All over the country, this is the last weekend of freedom for school-age children. The endless days of summer come to an abrupt halt on Monday, and they will be hauled off to
day prison school. Kids in a neighboring county went back last week, the poor things.
Transman put off enrolling Son 2 in the local school because it was such a bad experience for Son 1. However, Transman can’t afford private school or to move them to a better school district, so he sucked it up and took Son 2 to the elementary school they are zoned for and filled out the paperwork. Even though he put down his legal (read: girl) name, and marked the box that said “mother,” the staff and teachers looking at him called him “sir” most of the time.
This is a clear sign that Transman is being read as male more often than he realizes. So, now the dilemma: how to handle school in a way that has the least negative impact on Son 2?
While his medical history is no one’s business, Transman feels like since his legal name and paperwork still classify him as female, he needs to put that down on forms. But, since he is seen as male, it would be less confusing to most people to just introduce himself by his male name.
Transman doesn’t know if he should disclose his status to the school administration and Son 2’s teacher before classes start so they understand why the paperwork says one thing and Transman’s appearance says another and just cut off questions before they start. Or, is it better to let Son 2 get a couple weeks under his belt so they get to know him and have had time to build a relationship?
The rational side of Transman expects professionalism on the part of the school–he expects the administration and faculty to handle this information the same as they would with any private family matter that might possibly impact what goes on in the classroom.
The paranoid side of him fears many things:
- having his children shunned and rejected
- having someone try to remove his children from their home
- having people who do not understand anything about transgender people challenge Transman’s ability to raise healthy, normal children
- being outed in a conservative area, which might open his family up to harassment or violence
He wants to give the teacher a heads up so that when the kids in the class call Transman Son 2’s daddy, she doesn’t “correct” them and make the situation even more confusing for everyone. (Kids generally look at Transman and see a Daddy instead of a Mommy.)
He also doesn’t want to give children a reason to tease Son 2. If everyone sees Daddy, why say “Mommy” and then give kids ammunition?
Not all of Transman’s fears are related to him being transgender. Most of it is actually wrapped up in good old-fashioned fear that comes with letting go.
Transman knows he is imposing his own memories of how alienating and cold school was; his own offspring might love school and fit right in. He knows he needs to give Son 2 the chance to be like any other kid, but Transman can’t help seeing the more vulnerable parts of his own personality in Son 2.
Transman is afraid the boy will be bullied because he is creative and open and naive–all the things that get kids, especially boys, picked on. He doesn’t want his son to give up on school and learning because other kids home in on those qualities and make him feel bad.
Here is where testosterone steps in. Where old Transman would have given in to those feelings before giving Son 2 a chance to establish his own personality, new Transman is holding back. He will let his son go into the world and make his own way. Transman will be here to support him and help him, but he knows he can’t live life for the lad.
Transman did ask Son 2 whether he would like to break out the grill and cook or whether he wanted to make nachos and rent a movie, and when he did, he felt like a prison warden offering a condemned man his last meal.