Hop against Homophobia and Transphobia

So, today is International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia http://dayagainsthomophobia.org/ and to mark the day lots of people around the web are taking part in the (blog) Hop against Homophobia and Transphobia.

hop

I was amused in a slightly sad and bitter way to find that the instructions that came with participation in this event refer to it as the Hop against Homophobia, and in the ‘what to include’ section offers the advice to ‘give your message on homophobia’ and ‘do whatever else you feel like: link to sites you’re familiar with that focus on fighting homophobia’. Look at that URL again if you don’t believe me.

I’m all for blogging against homophobia, but it’s a sad reflection of society’s priorities that even the ‘how to’ section of the ‘hop against homophobia and transphobia’ forgets to mention the possibility that you might want to blog about transphobia instead.

As the mother of a transgender child, I’m very aware of how the world is stacked against him. It was OK when he was pre-puberty and everyone assumed he was a boy anyway, but puberty heralded bullying and withdrawal and endlessly having to think up reasons why he couldn’t go swimming without a wetsuit, why he couldn’t do PE at school (where he would be forced to use the girls’ changing rooms,) why he couldn’t go into toilets when he was outside the house, leading to him giving up drinking altogether, etc.

They’re all little things, I know. Little things attended with massive existential anxiety. Little things attended with society’s constant incomprehension that there’s even a problem – its attempts to push the blame on him for being difficult. I’m not even mentioning the statistics on self-harm and suicide among transgendered children, although as a mother I live in fear for him. And I’m not even mentioning my continuing fear that he will be targeted for transphobic violence or even murdered, as happens to so many transgender people.

But I am thinking, damn, it’s hard when the very movement that’s apparently set up to raise awareness of this decides he doesn’t exist, or that his problems are not worth talking about.

So, rather than get all angry, I’ll use this opportunity to big up the Tavistock and Portland Clinic, who are doing something constructive:

http://www.tavistockandportman.nhs.uk/GIDSresearch

and the NHS which has so far been more understanding and more helpful – and more willing to believe him – than I had ever been led to believe.

~

In accordance with the blog-hop instructions I’ll be offering a book to a random commenter, so check back in a few days to see if your name came up and if you need to tell me where to send it.

Also, since this is a sensitive subject that can easily devolve into arguments in which real-life people get hurt, I will be strictly monitoring and controlling the comments. In contrast to my usual behaviour on my blog, I’m not interested in an intellectual debate about this. I have done the debate already and I’ve come down on the side of believing my son.

~

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50 Comments on "Hop against Homophobia and Transphobia"

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Suze
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Your comments about your son’s struggles with PE etc really bringhome how many daily obstacles are in the way of transgendered people. Glad to hear the NHS are supporting you both.

laurie g
Guest

thank you so much for the wonderful post. and i am sure your son is so happy to have you on his side. my mom use to baby sit a boy who was gay and he was very effeminate and had a hard time growing up. he is now a happy relationship but my heart always breaks at what he had to go thru.

parisfan_ca@yahoo.com

KimberlyFDR
Guest

Thank you for taking part in the hop!

kimberlyFDR@yahoo.com

HJ
Guest
I’m delighted and relieved to hear that the NHS has been understanding and helpful. The study being carried out by the Tavistock and Portland Clinic looks very interesting – both because of the acceptance that a young person just approaching puberty can know what gender they really are, and because I’ve wondered before whether it wouldn’t be better for transgender people to be able to avoid having to take hormones in their twenties. Surely it would be better psychologically not to have one’s body change into something even more alien to one’s gender identity? I’m delighted that someone is studying… Read more »
Sophia Rose
Guest

Hi Alex!

I won’t pretend to understand what it has been like for your son and others in his shoes and the families who support them, but I’d like to think I’m a compassionate and understanding sort. I’m glad for your reminder.

sophiarose1816 at gmail dot com

Trix
Guest

It seems that trans* concerns so often get pushed under the rug…great post!

vitajex(at)aol(dot)com

E.E. Ottoman
Guest

thank you for writing transphobia! I’ve noticed very few other people in the hop have been talking about it. I’m so glad your son has the support of his family during his ongoing transition.

Charley Descoteaux
Guest
Hi Alex! A few years ago I was talking with a nice young guy at Pride (can’t remember what org he was with), and he asked if it was okay to hug me–and then he thanked me for loving my daughter and sticking by her. Right now I know exactly how he felt. My daughter is trans and I never considered NOT sticking by her, so at the time I accepted the hug but didn’t quite understand what he must’ve been feeling during our conversation. Thanks for your post. It means a lot to hear from another mom who gets… Read more »
Issa
Guest

How lucky your son is to have such a supportive mom!

cojazzchick AT yahoo DOT com

Xakara
Guest
I’m so sorry for what your son has gone through and continues to go through. As a genderfluid child, it was difficult trying to figure out why I was different and why there wasn’t a place for me. I’m lucky, in that I’m at peace with being female-bodied and I don’t feel it takes from being male as well, but it was a hard earned path. Wherever your son’s journey takes him, I hope that peace comes sooner than later and he realizes that he has a place, no matter what anyone else might think. {{{Peace & Self-Acceptance Vibes}}} to… Read more »
Sophia Martin
Guest

FWIW I’ve seen several HAHAT blogs specifically addressing transphobia and the challenges trans people face. 🙂 So while the organizers may have a blindspot, many participants don’t. It must be very hard to watch your child deal with insensitivity and worse. I send you both virtual hugs, wishing I could do more.

Jenre
Guest
Hi Alex Thank you for sharing your fears and worries for your son. I blogged about a couple in my church whose son, now daughter, came out as trans* last year and the way they have supported her. Your experiences mirror theirs as they help their daughter as best as they can whilst worrying about her at the same time. My hope is that by raising issues through days like this for trans* people, then that will promote greater acceptance and help relieve the fears of parents everywhere for their trans* children. It may be a pipe dream at this… Read more »
Jamie Deacon
Guest

Thanks so much for sharing this, Alex. Transphobia is an issue that isn’t talked about anywhere near enough. I can’t even begin to imagine the struggles your son must have gone through over the years, but he’s so lucky to have a loving and supportive mother like you. Sadly, not everyone is so fortunate.

jamie(at)jamiedeacon(dot)com

StormyMonday
Guest
Thank you for sharing your and your son’s personal experiences and for including the link. This sounds like a very worthy study. Hopefully it will help your son and other teenagers! It’s good to see people addressing transphobia and trans-related issues. There is not enough helpful information about it in the general news. I actually thought it was a big step forward from last year to include transphobia in the title. Maybe the instructions were last year’s? I understand that you fear for your son’s well-being, it’s so sad that trans people still face so much opposition, even from within… Read more »
Beth
Guest

That was a wonderful post. It was very enlightening. I can only hop that more events like this can spread awareness.

Urbanista
Guest

Your support of your son is a story that needs to be heard! Thanks for sharing, and for broadening our understanding of transphobia–a topic which receives so little attention.
Urbanista
brendurbanist @gmail. com

Carolyn
Guest
I don’t know about every mom (or parent) who exists in the world, but I know that since becoming one (almost 17 years ago), I look at the world through a new lens. I think of all the children growing up today as if they were my son or daughter and what I’d want for them. It is the same thing I want for my son and daughter: joy and love. Whatever that means means for them, I want them to have it. Every story, every single one, where I hear of a child harmed, in body or soul, because… Read more »
Juliana
Guest

Thanks for your story of support & for your post in this blog hop! Such an important subject.

OceanAkers @ aol.com

Emily W.
Guest
Thanks for sharing Alex. You know, I didn’t even notice that at first when I skimmed the instructions, but they did include transphobia this year, which is a step up. I recently watched a video on youtube about a young boy who felt he was trapped in the wrong body and was supposed to be born a girl, and all the drama that resulted. The one thing that encouraged me though, was that her family supported her, which is most often not the case. What broke my heart though was that the family had to be restationed (military family) from… Read more »
Sophie Bonaste
Guest

Thank you so much for your post and participating in this amazing hop! It is so important to get the word about there about transphobia and homophobia. We need to end the hate and spread the love.

Shirley Ann Speakman
Guest

A Great post So sorry about all the problems that have been caused to your son I’m so glad you son has a family like yours.

ShirleyAnn@speakman40.freeserve.co.uk

Erica Pike
Guest

Hi Alex,

The hop this year includes transphobia as well. If it wasn’t in the instructions then it was my fault. I copy/pasted the instructional message from last year and I didn’t notice the error (there was also a date error, if you look closer). Thank you for pointing it out to me. Teaches me to leave thing alone when I’m in a hurry.

Jade Crystal
Guest
I am sorry to hear about your son’s struggles but happy that his family supports him fully. I know several gay people and have known someone who is bi, so I feel a bit more connected to the homophobia/biphobia side of things, I think. I don’t know any trans people personally. I do know of someone who is the spouse of a friend but don’t know her well even if I have been told of some of the things they are going through as a couple. But I do try to be aware and knowledgeable, I do support the trans… Read more »
Peggy
Guest

Thank you for the post.

peggy1984 at live dot com

Sherry S.
Guest

Great post! Thank you for taking part in the hop!
sstrode at scrtc dot com

Penumbra
Guest

Thanks for sharing and participating in this great hop!

penumbrareads(at)gmail(dot)com

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