My Family is Anti-Family

Does that sound weird? I mean, on first listen it makes no sense. Yet according to the fine, pro-family folks at MassResistance, my family is anti-family.

How is this possible? Simple: my family has a transgender child that they love and accept.

My family is so anti-family…

  • they decided to believe in and work with their child as who he is,
  • they have invested in gender counseling and medical treatment that has helped give their child hope for a happy life in his gender,
  • they have worked to be open and honest with other family, friends, and members of their community, and
  • they insist on advocating for their child to participate in life openly as himself.

Further, my family supports anti-family bills in the MA House and the Senate such as H1577 and S735: An Act relative to gender identity and nondiscrimination.  Let’s see what MassResistance says about these anti-family bills:

This bill is a major goal of the LGBT lobby this year. It extends the infamous transgender rights and hate crimes law passed a few years ago to also cover public accommodations – including restrooms, locker rooms, gyms, and anything used by the public. If this passes, men dressed as women can use all womens’ restrooms and locker rooms, and vice versa. This is also being pushed across the country.

Wow, that sounds horrible. Let’s parse this a bit.

  • “…a major goal of the LGBT lobby.”

Eek!  A lobby group!  Much like, you know, MassResistance.

  • “…the infamous transgender rights and hate crimes law…”

Of course.  I mean, when some poor soul gets extra time tacked on to their sentence for savagely beating up a transgender kid trying to use the bathroom, we are all going to H-E-double-hockey-sticks.

  • “…men dressed as women…and vice versa.”

This is the pro-family definition of transgender.  And, hey, they have a picture:

tranny_0251_220

The caption reads “This man came to the public hearing for bill H1589…”   Being pro-family means seeing the transgender woman in this picture as a “man dressed as a woman.”  And isn’t he scary?  I mean, he so wants to use the women’s room, the perv.

I am disappointed that such gutter tactics exist in Massachusetts.  I am worse than distressed that “pro-family” legislation exists – with many sponsors – that seeks to block any progress toward transgender rights and, worse, reverse all the wonderful progress we have made toward reducing the bullying and suicides that have plagued transgender kids.  Apparently, it is “pro-family” to subject non-conforming kids to emotional and physical abuse, to make the only acceptable counseling that which drives them further down the road to self-harm and suicide, to encourage other pro-family people to harass and intimidate vulnerable kids.

Please support the “anti-family” transgender public accommodations bills in the MA House and Senate.  The “pro-family” tactics involve fear of the other.  The people most in need of these bills passing are families with kids.  Walk a mile in their shoes and understand why it is important for MA to complete the picture and make public accommodations safe for transgender kids.

 

The best birthday present of all

It is birthday season here at the Gordon house. Both boys have May birthdays**, so it takes some effort to separate the celebrations.

Our older son, Josh, turned 16 last week. He is threatening to get his permit to drive. I fear the return of insomnia once he gets his license.

Our younger, Eli, turns 14 next week. As Eli says about being 14, “meh.” But he begins high school in the autumn, so there’s that.

The birthday season is marked by the arrival of birthday cards from family and friends. The kids especially love getting cards from their grandparents containing checks and saying “get yourself something you want.”

This year is no different. The kids’ grandparents are still in Florida and sent them their birthday cards as usual. But this time, Eli got a gift worth way more than any check the grandparents enclosed.

The card simply said, “Happy birthday, Grandson.”

The look on Eli’s face was incredible. I have never seen him so happy with anything. We can sit here and talk about how this friend or that family member pledges support and acceptance, but will they come through when it counts?

It had to be really strange for my father and stepmother to pick out a grandson card for Eli, after years of “our granddaughter.” By making the decision to pick out the grandson card, they acknowledged the acceptance. It is real to them and Eli (and us). (I also know that Eli’s Bubbe and Zayde have also gotten a grandson card.)

Eli is smart enough to get this. Words are nice, but actual actions are everything. I salute my father and stepmother, and my mother- and father-in-law, for practicing that level of support. The tiniest things sometimes matter the most.

**No coincidence. We lived in Texas when both pregnancies were planned. Believe me, you don’t want to be pregnant during a Texas summer.

Scouting, Part III: A Scout Is A Scout

See Scouting, Part I and Part II if you haven’t already.

To update our previous posts, we met last night with the Scoutmaster and the senior adult leadership of the Boy Scout Troop to which Eli wishes to belong. While the meeting lasted over an hour, the time we spent talking about Eli’s transgender identity was less than 5 minutes. I continue to register my complete awe and joy at this turn of events.

Essentially, the Scoutmaster reviewed for us the Boy Scout’s recent history with gay Scouts and how the acceptance of gay youth within the ranks last year was a bottom-up process – meaning that there is broad support from the rank-and-file, rather than “acceptance” being imposed from the top down. Although transgender boys are not explicitly mentioned, nobody seems to think that there will be any major, or even minor, hurdles.

The most important support we needed was to come from the District level, which in our case in Northborough is the Knox Trail Council. The topic of Eli was brought up and discussed, and the answer that the Council delivered to our Scoutmaster was, “A Scout is a Scout.”

With those five words, both a radical change and simple common decency have taken over events. Yes, having a transgender boy among the ranks is radical to the Council. It appears this has not been done before, and everyone is stepping into heretofore unknown territory. But…it’s just common decency. Eli is a boy, despite his past. If he values scouting, and wants to work toward its goals, then why not?

Now that the Council is behind us, the rest should fall into place, albeit not automatically. The sponsoring organization, which is a local church, needs to be in the loop. In Northborough, the Protestant churches are generally very liberal in outlook and welcoming of LGBT people. I can’t imagine there is any problem there.

(In a funny salvo, the Scoutmaster mentioned that if there is any problem at all, they could always move meetings to the Unitarian Universalist congregation about 500 feet away. It turns out that the UU congregation had earlier sent a letter to the Troop stating that they would welcome the Troop back – after having kicked it out some years ago – now that the Boy Scouts have become acceptable to them again. I highly doubt there will be any need for this.)

The only thing to worry about in reality is the potential for a few parents who may misunderstand transgenderism to protest initially. Fortunately, though not coincidentally, Eli knows a number of older boys in senior leadership positions in the Troop, as they are close friends of his brother’s. The boys parents know Eli and have expressed support for Eli all along. Still, to counter any surprises, we plan to meet with the senior leadership prior to Eli attending his first meeting as a Scout. Once the leaders stand with Eli, the younger kids and their parents should have no problem. If any do, we will make ourselves available to answer questions. Hopefully, none will act on pure ignorance.

The bulk of the time was spent discussing far more important matters: the upcoming hiking trips, the merit badges, the gear we need to get, the uniform, the ranks – and the fact that Eli still has time to go for Eagle if he works hard enough. Wow. My head is still spinning with all of this. What an adventure!