My alarm clock is one or two fussing infants. Some mornings come too soon and I get going unsure if I’ll manage to remain awake until their nap. That’s when I marvel that with underwear and glasses on, I can at least manage the 1st diaper change of the day, possibly even their breakfast before I get to my bladder. Underpants and vision correction are all I need to start the day. This banal fact made possible from being at home in my skin. It’s been true for a few years already, yet that bloody brilliant feeling has not gotten old.
Every time one of them stares intently at one of my scars, often grabbing it in efforts to understand the unusual texture, I’m reminded of why I’ve worked towards letting go control in deciding if/when to disclose. In due time, I’ll share my medical history with them (in an age appropriate way) and understand that in turn, probably at the least convenient times and places, they’ll share it without considering my safety or feelings.
[Photo by Varshesh Joshi on Unsplash. Description: a family of 3 monkeys in black and white. 1 is a young monkey asleep while leaning against the chest of an older monkey. A 3rd monkey is resting its head on the older monkey’s shoulder.]
I have trans parent friends who don’t disclose to their kids. None of my niblings and godchildren know about me. I know it’s possible to skip disclosure, and for some people it’s the better way to go. The aforementioned younger relatives may never know about me, neither their parents or I have discussed it. But I grew up in a nuclear family that didn’t discuss health and it’s not the dynamic for me when it’ll be time for an implant replacement. I want my kids to know the stories behind my scars, chosen family, my contributions to advocacy, the context to the strained relationship with my parents of origin, so on. Things from my day-to-day life that I consider relevant to anyone with whom I build and share a home.
[Photo by Ben White on Unsplash. Description: a young white child with blond hair dressed in a pink shirt and gray vest is holding a book open, while looking shocked with wide open eyes and mouth.]
At this stage, I’m okay when a friend, relative, jerk or advocacy work discloses me. It’ll never be my preference and I’m not giving permission to do it; but it doesn’t fill me with anger or distress like before. To be clear, in most situations (advocacy is the main exception), I consider it a form of sexual harassment, because the most common question that follows upon learning of my transition centres on my genitals. Effectively people grant themselves investment in the contents of underwear immediately upon disclosure. Ewe. Some disclosers take that a step further by adding my surgical status as part of the disclosure. Double ewe. But as long as I know who knows, I’m not too phased. I’m blunt about framing it as sexual harassment or otherwise inappropriate when someone expresses something along the lines of “it’s so refreshing to meet a trans person ‘like you’ (re: post-transition) who’s ‘open’ about it.” Don’t go throwing non disclosure under the bus. I don’t disclose in all aspects of my life, and I fully support those who don’t disclose outside of their prescribing physician and select (perhaps strictly virtual) trans friends. Also, Captain Obvious, I know it was a disclosure and not an outting. It disturbs me when someone grades my appearance, judges how I relate to my medical history or my health decisions. It’s not for others to be invested in those things, how inappropriate.
[Photo by Ryan Franco on Unsplash. Description: a baby, probably of south-east asian descent, is sitting on a picnic blanket in a park. The baby has a huge frown.]
It’s finding out someone I didn’t think knew was told that annoys me. But still, I manage. And that’s where I wanted to be before becoming a parent. Phew. Go me!
[banner image is original photography of islands off the coast of Te Whanganui-A-Hei (Cathedral cove), Aetearoa. Description: bright sunlight shining on lush greenery in the fore, glorious sea around a few small islands in the middle, hills in the background and a few small clouds on the right side up in the sky.]