When my partner transitioned genders, our daughters were understanding. It was the adults around us asking weird questions.
- After 11 years together, my husband came out as
transand is now my wife.
- Our children accepted her transition while adults around us asked uncomfortable questions.
When my husband came out as trans and became my wife, friends and family had a lot of questions. I was hoping they would ask more about how our lives were changing.
When we took my 9-year-old out to brunch to tell her, she listened, absorbing everything with her soulful green eyes. Her only question was, "Can we get the banana-chocolate pancakes?"
My 81-year-old uncle — now one of our most supportive family members — was initially quite concerned about how Stefanie would present herself. "Is she going to wear dresses every day, and be a woman all the time?"
To which I answered, "I don't wear dresses every day, but I'm a woman 'all the time.'"
When my uncle first saw Stefanie's glam selfies on social media, he was incredulous. "Is this fact or fiction?" he asked me.
I understand but also wish people would be more accepting of change
I can understand why it takes time to absorb such a big change, but I wish people didn't fixate so much on what was "real." Don't we cisgender women also alter our appearances artificially through hair dye, cosmetics, and other secret tricks, and no one questions those things?
Transition isn't just on the outside. It's as magical as a butterfly's metamorphosis. There is beauty in transformation. Children already get that.
Over the past 30 years, and especially during this past decade, the meaning of transition has evolved within trans and nonbinary communities. "Informed consent philosophies of care, developed at LGBTQ+
Some trans people take hormones and undergo surgeries if these resources are available to them and they choose those paths. Others transition completely through clothing, pronouns, and living in the world as their true gender — whatever that means to the individual.
Our kids have more questions about my body than my wife's
My children accepted my wife's authenticity from the start. They have asked more probing questions about my body than my wife's. Once, my older child asked, "Mama, why do you still have a big tummy if there's no baby in there anymore?"
These kinds of questions make us laugh when the interviewer is 6. It's cringeworthy when an adult asks a trans person personal questions.
Most friends and family direct questions to me rather than to Stefanie, which is good. I'm an educator who's passionate about learning; I believe it's never too late to learn something new. An adult might be brand-new to the world of trans people, the way a 6-year-old is new to everything. That's OK. I write articles so we can all understand transitioning better, and so our culture can move on to more interesting, nuanced conversations about it.
A trans woman's body — no matter how she chooses to live — is absolutely a woman's body, real and beautiful. But the most amazing part of Stefanie's metamorphosis has happened from within.
When my kids and I shop for beads, bangles, and purple polka-dotted dresses, we are not helping Stefanie become a woman. We're helping her express who she has always been. And my wife is the most real woman I know.
Jess deCourcy Hinds is a writer in Queens, NY. Her free quarterly newsletter is I'm an Open Book: On Love, Libraries and Life-Building.
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