Recently Kam blogged about living stealth and compared it to video gaming. I’d like to share my thoughts on “living stealth” as a parent with a transgender child.
Our journey has become easier over time. It definitely did not start that way. As you might imagine, it is very difficult to start calling your child by a different name after however many years. Then you have to use different pronouns when talking to or about your child. When seeing old friends or family members you haven’t seen a long time, it’s very difficult to spit the pronouns out. When I meet someone for the first time, it’s a little easier because they have no idea that at birth, my, now son was my daughter. I’ve learned that It’s ok to wait for the right time for the “conversation” if you will. I have found that sometimes I don’t even have to have the “conversation.”
When I’m “living stealth” I’m talking to someone that doesn’t know Kam’s journey, and I’m using he/him/his pronouns, but I feel like I’m lying to the person. It’s like in my mind I’m saying she/her “oh yes I have a daughter but now my daughter is my son.” I feel like I’m “covering up” something. I have also felt that in the beginning when I wasn’t sure what to say I’d fumble with words and feel like a fool. I wanted to be faithful to my son and use his name change and correct pronouns because that’s what he wanted. It was hard. I mean when someone asks you about your child or if you have children, the words should just flow and I felt like I couldn’t find the words. People would look at me like, “well do you or do you not have kids?” It’s not a multiple choice question.
There are people in my life now that only know Kam as Kam. I wonder, will I be judged as a parent? Will my child be seen as a freak? I remember feeling like I needed to find a reason as to why this journey began.Why us? Why my child? How will I face family, friends, or anyone for that matter? I wanted to pretend this wasn’t happening. Then the conversation of taking ‘T’ (a fancy way of saying testosterone) came along. My husband and I were not on board with it right away. We knew we would have to get over the “living stealth” feeling quickly. Kam’s physical appearance changed what it seemed like overnight to me. I was sad. We knew people were going to notice the physical differences in Kam. There was no hiding or waiting on our part. And we didn’t want to hide. Once we knew Kam was in it to win it, so were we.
It’s been about two years now for us. He is very happy. That is what is important to us.