her, without this amazing, wonderful, and not to mention beautiful mother, I would not be so confident to express myself, not to mention my transition would be hideously delayed.

I don’t think that Mum sees the wonderful lives that she has gifted to my brother and I. Luke and I are seen in our respective communities as mature and thoughtful young adults, with conscientious hearts and a raging loyalty to those who show similar views to our own. All in all, I really just want to show you all how much this woman has done for her family. She has cared for us, given us a roof over our head, food in our stomachs, and clothes on our backs. I love her with all my heart, and with the upcoming year, I wish you, Mum, and everyone reading this, a happy and safe holiday season and new year.

I want you to go out into the world, express yourself, and show everyone who you are. You are a wonderful and beautiful individual, and you only have this life to show the world who you are. We are an ever-expanding community of love and acceptance, so why hide your individuality?

So please, have a happy 2014, this is a whole new year just waiting for you.

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Being a parent means you usually have to share the treats

Right here, right now:

  • I provide a beautiful home for my children that is also a stable environment
  • I have the means to pay for doctor’s bill and prescriptions for Jeremy
  • My bills are paid (mostly)
  • I live in a wonderful city where I can drive past water and see the swans

Some days you need to remind yourself about the little things that mean you are travelling ok.

This last weekend has been a family one; a trip to the markets, Saturday night dinner making Jeremy’s dinner of choice, a trip to Footscray for brunch then onto Bunnings on Sunday, lots of time spent together. ¬†In the car during conversations about upcoming celebrations, my 45th birthday & Jeremy’s 18th, my beloved and I were joking how we would get married when we are 50 and I invited Jeremy along for the festivities. “Well thank¬†you¬†for inviting me to¬†your¬†wedding”. ¬†“Of course kitten” I replied, “I hope you will give me away”. ¬†We shared a smirk, my youngest son and I.

Because here is the deal Рthis blog is about parenting and my child happens to be transgender, which adds a touch of the complex on occasion to general parenting.  This child has another parent, one who apparently got married this year.  I have spoken about his engagement, but only recently found out about the wedding.  There has been a touch of furor about the wedding that had no family invited.  

So what is the big deal? ¬†This person has recently reached out to Jeremy and stated that he wants to “father” Jeremy. ¬†He has the right to ask, 50% of the genetic material of this child has come from him.¬†Parents should not be martyrs, they need down time and their own bars of chocolate that are sacred. ¬†They share sandwiches, kisses, beds, the contents of wallets, opinions and what is for dinner. ¬†Parents lives are intertwined with their children’s. ¬†There are times when you are challenged by your child and times when your actions challenge your child, anyone who has tried to put an over tired three year old to bed will agree with this. ¬†Even when your child does not live with you there is still a level of consultation and inclusion appropriate to their age. ¬†¬†

Most parents aren’t faced with the task of discussing marriage with a child, but a surprising number do like the joking conversation that was had with Jeremy. ¬†Jeremy trusts that when I remarry and / or re-partner I will seek his support because he is my family and if my partner is someone he isn’t comfortable with then that is too high a price for me to pay. Because I am in this for the long haul, ¬†I am trusting Jeremy to pick my retirement home.

So there is a reasonable expectation when you are fifteen or sixteen that a parent will have a chat with you about a life changing event that impacts on them, raising topics in weekly phone calls, using that time to explore any areas of conflict prior to the precious few days that you get to spend together. ¬† When that doesn’t happen when you are on the cusp of “adulthood”, whatever the reason, there is a lot of work to be done to build a bridge back to open communication.

I stumbled onto the other niggling point of this issue by accident when reading the other day. ¬†I have been re-reading “Committed” by Liz Gilbert, a book where she explores the topic of marriage. ¬†In the last chapter she says;¬†“Marriage is not an act of private prayer. ¬†Instead it is both a public and private concern, with real world consequences. ¬†While the intimate terms of our relationship would always belong solely to Felipe and me, it was important to remember that a small share of our marriage would¬†always¬†belong to our families as well – to all those people who would be most seriously affected by our¬†success¬†or our failure”. ¬†There are many reasons to privately celebrate the union between two people, regardless of religion, race or gender. ¬†But no man is an island and so logically no two people are an island, fully self sufficient. ¬†This becomes even more so for couples who are marrying for a second time with children involved, the event itself becomes more like an international negotiation with demarcation lines, neutral zones and plans of attack. In this instance it seems that the couple in question have shut out those on whom they will rely most for support in the future, parents, families and a child. ¬†Appearances can be deceiving though, I can only speak as an outsider looking on from afar.

So it has been a tumultuous few weeks for Jeremy in the fathering arena during a year when he asked for space. ¬†I am proud of how he has managed communication to date and I will stand by him as he reaches back, I won’t let his hand go until he’s ready.

 

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Going back to the drawing board, or “Mum, my psychiatrist says you need to talk to someone”

Last week at the end of a day of back to back meetings, after a night of broken sleep because of Jeremy’s coughing, I dashed from Box Hill to the RCH for Jeremy’s second appointment with the psychiatrist. ¬†Due there at 4 I was already half an hour late, brain dead, hungry having missed lunch, and walked zombie like into the hospital. ¬†I grabbed a snack and put my head down on a table, aching for sleep.

Some days are harder than others.

I was about to get into the lift to go to the specialist clinic when Jeremy got out of the lift, 20 minutes before his session was due to end. ¬† He had his usual “I am at war with the world” scowl that I have learned is his defence face. ¬†We sat, talked about his session and Jeremy told me that the next session would be for me with the psychiatrist, apparently I need to talk to someone. ¬†I won’t deny that it is a good idea, but an hour with my child’s mental health professional may not be the best solution to this particular problem. ¬†The message I took away from that is that Jeremy is worried and that I am obviously on edge more than normal. ¬†Message taken on board son.

Jeremy also said that he said to his psychiatrist that if he could he would start his stage two hormone therapy as soon as possible. ¬†I know my reaction was less than positive, my head went straight to the court action that would need to be taken, the latest whinging e-mail from Jeremy’s father which failed to ask a single question about Jeremy’s welfare, and that not so long ago this kid told me that he wanted to wait until after VCE. ¬†Tired momma doesn’t cope with back trackers. ¬†Jeremy just said “Mum, this is IF it was just me to consider, not in the real world”.

I am never sure if my negative reactions are a sign of normal parenting or just that I am not as resilient as I should be. ¬†I want to be open and supportive but I love a stable goal post. ¬†J Dawg just ain’t the stable goal post kind of offspring. ¬†So I worry, was this his way of opening up, now he’ll retreat back into his shell and something that he wants is now unable to be articulated. ¬†I see so many scars from a past that seemed so happy but was full of an adult’s inability to love his child like a parent should. ¬†A parent who saw his child as an extension of himself and delighted in the mirrored traits, unable to cope with the individual as a whole. ¬†A child who yearned for approval from a father who would pop in and out of our lives due to the nature of his work and learned what had to be done to get that approval, be sporty, listen to whatever daddy says, be interested in whatever new interest daddy has. ¬†It was going to end poorly at some stage. ¬†I have an ever awareness that despite my love Jeremy still has these patterns of behavior, not wanting to upset and especially not wanting to upset me because I am his stability. ¬†It is an unenviable position on occasion.

Onto Monday where we went to school for a much delayed appointment with the guidance counsellor.  J and I (still sick) coughed our way through an hour long conversation of options and decisions.  We came away with many ideas for Jeremy for year 11 and 12 and I made the following stand: My preference is for Jeremy to finish year 12 with an ATAR so that he can attend University.

Jeremy does not have to go to Uni but I am not doing the right thing if I don’t make every attempt to get him to a point where he can go if he chooses to.

Jeremy disclosed that he doesn’t want to be a psychologist any more. ¬†He talked about doing hospitality so he could get a job. I keep having the idea floated that he could do a baking apprenticeship. As an adult he has no idea how disparate these ideas are and how he shows no real inclination, no vocation for any of this. ¬†My point remained that as a responsible parent I have to be open to all ideas and options. ¬†If Jeremy spent all his time in the kitchen ¬†experimenting with dishes, showing interest in baking cupcakes or developing curries, I would support his idea of finishing via VCAL. Jeremy can cook resentment into his pasta sauce, this is not his passion or his talent. ¬†We discussed though that it is still open to Jeremy through the VCE program to do a certificate in hospitality if he chooses. ¬†He can be the best qualified dish pig working his way through Uni as he realises that he has the talent to do what ever he damn well chooses.

Having looked at the Victorian College of the Arts and RMIT I think we have consensus that the VCE program at RMIT may be the solution that we are looking for – an older demographic of student in a Uni atmosphere should be the non judgmental environment that will give Jeremy some relief from the “douche” factor he is facing at “normal” school. With school holidays around the corner Jeremy is going to check it out. ¬†I nurse a little sorrow that he will probably not have a formal but hey, he has so many other rights of passage in his own social group that I shouldn’t sweat the lack of renting a tux and a stretch Hummer. ¬†In the long term the real goal is to have all the tools to be able to follow any dream that he chooses, when he is old enough to define his dream. ¬†Because this kid shows all the signs of being able to be at the top of whatever field he does finally settle on – the looks, talent and personality are a winning combination.

The ever shifting sands of Jeremy, maybe he could be a soap opera writer?

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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