My daughter is a trans child, she said so. Her school agreed. Her gender support group agrees. Her university friends are so proud to agreed. Her gay boyfriend agreed. The parents, who gave me a dirty look when I picked her up from a party at their house and asked for her by her name, they agree.
I cannot claim credit for what follows, we may just have been lucky, her mother is an incredible woman whose skills of persuasion are way more subtle than mine. But we have gone against her wishes.
If we had been fully supportive of her trans journey, of the narrative that she was born in the wrong body, which caused her gender dysphoria and that needed to be treated by transition. If we had been supportive and affirming, she could have no breasts, have had a curtailed puberty, and have been on Testosterone for two years. She would have no one in her life, holding to the truth that she was a girl, is a woman.
I protected my daughter from puberty blockers, a range of drugs that were developed to treat prostate cancer in middle aged blokes. That have never been tested on children. Drugs that are claimed to be reversible, but they are only now starting to test on animals in puberty, And they are finding that they reduce IQ by 8 points https://www.transgendertrend.com/puberty-blockers-safe/
I protected my daughter from having a double mastectomy, with the possibility of infection, phantom pain, nipples dropping off and its damn permeance.
I protected my daughter from starting to take testosterone, in quantities that are orders of magnitude larger than ever found naturally in women. As well as the effects that she sought, the body and facial hair, the different body fat distribution, the voice changes. All changes that are not fully reversible after a few years. She is not facing vaginal atrophy or post orgasm cramps, so painful and so long lasting, that pleasurable sex is not possible. https://www.transgendertrend.com/severe-pain-orgasm-effect-testosterone-female-body https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=3QMaJdXSmHg
I protected my daughter from having everyone in her life, collaborating in the lie, that she believed, that she was a boy trapped in a girl’s body. https://medium.com/@otherevenings/out-of-place-and-time-f3ec11823511 I protected her from only being other people pet transman to show of with.
My body was an object for public consumption, and I frequently had male friends engage me in ever more explicit conversations about sex (because we were both ‘dudes’ of course, and none of them had any nefarious interest in hearing me talk about lesbian sex). I felt validated by this acceptance into the male realm, but I was often left, skin prickly with embarrassment, feeling as if I had said too much — which of course I always had. Meanwhile, out in the world of safe spaces, I disgusted by people’s constant ‘inclusive’ references to my body. I couldn’t bear talk of ‘men have periods too’ and I certainly didn’t want to have attention specifically drawn to me over it, as it did every time the phrase came up.
I will not allow my relationship with her to be centred around gender, about what she looks like, around what other people think she looks like. So that when she comes home, she is my daughter, my wonderful, brave, stroppy, weird daughter, who rarely brushes her hair, but still looks like Audrey Hepburn. We go and do the things we have always done, a proud dad and his, now grown up, daughter. She’s learning things at Uni that I barely grasp, she has a grace and style that is fantastic. So, she comes home and can just be a girl, slob around the house in a tee shirt, chat about periods and how shit men are with her mum and sister. For those few weeks between terms, in our house gender is small and it is in the background.
People ask how my daughter is doing. All I can really say is that things are calm. She spends term time with a different name and as far as I know pronouns. I can’t ask, because asking demands an answer and answers will close down possibilities. If I close down possibilities trans will win. That’s the reality of having her peers, her Uni, the BBC, the liberal press, all political parties, liberal feminism, the music and fashion businesses against me.
I think the hold that trans has is fading, I’m sure that seeing Martina Navratilova up against McKinnon will make her wonder. I’m sure the whole thing is a bit of a drag now, but I also know that it would be awkward and embarrassing for her to change her name back at Uni.