Transman’s sisters Sherpa and Daisy (and even Twyla Fay) urged him not to tell the patriarch of the family about his plans to transition.
“The man’s 102 years old and in awful health,” Sherpa reasoned, “why put him through it?”
To be fair, when Transman broke the news to his sisters, most everyone thought Transman’s dad was not going to make it another three months. His sisters thought their father would be hanging around the great honky-tonk in the sky before the testosterone would take effect. But, Transman’s dad is tougher than Chuck Norris, beef jerky, and shoe leather combined. Happily, he is still raising H-E-Double Hockey Sticks right here on the earthly plane. Unhappily, Transman’s starting to look alarmingly like his grandfather–except for the white patent leather belt and shoes.
Transman made the mistake of trying to please his sisters and is now in a weird position: he needs to tell the old man what’s up, plus, try to explain why everyone else seems to know something so life-changing about his child before he does.
Transman isn’t sure why he’s hesitating to tell the old man about transitioning. Honestly, Transman’s dad was always pretty cool when little Transman introduced himself as “Pete,” “Gary,” or whatever boy name he chose at the time. Transman’s dad often went along with it and still calls him “George” or “Henry” half the time. When Transman was little, he never wore girl clothes and insisted on boys’ underwear. He went shirtless in the summer, and in the winter, he wore a jean jacket just like his father’s. Even as a teenager and young adult, Transman dressed like one of the guys.
But, all of that was surface expression. None of it was permanent and none of it actually intervened with the body Transman was born into.
Now that Transman is basically a walking chemistry experiment who is saving up to do a reverse Barbie, it’s a little harder for everyone to think “eh, it’s a phase (a really long phase, granted, but a phase nonetheless).”
As silly as it might seem,Transman is afraid of letting his father down. Transman knows that he was born this way, but his father comes from a generation that tends to believe being anything but straight-out-of-the-box gender is a “lifestyle choice.” (Believe me, if Transman had a choice between being comfortable with his birthday suit and all the social norms that go with it or being trans, he would choose the former.) Transman doesn’t want his father to feel like he’s responsible in some way. Even though Transman no longer feels shame about being transgender, he suspects his father will feel like there’s something to be ashamed of–he takes everything his family does as a direct reflection of himself.
Another problem is that Transman feels awkward about the fact that he has told other family members first, trying to ease into the conversation with his father. Maybe he was a big ole chicken, but Transman needed to practice the coming out speech on his siblings first. He needed to see their reactions before talking to his father. His siblings weren’t terribly surprised by the news. They try to be supportive and they try to use the right pronouns and name, etc. It may be irrational, but Transman fears rejection. As a parent, Transman knows nothing his kids could do would ever make him stop loving them. But, he worries that his father will stop talking to him as a way to avoid having to process this news.
His sisters would like for Transman to keep everything to himself until his father dies, but his father has noticed Transman’s voice changing. Realistically, now that Transman can comb the hair on the backs of his hands, it might be a little hard to avoid telling him. What is Transman supposed to do? Never go home again and claim that he has year-round seasonal allergies to account for his cracking and deepening voice?
It’s strange how we never stop being children seeking our parents’ approval.