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jester

support without understanding

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jester

had a difficult conversation with my mom the other night, and it's been playing on my mind. sorry if this gets a little maudlin.

 

i came out to her a year and a half ago, and she didn't understand at first but came around a few months later. she usually tries to refer to me with masculine or neutral language/pronouns, which i really appreciate, and we've always talked a lot about feminism and politics and all that social justice stuff, and from the conversations we've had i kind of thought she was totally on board and understood it all.

 

i've started opening up about my dysphoria a little more, and talking with her about how to tell my sister. the other night, we were just talking about that, and mom started talking about how if transition was what i needed to be happy, then i should do it. it was a lot of - people should be able to do what they want, damn the consequences, and the people around them can like it or lump it. which is... all good stuff, right? it's definitely supportive. but i felt like i'd lost something.

 

she talked about how upset my dad would be about not having any daughters anymore (he has three cis sons with a different partner), then how vulnerable my sister is, and mentioned that at least we'd still have the shared experience of growing up female. i felt awful - i think i have much more in common with my sister than being DFAB, and would be just as capable of empathising and caring about her with HRT as i am without. i asked if she thought it would be selfish of me to transition, and her exact words were - "no, i think we can still be happy".

 

i don't know. i thought she understood. it feels like she's thinking of it as a lifestyle or aesthetic choice i'm making, while at the same time implying that none of the people i'm closest to will understand or relate to me anymore. like she'll support me, but she still thinks i'm throwing a spanner in the works for no good reason. the idea that i would disregard or not care about how it affects the people around me is laughably antithetical to my entire personality and worldview. and it's not about what i need to be "happy" - it's about needing to be whole and complete, to feel like i'm living a life, not slogging through and waiting for the end. it's more like what i need to be okay.

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VickySGV

It will be nearly impossible for people who are not Trans to fully understand us.  Said the other way though, you will not be close to understanding how it is to be Cis gender.  That is always a starting point for me when I find myself asked to bridge the gap between myself and Cis people.  We cannot fully understand the other side.  Playing at being Cis was just that, playing a part we could not fully grasp, even if we made a good show of it.  There is a "Ick Factor" though for a Cis person to play a Trans person role that will not allow them to be as good as we were playing Cis roles.  In time when that Ick Factor has died, there will be a chance to bridge the gap in a better way.

 

For your sister, there is a beautiful potential from a different source.  If you have ever seen 3D images you wonder how that can be done, but the answer is the same object (event) is photographed from several different angles and then put together in sharper detail.  Your slightly different view will make the memories and experiences all the more realistic and three dimensional than they would be if you thought exactly the same.

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jester

yes i think you're right :( i don't know, i wish cis people could get excited about the person i'm going to be rather than focusing on all the negatives. beautifully said about different perspectives though :) thank you 🧡

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VickySGV
7 hours ago, jester said:

i wish cis people could get excited about the person i'm going to be rather than focusing on all the negatives.

 

One of the things I have learned from medical researchers  is that at about 4 years old, Cis and Trans children both find their gender identity in their own minds and hearts and both types try to tell their parents what they have found about themselves.  For a Cis child, when they tell their parents it is an "oh yeah, you are <gender> now go and leave me alone.  A Trans child telling their parents very likely will be told "stop that foolishness and don't every say that again" (at the least, and sometimes it is a violent response).  You don't CELEBRATE either the Cis child's nor the Trans child's gender identity discovery even though it is a really big thing.  We have some work to do, don't we, to help get that changed.  We see it, Cis people do not. 

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jester

oh wow - i can't wait until celebrating is the norm!

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Suzanne1

Well, reacting to the thread title----Support w/o Understanding.

 

Many decades ago, when I was still in high school, pondering socio-political issues, I determined that it was difficult enough to get folks to do the "right thing", w/o insisting that it be done for the "right reasons."  Ideological purity is not a necessary prerequisite to achieving a desired goal; in fact, it may be a handicap.

 

Personally, I'd be happy w/ the support (unconditional positive regard?).  I don't think I would reject said support because the supporter(s) did not (or could not) fully understand.  

 

Again, just my 2-cents worth, and that doesn't buy much of anything these day.

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