On December 23, 2014 I told my kids I was trans with my wife’s support. It was probably one the hardest emotional things I’ve ever done.
They’re five and eight, so I tried to keep the message simple for them.
We had told them the night before that we wanted to have a family meeting, and after breakfast and a bit of free play, we all sat around the kitchen table. I had written out my speech to make sure I didn’t forget anything, and I’m really glad that I did that.
The eldest became very angry and the youngest moderately angry after I finished. The eldest took the paper out of my hands and said, “Here’s what I think of it,” and tried to write “fuck” on it. Being redirected not to, he tore it up into little pieces.
Both of them implored me not to change over and over, with the eldest shouting over and over, “I hate you, and you’ll always be a boy.”
I was prepared for resistance, but the ferocity of it from my eldest really took me aback and made me cry. The youngest moved on pretty quickly to sadness.
The youngest came around fairly quickly, and asked me if I was going to change my name and what I would change it to. I told him that I would but that I hadn’t selected a name yet. I thought that was a good question for someone his age!
We had planned to go out to the Seattle Center after the meeting for ice skating, and my eldest threw a tantrum and wouldn’t go if I was going to go. This made me cry some more. We gave him some time to de-escalate, but it was still a bit of a push to get him to go.
During the trip, they were both asking me about which bathroom I’d use and I had to explain that I’d still use the men’s bathroom for a while. They seemed to have a hard time wrapping their heads around the fact that I’m not going to use the women’s room right away.
Another mine field was having them randomly talking in public about my gender change. I had to explain to them that it was private family business and that while I was happy to answer their questions, I wasn’t going to do it around other people. I also had to tell them that they shouldn’t just go telling people about me.
A bit before and after ice skating, my eldest told me he didn’t want me to change. Most of his fear seems to be centralized around the fact that he doesn’t want to lose his dad.
Later that night, while watching Arthur Christmas, he snuggled up close to me on the couch, actually laying on top of me for a while, and told me he loved me.
That was huge to me.
This is big. This is hard. It will take time for both of them to “get it”.
During the movie, my eldest said something to the effect that he was going to have two moms, and my wife got really angry. She’s adamant she’s the only mom in the family and is super-territorial about that term. I had to nudge him to go tell her that she’s his only mom.
I think this is going to be a larger minefield to navigate in the future.
Part of the reason we did this during winter break was so that my wife and I were around to help answer questions and help them process and so they wouldn’t go blabbing to school the next day. Almost two weeks later now, and they haven’t brought it up in a few days.
While I wouldn’t call it an unqualified success, I’m happy that they seem to have taken it in stride!