Congratulations! It’s a (middle-aged) boy!

“Wait … you mean he’s a boy? How am I the last one to know? And, can someone please explain the fish?” Sean Connery as Transman’s pappy. Johnny Depp as Transman with his bad teen-age mustache. Leslie Vanderpool as Sherpa laughing at the delightful awkwardness of the family.

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?”

“And just what is wrong with looking like me?” Orville Redenbacher as Transman’s grandfather.

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.

“I’m gonna need another dozen of these.” Transman’s dad receiving the news he has a 43-year-old bouncing baby boy.

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.

“You’ve brought shame upon the family, Transman. Plus you’re more yellow-bellied than the sun in the sky. You have to walk. Twyla Fay gets to ride.” Transman’s father prepares for the next family reunion/VFW Bingo Night.

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.

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46 responses to “Congratulations! It’s a (middle-aged) boy!

  • Carissa

    One of my favorite ever posts. (Yes; I’m reading them all.) I think that this really works to illustrate the intersection between our deepest fears and our deepest longings. I once heard a social worker say that children who have been abandoned and put into foster care never stop longing for their parents, that children can forgive their parents of almost anything, that their love is endless. We want our parents to love us no matter what. And yet, it’s not just love but approval we need (even if this realization makes you want to hurl or fight or cite examples of it not being true). So, yes. I can see how you need your father’s approval before he goes. Part of you wants him to really see you, this wonderful person you are, this wonderful person you *really* are. XO

  • Alison

    I wish you the wisdom and words when the time is right. x

  • bluebutterfliesandme

    He sounds pretty understanding, Does he need to know about the surgery though? He already knows you express yourself male, as you said you always have. I don’t know maybe just wait and see if he ask?

    • transparentguy

      I’ll take each thing as it happens. I want to tell him because my face and voice are changing enough that other people notice and I don’t want it to be a total shock when I do see him again. And, as Carissa pointed out up above, I would like to be totally comfortable in my own skin around him and let him see me as I truly am instead of always being awkward around him because I’m trying to be something I’m not.

      • bluebutterfliesandme

        I wish you comfort and ease with the conversation. I would be willing to wager that your Dad is very proud of you, and still will be after you tell him. You seem like a great guy, a great parent and a great person.

  • americantransman

    You know my story, so of course you probably can guess that I will suggest that you go for it. If you don’t, you might miss the opportunity to have a relationship with your father in the proper context, as your true self. He loves you, right? But no matter what you decide to do (or not do), I’m wishing you all the best.

  • Becky

    I’m with americantransman on this one. Dad’s are amazing people and if your was always cool about your self-expression, it’s not going to change now. He has only a short time left to get to know all of you. Don’t take that away from him, and don’t deprive yourself of the love and support he can give you.
    I have three sisters and five daughters, I understand the cult of sisterhood, and how difficult it is to swim against the tide when they join together with an opinion. You just have to suck it up and stand on your own against them. They’ll get over it.
    One other note, the more I read of your stuff, especially the recent posts, the harder it becomes to believe that you were ever a girl. You think, react and talk very much like a guy.

    • transparentguy

      Thanks, Becky. You’re probably right about him being more accepting than I’m expecting. I know that no matter how he might feel about something in general, when he has to deal with it one-on-one, he’s more open than I sometimes give him credit for. Plus, I think once I open up to him, it will explain a lot of his unanswered questions about me.

  • free penny press

    Sassie Mae thinks you should go see Dad..I have a very good feeling he will be very open and accepting. Don’t waste time and then have regrets..

  • Fish Out of Water

    I can’t say much more than has already been said. You’ve gotten some great advice here. I can say I understand that need to always have validation from your parents and fearing you won’t get it. It’s so difficult. I wish you the best of luck. Follow your gut, you’ll know what to do.

  • regan5

    Reverse Barbie? That’s about as funny as when someone thought I was gay and I told them “right forest, wrong tree”. :)

  • Madame Weebles

    It’s normal to fear rejection. It’s also pretty normal to want your parents’ approval. But you need to do what will make you feel the most comfortable with yourself. Much luck to you!

  • purplemary54

    I wish I had some words of wisdom to offer about this conversation, but I don’t. I wish you the best of luck. I do get the feeling from your post that a) your father won’t be terribly surprised and b) he’ll love you no matter what.

  • walkwiththerabbi

    I wonder – is it possible he’s “known” for years and is simply waiting for you? A thought. As always, thanks much for the look into your life and heart. By the way, I would invite you to get very quiet and to look into your heart and WAIT for direction. I do it often and am never left “hanging.” I’m looking forward to hearing how you’re “led.”

    • transparentguy

      I do think he knows on some level. When I finished my doctorate, he told me, “You done good lad.” He never uses masculine terms like that or nicknames for my sisters.

      My family is the sort that avoids talking about things that make them uncomfortable or that involve emotions. So, even though he may know or suspect, the challenge is trying to find the right way to start the conversation. So, I will definitely follow your advice to just be quiet and see where that leads.

      As always, thank you for your advice.

    • keepcalmlaxmom

      I agree that your dad knows on some level. I say that you show up and if he wants to know what is going on he will ask. If he wants to be kept in the dark about the details, he won’t ask. If he wants to be in total denial, he will let his brain convince himself that you have serious menopause issues.

      This method will allow him to have control over the subject.

      I feel that the actual concept of your change will not be rejected, because there is unconditional love. But the factors you mention- generation and the lack of practice in talking about emotional things, may just make it nearly impossible to have a dialogue. After all, you are both guys which by definition makes you not good at mushy communication stuff.

      Best of luck Grasshopper.

      And I love Reverse Barbie! You need to copyright that or something!

      • transparentguy

        There are some things involved, though, that make not ever telling him not an option. At some point within the next year, I will likely look and sound very different–different enough that no one will be able to just write it off as hormones gone awry. The other factor is I want to change my name soon so that my ID and legal papers match up to what I look like. He will need to know about the name change. I think I’d rather he find out from me than have it come up in family gossip.

      • walkwiththerabbi

        Thank you for your thoughtful and insightful reflections. This is somewhat like the game of golf – simple – just not easy. Let’s remember our friend together that he’s given DIVINE WISDOM to do and say the right things at the right time. I wish you “enough.”

      • transparentguy

        “After all, you are both guys which by definition makes you not good at mushy communication stuff.”

        You know my father almost as well as I do, so I don’t mean to be harsh with my response to your well-reasoned suggestion. To this day, there are certain things and people he’s in denial about despite very obvious evidence. In many ways it would be easier to wait it out, but I also feel like that would force me to keep my distance and to avoid calling him and things like that just so he won’t pick up on the changes. I don’t want to lose him that way.

  • whoselliot

    Good luck Transman! I found it the hardest to tell my Dad too. All will work it’s self out.

  • Stacie Chadwick

    This post made me kind of happy and sad at the same time. The fact that you’re writing about such an important discussion tells me you’re ready to talk to your dad. Best of luck…. =/

    • transparentguy

      Thanks, Stacie. It is starting to drive me crazy not being able to relax and be myself around him.

      Besides, he has no idea how handsome his son is. He needs to get in on that.

      • Stacie Chadwick

        No doubt. His genes are populating your armpit hair, and that’s a connection no father should be left without. Good luck. Write about talking to him if you can, I’d love to hear how it went. =)

  • Jessica Sideways

    I can really understand your concern, transman. I was rejected by my family, who made it ABUNDANTLY clear in an e-mail after I came out to them at the Houston Hobby Airport (right in front of security, so I could get some “assistance” if they started to act like the LAST two times I came out).

    Apparently, if I am ever to speak to my family again, I’m to “get right with Jesus” and “be the man Christ wanted me to be”. Yeah… not sure how that’ll work now that I’m a post-op transsexual lesbian and a Thelemite to boot. But doesn’t it have that “ransom note” ring to it?

  • trisha1den

    Wow – what a timely post…. i wanted to share I had with my chat with dear old dad — its an interesting story but LONG (and not for the word to share). is there somewhere I can email u? or you can drop me a note a thanks for you inspiring posts :)

  • life with more cowbell

    It’s possible that your dad already knows on some level – but this is a challenging decision, to be sure, and yours to make (not your sibs’). It sounds like it’s something you need to do – and if you don’t tell him, you may be left with a world of regret later. Hate to sound trite, but going with your heart on this one may be the way to go. All the best for whichever path you choose.

  • Eris of Discord

    Hey Transman,

    Well, here we are again. You never stop coming out, it doesn’t matter how much stuff happens or how much you change. It’s different for family and arguably much, much harder. You wouldn’t think it would be, but with strangers, they have no stake in you, really. It’s the List thing. The people on your Us list have known you a long time. They’ve known you one way and you want to tell them you are another. That’s why THAT much is difficult. With strangers they can just accept it (or not) right off the bat, so less ground is lost or destroyed in the process. So here’s what I see from what I’ve read (and I went through the comments too.)

    Your dad is amazing. Already, just by letting you do those things in your childhood, by letting you be you, he’s more tolerant than so many other families out there. I think the comments speak for some of that.

    We’ve established your daddy is awesome. So really what we need to ask next (which you’ve already answered) is what are you afraid of?

    You’re afraid of him never knowing who you truly are, and you’re afraid of him rejecting you totally. Of saying ‘You are not my son, and what is worse, you are wrong.’

    Because I’m verbose and have no true skill at psychology, let’s analyze what that means and break it down piece by piece.

    Is it not written, “In every flaming lie there is a spark of truth”? You show your father a little of that truth every time you talk to him no matter what lie you try to use to cover it. Like all lies, it will come unraveled in time. Even if you wait it out (at least according to MY personal faith, which may or may not hold true for yours) he’ll figure it out nigh instantaneously upon leaving his mortal shell. Ergo, from my perspective, there is no way to hide the truth from him forever, there is no way to avoid this chance of rejection, there is no way to avoid him finding out about you as a person.

    Things you have going for you: You’re his son. He’s known you do the boy things since forever. He’s sharp enough, even, to catch the vibes you throw off and to go along with the names you pick.

    Here’s another thing. You CAN’T stop him from forming his own opinion and keeping that, of you. You can’t stop him, if he feels it in his heart truly and strongly, from thinking of you as his- you know? There’s no way to convince him you’re his son in a foolproof manner. None. People are people and their minds are hard as steel no matter who they are. Accept that his perception of you is different from your own.

    You’re informing him of your own perception of you (read: HOW YOU ACTUALLY ARE AND THE ONLY PERCEPTION THAT SHOULD MATTER) and it’s up to him and only him whether or not he wishes to change his perception to match. He loves you, though, and he always will because you are ultimately his child in his eyes. I don’t even need to know him to feel that bond. I can read it in your words. So it looks like you’re just going to have to trust him, Transman.

    Wow, that’s what it boils down to? Well, you’re in his Us list, if he has one. You’re Family. He’s already partially accepted you. He may just be waiting for you to tell him what’s going on, Transman, and that’s the truth of it. I won’t speak for him. I don’t have the right. But I think it’ll be okay. You’re both awesome people. Awesomeness understands awesomeness, in my experience. Batman gets along with Superman, right? They’re still awesome, aren’t they? Am I out of the loop??

    Good fortune and true understanding smile on you.

    <3s forever,

    • transparentguy

      I really value the time you put into your responses and comments, Eris.

      You raise some great points here about the nature of my fear and the ways in which it is far easier to come out to those we have little history or emotional attachment to than to reveal something so fundamental to our being to those who have known, loved, and nurtured us.

      I also think you’re right about the unravelling of lies. He will find out the truth at some point if he hasn’t already done so. All I’m doing is delaying the inevitable and possibly making it worse by avoiding the conversation that should take place between me and him and not anyone else. He shouldn’t find out through gossip or someone slipping up in front of him. He also shouldn’t find out after I’ve gone through enough physical change that people generally see me as male. He definitely needs to know before I show up with the Grizzly Adams beard.

  • bellejarblog

    I have nominated you for the lovely blog award. See the rules on my page here: ! I love what you do and enjoy your insights.

  • Nikko Quest

    I’ve been in Transman’s shoes, the eventual time came and with it a father cried about losing his oldest daughter…. But as time went on the father came and said that tho he was saddened to lose his daughter, he overjoyed that he now has a son to get to know :) You never know exactly how things may turn out. Avoiding telling him until last only shows that his opinion matters most, tell Transman good luck!

  • Sitting here in limbo « theadventuresoftransman

    […] sat down and wrote his dad a letter to open up the conversation with him. Since his father isn’t a talkative sort and avoids emotions and confrontations at […]

  • Updates, updates « theadventuresoftransman

    […] 4. Transman’s dad still loves him. “I was kind of hoping we could bond in some other way, Dad. Like … fishing. What would have been so bad about a father-son fishing trip?” Harrison Ford and Sean Connery as Transman and Dad. Rate this:Share this:FacebookTwitterEmailPrintDiggRedditStumbleUponPinterestLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. […]

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