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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
To continue what I said in another post, DP and I have been talking a lot about the possibility of going on "T" (him, not me). He's identified as trans for many years but up until recently has not been interested in going on hormones for two main reasons: a) he doesn't feel a need to fit into labels, and he doesn't really feel like a female or male, so he prefers being somewhere in between, and b) we stay away from meds and drugs and take herbs for most everything, and T is not without some pretty serious side effects.

However, lately because of things that have come up with our families, we've been talking about the possibilities. For one thing, it would be nice to fit in with the straight community, mostly b/c then we could move anywhere (I have noticed recently how being gay really affects where you feel safe living). Also, DP cringes every time someone uses female pronouns for him and it's recently been bothering him more and more. Plus, our families refuse to use male pronouns for him which confuses our 5 y.o.

Anyway, our biggest concerns are keeping our family safe. I have read many cases in which trans parents have their children taken away from them. I'm unsure if this is mostly parents who are or are not on hormones. Anyone know? We're in NY, which is probably better than most states, but I don't want to make a decision that could potentially harm our family.

Anyone know more about the rights of trans-families?
 

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It would be very hard for anyone to take the kids away from him because in the eyes of the law in most of the states that you have to worry about, he's not a parent anyway.

I've never heard of anyone losing their kids solely because they went on T (or weren't on T) - it's much more common for people to lose custody when fighting with an ex partner or through poverty or a transition-related personal crisis, etc.

Lambda Legal is a great resource. Also, there is a yahoo group GQTG Parenting for gender queer and trans parents - you might want to join.

However, let me assure you that being on T doesn't make you feel necessarily more safe living in a less liberal area. Even though I pass 24/7, and was on T for five years, I wouldn't move somewhere where I would have an impossible time finding suitable healthcare (I don't mean a hard time, it's hard most places, but impossible - and I don't mean some sort of fancy gender-specialist trans healthcare, I mean going to the doctor when I have strep throat and not being seen as a freak).

Going on T will not suddenly make either of you straight - it will (maybe) help you look like a straight couple on the surface. Don't forget that DP will possibly be read as a gay man, if he does transition.
 

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Raene,

These are really big questions. In terms of legal resources, National Council for Lesbian Rights, in spite of their name, does lots of trans advocacy, and would be a good place to look at. They have a pretty comprehensive website, I think.

We're in a similar situation in that I have a DP who's trans identified and not on T. He doesn't have any interest in going on it, or physically transitioning. For me, I think I'd feel really freaked if he did. I don't know, maybe I'll feel differently when my kid is older. Right now, though, the thought of being read as a straight couple makes me really uncomfortable. I've just spent too much of my life being openly, loudly, outly queer-identified. Parenting raises the stakes, for sure, and I do know what you mean about wanting to feel safe. I still just can't imagine that I could feel like myself in a "straight" relationship.

Papa raises a good point too though- going on T may or may not make you guys pass.

Obviously it's a really big, personal decision. I guess I've just heard you say several times here that you and your DP embrace gender on a continuum, and that neither of you wants him to physically transition. Changing your mind about those things is fine, obviously. I would just want that change, for myself, anyway, to be coming from a positive place, not a place of fear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yeah, it's true before we didn't want to, but because of those issues with my mom and the gender stuff and the threats she makes against us b/c we apparently confuse our daughter by telling her gender is fluid rather than "boys do this...girls do that..." and "boys have this...girls have that..." to the point of my mom threatening us with CPS, in which case we do have to stop and think about it, and to some social worker, probably a trans-guy not on T and not appearing as a male would be thought to have a psych problem (the whole "you go by "he" and you are quite obviously a girl!" mentality). That is just my guess b/c they are completely closed minded. So in that sense, being safer might be worth not completely being ourselves.

For me I've never really identified as a lesbian, so I don't have a loss of my identification no matter what DP chooses to do. Which is useful I suppose; I can see what you mean, Angela, about how that would be hard for you if you appeared to be in a straight relationship but you actually aren't straight.
 

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Taking T doesn't seem--to me--like something that your partner should do for anyone other than himself. I really wouldn't worry about CPS either way. We have some experience with CPS (we became licensed foster parents a few years ago), and found "the system" to be very queer friendly. I'm sure this varies by region, but I doubt the New York system is much different from how it is here. If your kids are well cared for, CPS doesn't care about gender identity. All of the cases I've read about re: trans parents losing their rights involved ex-partners freaking out and fighting for sole custody (and winning). That's obviously not going to be an issue for you guys.

If I were in your position re: grandma threatening to call CPS, I would likely choose to cut her out of my life. Is there a reason why you're still in contact with her?

Lex
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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Originally Posted by lexbeach View Post

If I were in your position re: grandma threatening to call CPS, I would likely choose to cut her out of my life. Is there a reason why you're still in contact with her?

Lex
Thanks for the helpful advice


I had another post about my mom up (not in the queer section though) quite a while back. The problem is, I gave birth to my daughter as a single parent and lived with my mom to get back on my feet. Therefore, NY State sees her as "the other parent" because my daughter lived with the two of us. NY has more grandparent protection laws than any other state.

I moved across the country and she followed me here 8 mos after I moved and she's watched my daughter quite frequently while I worked. My DP has only been in our lives since my daughter was 2 1/2. We see her as ours together, though, all the same.

My mom is very controlling and still tries to parent both me and my daughter. She parents very differently and does not respect our teachings about how our baby may have penis but could possibly still be a girl or vice versa. My mom has told my daughter that little girls are sweet and little boys are "yucky" and convinced my daughter that she should only want a baby sister. My daughter was to the point of saying "I'm only going to be a big sister if the baby is a girl" and DP and I couldn't deal anymore. We talked to my mom about our frustrations and she just kept saying that what we teach our DD about body parts vs sex/gender is "wrong" and that DD is going to hate us some day for "lying to her" and that CPS sure wouldn't like that kind of statement about body parts vs sex.

So, after getting nowhere trying to reconcile, I did ask her not to be in our lives, at least while I'm pregnant, b/c I can't handle the extra stress. She did not respect that until the police also become involved. Now my daughter is very angry b/c she loves her grandma and has a hard time understanding why she's not been in our lives for the past few months. She gets very angry with us, and understandably so, because for the first part of her life my mom was like her second parent.

Hard situation. I'd love to keep her out of our lives, but because she knows all sorts of lawyers and is a retired lawyer herself, and b/c of the NY grandparent's laws, I don't have my hopes up.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Raene View Post
Thanks for the helpful advice


I had another post about my mom up (not in the queer section though) quite a while back. The problem is, I gave birth to my daughter as a single parent and lived with my mom to get back on my feet. Therefore, NY State sees her as "the other parent" because my daughter lived with the two of us. NY has more grandparent protection laws than any other state.

I moved across the country and she followed me here 8 mos after I moved and she's watched my daughter quite frequently while I worked. My DP has only been in our lives since my daughter was 2 1/2. We see her as ours together, though, all the same.
I understand why "cutting her out" isn't an option. The whole situation sounds very frustrating. But I still really wouldn't worry about CPS. I strongly disagree with your mom's assumption that CPS would see sex/gender the way she does. CPS *loved* all of our attachment parenting and attempts to be as un-gendered as possible in raising our sons.

I wonder if calling CPS yourself would be helpful, just to make sure that the fact that your partner is trans. would not, in and of itself, ever be used against you. Of course you could do this anonymously if you were worried about it. And then the next time your mom threatens to call CPS re: gender stuff, you can say, "actually mom, you are totally WRONG . . . "

Also, I wouldn't blame your mom entirely for things like your daughter saying she only wanted a sister. Our kids were equally adamant about wanting a brother, and I think it was just something about being 5 and wanting their younger sibling to have all the same parts that they had.

Good luck!

Lex
 

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Raene,

I'm sorry, that stuff with your mom just sucks.
And I was just sort of processing my own thoughts around gender, etc. I hope I didn't sound like I was offering you unsolicited advice re: transitioning or not.

We actually had a really frustrating afternoon that made me think of you. We were at the thrift store (buying flannel sheets to make diapers! yay!), and J was holding Ocean while I was standing a ways away. This woman came up and started to talking to them. First, she kept saying over and over again, "Oh, isn't he a handsome little boy!" That was weird enough- that she was so insistent about gendering the baby, who is, in fact, a girl (whatever that means...). And then, she looked at J, and said, "Oh, and this is mommy!" Neither of us really knew what to do. It was just so awkward. So we just sort of smiled and didn't say anything, and let it go. I don't know, I'm not sure how to handle these situations...

Anyway, it seemed so relevant to this conversation, I just wanted to share.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for sharing, Angela. We do get that sort of thing a lot, or "oh, your mommies..." and then DD gets really confused b/c she has never pictured River (DP) to be a "mommy". So weird. That's what makes it hard.

Of course we've considered less drastic measures like chest reconstruction or at least breast reduction, and voice coaching to lower DP's voice. That would help a lot in our situation, maybe, and it's something that DP has always wanted anyway, so it's not really something to do just for other people.
 

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Raene,
I work for CPS administration (or its equivalent) in NYC and know folks upstate too- please PM me to get my email address so you can let me know if you do in face any trouble with them and i can get involved...
-L
 

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What a complex issue ... because here I am with a genderqueer partner who is read as male 95% of the time, which puts different pressures on, while all the while riding the same spectrum as you folks. Oh, the pendulum, how it swings so gaily!

My ex transitioned (surgery and T), and lived full time as a 100% passing male. It royally screwed with my queer identity, especially because we lived in a small town and were read as hetero 100% of the time, after I'd been an out proud **** since my teens. I'm trying to imagine parenting in that relationship ... wow. So complex. I wanted to join in the conversation, but DD is looking for a boob, so I'll have to come back when I have more time.

As for rights, Raene ... I'm not up on the American side of things, but in Canada it wouldn't be much of an issue. Human Rights code takes care of that. Although, you never know. Policy changes with government changes, so we may not always be protected.

You have my well wishes, mama!
 

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Raene,

This is totally off topic, but is this the weekend you guys are going to be in Northampton? I'm going to a Quaker retreat center in Deerfield this weekend, but was hoping to schedule a little time with KJM and FtMPapa (are you guys reading this? I'm going to email you...) as well, and wondered if maybe we all wanted to meet up and get tea or something...?
 

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Though I'm not in your shoes, I'm dropping in to offer support and concern about your mother. What a painful situation for your whole family.

and WOW citygirl144! This MDC community rocks in so many ways.

:

I have nothing useful to say. Where in NY are you? Do you have a community there or a family of choice?
Sarah
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
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Originally Posted by AngelaM View Post
Raene,

This is totally off topic, but is this the weekend you guys are going to be in Northampton? I'm going to a Quaker retreat center in Deerfield this weekend, but was hoping to schedule a little time with KJM and FtMPapa (are you guys reading this? I'm going to email you...) as well, and wondered if maybe we all wanted to meet up and get tea or something...?
Yes, and that would be lovely! We're staying in South Deerfield. We'll be there Friday afternoon-Saturday early afternoon and then we're heading back. The only plans we have are meeting my college roommate for dinner at 5 on Friday, and Saturday we're going to that fabulous-sounding butterfly museum.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
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Originally Posted by Sarah-Tina View Post
Though I'm not in your shoes, I'm dropping in to offer support and concern about your mother. What a painful situation for your whole family.

and WOW citygirl144! This MDC community rocks in so many ways.

:

I have nothing useful to say. Where in NY are you? Do you have a community there or a family of choice?
Sarah
We're in Ithaca...it's really liberal which is nice. It's the Northampton of NY you could say.
 
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