I am a male-to-female transsexual who underwent surgery last November. Since my transition, my 13-year-old daughter is having some issues with the kids at school. They have started asking her about me on a daily basis. She is very upset about it.
The school social worker says we should move to a new community where they don’t know us because she thinks that it will get worse when my daughter enters high school. What do you think? Should we move?
I would not be so quick to assume this is an issue that can only be solved by leaving town — and I’m giving the social worker demerits for offering such an uncreative, unresourceful, throw-up-your-hands “solution.”
Ask yourself this: Have you given your daughter the emotional tools and communication strategies she needs to weather your transition?
Of course it’s uncomfortable for your daughter to be confronted with questions about your gender, your sexuality and (most likely) your genitalia. Isn’t it understandable, however, that kids would have questions? Kids being genuinely curious is not the same as harassment.
How have you prepared your daughter to answer those questions? It’s likely the questions are not stopping because she is either not answering them, or not answering them sufficiently. Have you helped her practice her responses to intrusive questions? Have you given her permission to talk about you when people ask (or even when they don’t)? Find out exactly what questions they are asking, and brainstorm ways to answer them in matter-of-fact ways.
I imagine it took you a number of years to adjust to the fact that you needed to transition. Allow your daughter and your community some time to adjust to this fact as well. Moving to a new community should only be used as an absolute last resort, especially since it doesn’t guarantee things will be any easier. Unless you and your daughter feel you are facing harassment and discrimination, stay put.
Transitioning is challenging for transparents and their children, but you will get through this. In the meantime, don’t confuse feeling uncomfortable with being victimized.