I like to think of myself as extremely broad-minded. Sometimes I wonder what my kids (the ones I will eventually have with The Girl) could do that would make them afraid of coming to me for acceptance.
Intercaste marriage? No big deal.
Interracial marriage? No big deal.
Same sex marriage? No big deal.
Wanting a sex change? Hmmm….
One of my colleagues, D, has a child who is undergoing a male to female sex change. D is very open about his son’s choices and lifestyle – which is what made me admire him and then in turn question my own acceptance.
I realised with a shock that, actually, if my child came to me and said they wanted a sex change I would be really really upset. I would still support my child, but I’d be very uncomfortable with the whole thing. What would I tell people? How would I face the world? I justified this terrible prejudice by telling myself that wanting a sex change was a choice. Can you believe it? Me? Isn’t this how gaysi’s are treated? Told that their sexual orientation is a preference, a choice and not something they’re born with.
I couldn’t believe that after choosing a relatively scandalous life for myself – divorcing my ex & then hooking up with a woman (not necessarily in that order! ahem.) I would want my child to live a life that was straightforward & controversy-free. Shame on me.
I remember watching a BBC documentary on the underground transsexual scene in India. The documentary featured a couple of well to do guys from somewhere in South India who left a life of comfort & security and went through tremendous hardship to collect money for a sex change. They were ostracized by their families. They had to lie about their sex to their employers and their landlords. They had to constantly worry about being arrested or harrassed by the police. Watching this documentary convinces you that nobody would willingly “choose” this lifestyle.
And yet, even though my head knows this, I still have to grapple with my prejudice. I am at a much better place now but I still have a lot of work ahead. Just to be clear, I have no problem with people who are transsexual. It’s when it comes to my own child wanting to change their sex, that I irrationally get all squirmish and uncomfortable. Just like my parents. I know they would be fine with my friends being gay, it’s when it comes to me being gay that they will probably have a problem.
For someone who strives to take pride in her identity, I sure have a lot of prejudice with the identity of a section of another minority. I hate this and I am working to overcome it and recognise that I have a lot of growing up to do.
So I ask all of you reading this, whether you’re gay or not – how would you feel if:
a) your child came out to you as gay
b) your child told you they wanted to have a sex change.
Maybe your answers will surprise you.
Crossposted at www.broombox.com