Ignorant parents [vent? adv? I don't really know]

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Ignorant parents [vent? adv? I don't really know]

Post by litterature on Wed Dec 09, 2015 4:48 am

A few days ago I casually told my mother over the phone about my pronouns and she just said "oh please" and ignored me, so I didn't push the matter any further, but she came to visit on Monday and she insisted on talking about "transvestites", told me HRT is "suicide", said that any sort of surgery is "deadly" and that trans people "die in the operating room", informed me in a very strong tone that I'll never look androgynous, keep asking painful questions ("what's your plan if you have a job interview?"), told me that wearing a wig "has a name" and that "that name is transvestism", said some random crap about sexual orientations and then tried to pull some clumsy manoeuvres to convince me not to do anything about my gender expres​sion(first "I recommend you not to wear skirts or make-up because they're not ambiguous but female" and then "well you look awesome! you don't have to do anything"), all while claiming to fully support me. I got the impression that for her the most horrifying possibility would be me being a woman, but that she believes everything will be ok since I'm just some weird made-up non-binary thing which she hopes doesn't involve any kind of transition whatsoever.
Then we went for a walk and passed by a group of Jehovah's Witnesses. I told her I know one of them and that he used to be in the same class I was in and she answered "oh wow, now that's a transformation huh? what a transvestite!", so I asked her if she could shut up already and she got really angry at me.

I shouldn't really care because what she said is just stupid and ridiculous, but I'm extremely disappointed and I can't avoid feeling a bit upset and even ashamed, because it's not like I had a lot of self-confidence or hope to begin with. In fact I should be in class right now but I spent like 1 hour in the shower thinking about the things she said and trying not to look at the mirror. I don't know. I want to get along with her but I don't know if there's anything I can do. Well, at least seeing it written down like that it looks sillier and less hurtful...

:<

ps. I'm really sorry I'm always leeching off you people and never contribute anything to the forum. It's just that most of the time I feel like I don't have anything helpful to say!

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Re: Ignorant parents [vent? adv? I don't really know]

Post by BasedBuzzed on Wed Dec 09, 2015 7:23 am

Script that will probably be too long to get out before her getting a word in edgewise: "If you're that concerned about suicide, you're not really helping. I'm sure you can dig up plenty of info and statistics that go against the opinion of experts and science, and that all my sources would be called biased by you. But this is who I am, and I was informing you, not giving you a suggestion on what to call me. Yes, it will be hard, because society is full of folks who behave exactly like you do now, and give me shit over what should be of no concern to them. These folks beat up and kill people like me, deny them respect and opportunities, and give them the blame for all sorts of unrelated problems in this country. Are you going to stand with them, or are you going to support me, because you know I love you and how much it would mean to me. And I don't expect you to do this at once: it will take time, but the first step will be that you respect my pronouns and stop arguing about the validity of my identity. Can you do that, <insert what you used to call your mom when young here>?"

Adjust as you like, repeat it in your head. Credit probably goes to a myriad of self-help columns and Tumblr posts I mashed this together from. What do you have in the way of other support networks, even online? Because I doubt you're the first one to go through this specific experience.

Also, you're not leeching. The forum has entertained people who asked ten times as much help and were stubborn and argumentative about it, and we still helped those out. If there were guilt-trips or emotional vampirism at play, the mods would intervene. You're good.

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Re: Ignorant parents [vent? adv? I don't really know]

Post by reboot on Wed Dec 09, 2015 10:45 am

No worries, you are using the forum exactly as it should be used! I am so sorry about how your mom acted. It may not have been deliberately cruel, but it was still cruel. My advice is now that you have told her about your pronouns, you avoid discussing the topic with her. She is not going to say anything you need to hear. If she misuses pronouns, calmly correct her and shut down any discussion if she tries to argue.

*Hugs if wanted*
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Re: Ignorant parents [vent? adv? I don't really know]

Post by eselle28 on Wed Dec 09, 2015 3:43 pm

You're using this place exactly as it's meant to be used!

As for your mother, I don't think this is a case where reasoning with her is going to get results. I would suggest focusing on actions: she needs to stop making that sort of "transvestite" comment and use the right pronouns. If she doesn't, I think a brief notice that she's not doing the basic minimum needed to hang out with you ("If you can't find something else to talk about, then I can't spend any more time with you today"/"I asked you to use [pronoun] when speaking to me, and I can't have a conversation with you if you use the wrong pronoun") followed by hanging up the phone or leaving to go home is the best course of action. You might not get her to a place where she agrees with you, but I think you may be able to change how she acts if it's clear that being decent about this is a condition that has to be met if she wants to spend time with you.
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Re: Ignorant parents [vent? adv? I don't really know]

Post by kath on Thu Dec 10, 2015 2:52 am

I'm so sorry that your mom behaved that way and isn't giving you the support you need and the respect you are entitled to as a human.

If you would like them, please have some*jedi hugs*

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Re: Ignorant parents [vent? adv? I don't really know]

Post by Werel on Thu Dec 10, 2015 2:46 pm

Cosign that you're a good poster, don't sweat it. Razz

Really sorry your mom is being a jerk. I agree that laying down some basics ("call me this; don't call me this; please absolutely never say X to me") and then avoiding the topic with her altogether might be a good tactic in the short-term; is it possible that she just doesn't know how to interact with any kind of gender identity stuff, and her kneejerk reaction was to be callous and jokey? Is she the sort of person who sucks at being supportive when she's surprised by something, but given time to digest and think about it might come around? If so, you might send her some good reading material (maybe even print and drop off at her house so she's not tempted to send a reply email right away) and re-engage the topic later?

If she's not, and is instead the kind of person who just digs her heels in on her prejudices when called on them, there ain't a damn thing wrong with just avoiding the topic forever and ever, while giving yourself room to deal with all the frustration and sadness and grief of having someone you trusted treat you badly. Hope you feel a bit better after some time and space.
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Re: Ignorant parents [vent? adv? I don't really know]

Post by litterature on Mon Jan 25, 2016 10:06 pm

I'm so sorry I've taken so long to reply! I didn't immediately know what to say, so I decided to wait and see.

I had no way of knowing beforehand because my parents are supposed to be progressive, but in retrospect I think I shouldn't have come out to her at all. She's a very stubborn person and very difficult to argue with, plus she seems to be especially sure of her transphobic ideas. I'm going to go on a tangential rant, but if I had grown up in a different environment I wouldn't have gone through puberty under testosterone - all I did was telling my crush from back then that I wasn't comfortable being a man, to which she replied that she doubted it because my clothes weren't feminine (before asking me whether I enjoyed anal masturbation and then proceeding to tell everyone about it), and since it didn't occur to me that my being uncomfortable might have meant that I was a trans person, that was the end of it for almost 15 years. So if you ever have to take care of a kid, be sure to explain gender to them!

At any rate, I'll follow your advice to avoid the topic! Thanks a lot for your support! :>

ps. my friends are a bit lost sometimes but they accept and support me. i also decided to get back into politics and my comrades have been superwarm and supporting so far, so I think I'll be doing fine!! so far my biggest problems have been dysphoria/frustration with lacking resources to change my presentation, and people's expectations about any sort of unexpected gender expression implying cabaret-style frivolity, but it's ok, so no worries! :>

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Re: Ignorant parents [vent? adv? I don't really know]

Post by litterature on Sat May 07, 2016 5:42 am

As you know, I recently started HRT. I thought that keeping the fact from my parents would be a shitty thing to do since they were going to notice anyway and I really want to get along with them, so what I did was I told my mum that we had to talk about gender but that I was afraid to do so because the last chat we had on the topic hurt a lot. I told her she had a sordid idea of trans people that wasn't necessarily true and that I had been talking to a doctor about the health risks of the whole thing and explained what the effects of HRT are to the best of my ability. It went much better than I expected! She'll be coming over next week so she can see my therapist (who is really awesome :>) I really hope she isn't too worried about it all.

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Re: Ignorant parents [vent? adv? I don't really know]

Post by Werel on Sat May 07, 2016 6:19 am

Hooray! Glad it went better than expected, and hope it keeps on being relatively smooth sailing with your family! Smile
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Re: Ignorant parents [vent? adv? I don't really know]

Post by reboot on Sat May 07, 2016 11:02 am

Fingers crossed it goes well and your therapist can help straighten out your mom's thinking on this matter
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Re: Ignorant parents [vent? adv? I don't really know]

Post by Enail on Sat May 07, 2016 1:02 pm

Oh, that's great! I find your ability to advocate for yourself with your family in a kind, mature and honest way even when they're being hurtful very impressive! I hope things go well with the meeting with the therapist!
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Re: Ignorant parents [vent? adv? I don't really know]

Post by litterature on Thu Jun 02, 2016 4:04 pm

Thank you for your kind words!! I'm really glad I could post about it here : D

I took so long to reply because I didn't really know what to make of the outcome of it all. I think it went as well as it could, and my therapist was really happy, which I guess must be a good sign since she's seen tons of other cases, but there are things that my family still don't understand and that hurts sometimes. I think older cis folks are generally conditioned to have some expectations about what transitioning entails that add some unfortunate dramatic weight to the whole situation and that can make things turn a bit sour sometimes. Right now I'm kinda avoiding the topic.

Bottom line is, I'm transitioning, I'm experiencing some changes that feel mind-blowing, I'm discovering tons of stuff about who I am and what I want, and I think my general happiness and the self-confidence I'm slowly beginning to have will be stronger than any misunderstanding. I have my really horrible dysphoric moments but right now I'm feeling Shiny/thrilled

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Re: Ignorant parents [vent? adv? I don't really know]

Post by Werel on Thu Jun 02, 2016 4:27 pm

Yay litterature!! So glad to hear you're feeling Shiny/thrilled and discovering mind-blowing awesome things! I hope your family keeps coming around, slowly but surely, and that confidence you're building will help you keep handling them levelheadedly and kindly and wisely! Totally rooting for you as you transition.
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Re: Ignorant parents [vent? adv? I don't really know]

Post by Enail on Thu Jun 02, 2016 4:44 pm

That's awesome that things are going so well with transitioning, and I'm glad the family-therapist meeting was on the better side of what you could expect from them, at least Wink Even though they're misunderstanding and being hurtful still right now, it sounds like it shows promise that they'll start to get more of a handle on it and become more accepting and supportive in the future. I'm glad you're also taking a break from that stress by avoiding the topic with them when you need to, though, because being patient and understanding about parents being hurtful and misunderstanding is tough and exhausting!
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Re: Ignorant parents [vent? adv? I don't really know]

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