Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Salon.com: I Hate My Dad's Transition

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | October 28, 2011 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Media, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: childhood experience of transition, Danielle Brown

daddys_little_girl2.pngOn Tuesday of this week, Salon.com published a piece by Danielle Brown, a writer with a degree in psychology, working on a book about her relationship with her transsexual father. It's well-written, but I have problems with it.

Here's the headline and tag: "When my father became a woman: After Dad had gender reassignment surgery, he promised he'd be the same person. Then why do I miss him so much?

I respect the writer's opinion -- there's no question that parents' lives affect children, often for the worse. At the same time, I can't help but recoil from the seemingly harsh and dismissive tone.

"My father's extensive collection of jewelry and her outfits still startle me. Everything is so form-fitting! It is cheating, I think, to wear women's jeans and not have hips. 'It's not fair,' I told her once. 'You get all the perks of being a woman but none of the pain. You don't have to get a period every month.'"

Thus are we introduced to this promise-breaking, indulgently bejewelled and bedecked, cheating father -- a father, moreover, who unfairly became a "woman."

I have my sympathies for Ms. Brown's account, and she's still young and filtering her experiences through the difficult "who am I?" twenties, but her apparent hatred of her father's transition makes it difficult.

Helen Boyd, posting on enGender, kind of blames the dad, too:

Please, lovely trans folks, STOP saying this to your loved ones. It's not true. The whole point of transition is to become a different person.

That doesn't mean you won't carry plenty of your personality over with you - you will & you should. But you will not be the same person.

If gender matters, gender matters. You wouldn't need to transition if it didn't, so be surprised when your loved ones miss your 1.0 self.

My dear Helen, given that Ms. Brown, the author of the Salon.com piece, was an adolescent at the time of her father's transition, I'm not at all sure that it would be inappropriate to reassure her by noting that you're not going away, that you'll still be there for them, and there won't be another, unfamiliar stranger taking your place. I myself told my son when I transitioned that I would always be his father, and love him, and be there for him. I don't think I said I'd be the "same person." There was probably too much of the lawyer in me, even in that time of towering stress and pain, to make any such guarantees.

The truth is, none of us are the "same person" we were ten years ago. Identity is constantly shifting slowly, like moving tectonic plates, unseen at the surface, but producing surprising changes over time. But I did not subscribe to my ex's theory that "Todd" was dead, and that a completely new person, "Jillian", suddenly sprang, fully-formed, into existence. I recoiled from that description, and made sure it was not repeated to our son.

I do agree that "gender matters," as Helen so aptly put it. Yes it does. If it didn't, I could have simply existed as an androgynous man. But I couldn't. It was not an option, not after the suicidal thoughts began. The internal drive was as inexorable as turning the wheel on a ship and lashing it tight. And I agree - don't sign a contract guaranteeing you'll be the "same person." Perhaps that was an inapt phrase. But give the woman a break.

Ms. Brown discusses the change: "My father had gender reassignment surgery four years ago at a hospital in Arizona while I was taking final exams at the end of my freshman year of college." Ah, I see. While she was slaving away at college, working hard, her frivolous dad was off getting a bit of nip and tuck.

"No one told me that when my father changed her identity - her name, her lifestyle, her body - that my father would change, too. That the role of father would blur. That our father-daughter routine would seem sacrificed to the gender gods, something lost in the transition into my father's new life."

Yes, no one told you. There are a lot of things we aren't told in our twenties. The life I thought I would lead when I was in my twenties, that I had carefully charted -- it was a disaster, though I thought that I had planned it with great forethought. While I was taking my final exams in my sophomore year of law school, my father had the poor judgment to die, and my mother a year later. My marriage and my early career -- what poor choices in hindsight, and how perfect-seeming at the time.

What Ms. Brown is talking about here is not the consequences of her father's transition, but the consequences of life, of changing roles of parents and children in their twenties, of coming of age and realizing your parents are gods with feet of clay, of coming into your own and seeking your own, independent life, of losing the parent-child routine that characterizes childhood. "Sacrifice to the gender gods" makes it sounds as if her story were the story of the Biblical Isaac, sacrificed on the altar to the bizarre Jehovah-god that Abraham heard in his head, but with no convenient ram caught in a bush nearby to save the child.

Yes, I understand that this was a significant event in Ms. Brown's life, and she is entitled to her feelings, but let me suggest that had her father gotten a red Ferrari and a new girlfriend, we might be reading the same basic story about the same main characters. Yes, by all means, write a story about how your father's transition affected you, but be aware that suggesting to an already-always transphobic public that your father did something bad to his little girl is a dangerous meme.

I am sympathetic to Ms. Brown's descriptions of the jarring effects of memory upon seeing familiar pieces of furniture from the vantage point of her childhood memories, and the desire to "wreak havoc" by reminding her father's girlfriend of where it came from. And yet, there is this:

"There is more than one kind of death.

With my father it was a death without a funeral, a death without a body, without casket or burial or sermon or church, without fellow mourners to hold my hands. This was a death with the deceased still breathing, still putting her arms around me and speaking to me in the voice I've always known."

Actually, your father is not dead. Speaking of him that way suggests that a transsexual is dead. I assure you I am not dead, despite my gender transition, nor am I dead to my relatives, my ex-wife or my son. Yes, I realize this is a metaphor, that for Ms. Brown it occurred as a kind of death-like experience. Her writing skills are superb. But, gosh, it's cold. Chilly. This dead person masquerading as her father. Perfect for Halloween season, and I can't shake this "Shauna-of-the-dead" feeling about her father.

And yet, I was moved by her ending, missing the comfort of having her father re-enact her childhood memories that gave her solace as a young girl, describing the fatherly reaction to her new boyfriend.

"It rolled over me in waves, this quiet gratefulness, to have my father again in a way I could understand. In a way that felt as ordinary as the wristwatch he used to wear, the shoes he kicked off at night, and the black leather sofa in our living room."

And yet, what she describes is missing the comfort of having no one ever change, of never growing up and realizing things about your parents, that they are meek doormats or emotional terrorists, afraid of life or foolish gamblers. It's a well-written piece. But I'm not sure whether it exposes the full truth of Ms. Brown's experience, or, perhaps, her desire for a lost land of remembered childhood from which we are all exiled by time.

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As a co-founder of TransParent Day (http://TransParentDay.org) I am glad to see the timing of these kinds of discussions. As this year's TransParent Day is only a few days off, Sunday November 6th! One of the goals of TransParent Day is to embrace open dialog between those who have transitioned and their children. By having a day that celebrates life, love and family we have a special opportunity to forge new and enhanced understanding between TransParents and their children. I hope all who have read this piece and the one before it will take stock of their own relationships with their kids, be they trans or not.

Happy TransParent Day to all whom it applies.

I rarely post just to compliment an author, but this is a very thoughtful take on the issue and a superb post. I did not read Ms. Brown's article, but it could not have been better written than this.

Ah, yes. Just what we need is another highly opinion-generating trans article to follow up from the disastrous Ashley Love article of a few days ago. The Bilerico gods are smiling. Throw another bag of popcorn in the microwave.

Jillian if you meant to link to the article it doesn't link. I had to search on salon.com. I found it at http://life.salon.com/2011/10/25/when_my_father_became_a_woman/

Brown's journey related to her father has many similarities with those of other young adults with newly-divorced parents. Clearly, the gender transition has had a distinctive and challenging impact; I don't challenge that at all.

But, for those of us who have had a parent divorce, remarry, or otherwise turn their life upside-down, it can really mess with everything about the relationship. I was there in my early 20s, in as much as I sometimes felt like I didn't recognize Mom in her new marriage, struggled to connect at times, saw shades of the prior family life in her new life.

Navigating through such times in order to reclaim healthy parent/adult-child relationships is tumultuous and messy. I hope Brown can find some synergy and support among peers with parallel experiences... young adults who feel disconnected from a parent who is living what appears to be a new life, divorced from the old life. She has a poignant story to tell, but it's also a more universal story than she might be comfortable admitting so far.

Wow, what an awesome, well-reasoned and sane comment! I see posts with this kind of humanity and understanding, and blush over what I have written just before. (blushes)

I regularly read Salon (it's open in another tab right now, lol), so I read this article when it was first posted. I only went back once to read comments, which was plenty for me--comments on suc posts are pretty predictable.

I won't comment much on the article, which I didn't much like. I just want to mention one thing about Salon--they publish a lot of acticles like this ('First Person', 'My Life', and so forth) which are to my hard and cynical self are mostly written by a bunch of self-absorbed, priviledged whingers (and no, I don't think that way about the OWS ppl, I agree with them in most ways other than I think it is crazy to go way into debt for a liberl arts degree). Salon even has one column dedicated to such ppl, that I call Losers' Corner, by Cary Tennis.

I don't really get the audience for such essays, but it must be there, b/c I see lots of them at Salon, and I think if you read them, you'd prolly feel the same way about their authors you do about this one.

Thanks, Carol... (blushing, too)... my other young-adult experience was trying to establish a nominally functional relationship with my dad, who had been quite absent since my teens. After concerted efforts, including my cross-country bus trip to spend a week together, it turned out the seeds of a working relationship just weren't there. (His mental health challenges had started in childhood... long story.)

I want/need no sympathy for that; it didn't make me a victim. It was a valuable thing to release myself, at 19, from feeling any burden to make the relationship something that it couldn't be.

It does, however, leave me hoping that Brown's sense of betrayal is softened over time by appreciating that she's got something that isn't guaranteed to everyone -- relationships with two apparently healthy, authentic, available parents.

My Husband Betty is about three feet away from me, at the present moment. It's going on the fire tonight. Love and respect that isn't returned is neither love nor respect. I spent many sleepless nights with my children when they were babies. I spent many nights alone with a colicky infant, 3 a m feedings and all, working around my spouse's schedule. I never wanted to be a husband and I never wanted a wife. I only ever considered myself my spouses partner, as I do now.

We had an unconventional wedding. We only married because we had been together for so long the question of commitment was creating insecurity. We were married by a Unitarian minister who allowed us to take non standard wedding vows which expressed a commitment to self determination and a renunciation of ownership by our parents, of each other and our offspring, should we decide to have them.

The "dad" bullshit made me want to puke when the instructor kept laying it on in Lamaze classes. It was so oppressive - definition imposed by a third party. Couldn't I just be the child's parent, provide life, love and responsibility without becoming a stereotype of something I never was or never would be? I had been married four years and had cohabited on and off four before that. It's been a brutal 32 years since the first of my two children were born. I probably wouldn't change anything if I had to do it all over again because the oppressiveness and impossibilities would have been the same. In an ideal world, I would have changed quite a bit, of course, and still had my children. I always wanted children. It was a bone of contention between my partner and I. Wasn't she enough? Children were just another test and it happened by accident at a time when the harsh reality was finally setting in that I wasn't suited to have them. Actually, that turned out not to be true because, I know that I turned out to be better suited than most.

Now we have them. Now they're our life. If they don't want to make the attempt to understand then they become just another oppressive force in my life. No one owes it to anyone to allow themselves to be treated like a clown. I was outraged by the gay male therapist who tried to drive a wedge between my son and I, the therapist I was encouraged to see after what happened when I was helping my son out exchanging the car battery at the auto parts store and he called me "dad" creating puzzlement in the guy behind the counter. It just wasn't right. It wasn't fair to me and the guy, just like the pizza delivery guy, neither of whom didn't need the sideshow. I flipped out. The therapist tried to exploit the situation at a rate of 100/hr which would have been as harmful to my son as it is to me. We're doing just fine. No one stands to gain by claiming to be descended from a clown. I am a parent, not a father. David Badash makes a point about the mainstream media supporting bullies like Pat Buchanan and their hate speech. I consider the Salon article hate speech. The daughter has a right to her self indulgent hurt feelings, I suppose. That kind of hateful, very hurtful self indulgence shouldn't be encouraged, regardless.

This article reminded me of what it must have felt like for my parents when I came out. Everything they knew changed. They felt like they didn't know me. They reacted with anger, confusion, disgust. Their son they knew was gone, dead.

Very interesting to see it from the other perspective.

What I think is interesting about the negative comments about trans people being selfish in the Salon piece is that they're virtually all about "men who became women." Which makes me wonder: 1) Is there something about trans women which is inherently more selfish? or; 2) Does society still have many more issues about "men becoming women" and more projections about how this is an act of male selfishness, abrogation of manly responsibility, escapism or fetishist sexuality?

I posted a link to this at the IFGE Facebook page, and loved one of the comments, which said: "I have to say, my take on the article was that this woman can't cope with the idea that her father has a life outside of being "her father."

Hello 22-year old author of the Salon piece... truly sorry for your feelings of loss (they're yours and no one but you has a right to them), but you're stuck in the first step of the grieving cycle and need to move forward and, yes, grow up. I hope your upcoming book shows a more complete and evolved stance about what you (and your parent) have gone through.

The accusation of selfishness by a few members of my family continued for years after I came out as gay. If I wasn't so selfishly making my sexual "fetish" more important than the well-being of my wife and kids, the argument, the marriage could have been restored to health via Christian counseling and ex-gay support.

So, whether it's an organic root of the negative comments or not, my brain hears them saying that being trans is nothing more than a fetish that's been reinforced and validated.

This was all very much the experience I had with my family, esp my sister and my son (my son was 22 when he found out). They basically wanted me to continue in being what they were used to, and said so. It was more important for them, who didn't even see me that often, to live their concept of me, and I was considered *extremely* selfish for transitioning.

I was shocked, b/c I had spent decades living my life to meet other ppl's expectations, and sacrificing my happiness to please my family, and now, they couldn't support me in trying to find some peace? You know, I wasn't transitioning b/c I thought it would be a cool thing or something, it was (as so many others have said), transition or die (in retrospect, I feel I made the wrong choice, but I can't go back and do it over).

And of course, suicide is considered the ultimate act of selfishness, too, right? That was all that had kept me alive for 25 years, was thinking of the impact my death would have on my family (esp my wife). So it's really no win. It was a really bad time.

The whole experience reminded me of kids who leave home, but expect their parents to keep the same house and to keep the kid's room set up just as it was for the rest of their lives. So yes, it is very much not being able to come to grasp with the fact that other ppl have the right to their own lives.

Thanks for being so candid, Carol... I'm at a loss for more coherent thoughts at the moment, but it's important to me that you hear that you've thrown some much-appreciated light my way today, and I'm glad you're here for the conversation. (I lost my 46-y/o partner to suicide a decade back.)

I'm glad if I helped you in some way. And I am very sorry about your partner, and I apologize if I triggered something bad for you.

Hey Carol (and anyone else who is interested)...

I am also reachable at steveboese.com, by clicking the yellow Contact Steve Now box.


Her father "cheated" because she doesn't have periods or hips? I thought cheating was doing something the easy way. What a naive little twit. Her father must have protected her well if she thinks that transitioning and living as trans in this world is somehow easier than having rounded hips and periods.

Sadly, this woman comes across as a very well-written spoiled brat who finds out that it's not all about her and only longs for the time when it was...no matter who would be destroyed in the process. Time to grow up princess.

I don't fault the young lady for her opinion and I have mixed feelings on the whole trans-parenting thing. I personally never felt comfortable with either dating women or the whole dad label. I do think its unfair to expect a child to just disregard the whole mom and dad label thing. Yes it might be uncomfortable to be called mom or dad by them after transition but that is both the biological and social role you took when you had them.

Well Lisa,

It should be apparent by now, that even if it might appear we often share similar points of view there is most likely a wide divergence of opinion between us, at least where some things are concerned. I lived for three and one half decades with the realization that I would face this sort of judgment. To me, what you are saying sounds an awful lot like the personal responsibility stuff I hear in relation to the misfortune of many single mothers. Life is complicated. C'est la vie. At least it keeps me from getting up too high on my horse over the question of transsexual/transgender and similar hot button topics. You know, I could raise questions about what kind of descriptor you would use in relation to your personal attractions pre surgery but generally I eschew labels. My concept of transsexualism is that it is a variation of sex differentiation someone is born with, not a "condition" , not a choice. I don't see transsexual as someone or something, I see it as an adjective that describes a medical process involving a change in sex characteristics.

I did make a choice to change sex characteristics after fulfilling what I thought I was obligated to do . I question whether I did the right thing in waiting. One of my therapists, you are probably familiar with her, is partnered with a man of transsexual history. I don't know how much of her point of view is conditioned by a lesbian experience and how much of it could be called heterosexual. I remember the look on her face, though, when I said I thought my children needed a father figure in spite of my inadequacies in that regard. I had spent a lot of time in Northampton before I started seeing her. Immediately, the images of the lesbian couples walking together with one of them pushing a baby carriage came to mind along with the realization of how insidiously sexist my conditioning had been. I realize that it took many years, as someone earlier pointed out to me, for those lesbian separatists to ease into the role of mothering/parenting and I don't know if I should call it that but fathering, too. How do you feel about lesbian parenting? I have no problem with it, at all. In an ideal world that's the way I would have lived, bisexually with another woman strongly committed to each other in an open relationship. We don't live in an ideal world, though, do we?

Edith we're probably gonna disgree pretty good on this one so I just want to get it out there first I really respect you a lot. As for Transsexuality I've always felt female from my earliest recollections. I really believe I was born more intersexed with female tendencies. So the question is how can I change from something I never was? If I was never really male except for some spare bits how can I really be changing my sex? I see myself as moving from being a question mark to being a woman. My attraction was always towards men and my life more asexual do to not feeling comfortable with the boy bits or letting someone else have at them. Lesbian parenting depends on the parents just like it does with straight couples. Just a couple days ago I was questioned about a T kid with lesbian parents. They wanted to know what I thought about the kid going on hormone blockers and if the parents could be to blame. All I said was if the kid really is Transsexual the hormone blockers would be a blessing and don't label the kid Transgender. I think young Transitioneers should just be called boys or girls and spared the labels. I didn't pass judgement on the parents but if there seemed to be an epidemic of lesbian couples raising Transgender or gay kids then I would begin to question whether they should be parents. Sorry if I hurt your feelings on my position but it one that I feel pretty strongly on. I would think you'd understand just how much loss risk we face for just being who we are. I think if all a kid asks for is their parent to accept their need to see them as mom or dad that seems like a bargain to me. As for any highhorse I might own its name would be premarin and it can be a bitch :)

I'm not offended, Lisa. I have a past. It isn't really a very schizoid one or cliched. My oldest one told me when I finally let my hair down that he and his friends just thought it was just me being me. It was but it wasn't about rock n roll. It wasn't about putting people on, even if there was quite a bit of anger and resentment there. My kids had a lot of contact with gay and lesbian people and people from the art world. I turned out to be a little bit more than that. It's a long story, Lisa. It's been a long hard road.

for the record, i should have also noted: there is nothing i dislike more than the death metaphor for transition. my lovely partner, the person who was my male husband, is alive & well, & happier & more productive than she would have ever been continuing to carry on as a man for my sake or hers, & thank fucking g_d for that.

jillian, there is something about gender transition that is, imho, unlike other kinds of change, but yes, of course we all change, & i'm very thankful that my partner & our relationship has withstood some of my own.

i wonder, sometimes, if it isn't the lack of public support for those of us who try to understand that isn't the problem. i find people tend to assume that if i stayed i'm okay with it, & so i have no space to miss the guy i married *while* being happy that we figured out how to make her reality possible. they are simultaneous experiences.

& for the record, i didn't & don't blame the dad, but i do think that trans people often reassure the people around them, who love them, that transition is not going to up-end their lives. they do so out of concern for their loved ones, but it's not the right way to do it. because transition will up-end their lives, & their loved ones' lives. don't sugar-coat it. don't sugar-coat your own needs or your own pain, either.

my partner & i found a lot of peace - and new strength - in recognizing her transition as *our* transition.

But that would almost imply that the person transitioning has some sort of... responsibility not as a man or as a woman, but as a person, to those with whom they built and shared a life.

I almost wonder if the severing of province is a cultural relic from the trans witness relocation program that was practiced for decades by controlling (and possibly incompetent, self-serving or societal-protecting) therapists. Or perhaps it it the inevitable reaction to social misunderstanding and scorn. Maybe it is just not possible either factually or practically to transition without focusing solely on one's Self. Is it inevitable, then, that an adult transition be labeled by others as, "selfish"? And if so, should that label be accepted and owned? Or is there something amiss about the way people have been instructed to transition both by subculture and professional advice alike?

I am not quite sure what you are saying, SarasNaval. Maybe it is because you are not so sure yourself. I read about those who have been stealth for years with a certain degree of envy and understand how it all works. The flip side of the benefits living in stealth afford is the huge sacrifice one has to make by cutting themselves off the way one must when one choses to if one has such choices available to them.

It often occurs to me how, every time I write something at one of these blogs I out myself. It doesn't matter because I realize I will never be able to have much control over a life I never had any control over. It is possible to live partially in a way where no one knows about your past, however, on a daily basis. That is when I am able to "cross" over the threshold out of the Twilight Zone and find the honesty in other's naivete. It is then I realize just how disingenuous those who have had a grip on me all my life have been. Opening up, coming out has been a process that has allowed me to verify just how much people had been lying to me all along and just how much complicity in that they demanded from me. There are great opportunities for extortion involved when one plays the magnanimous role of the one who accepts the outcast. I can't blame children for getting caught up in all this. I can't, that is, until they become adults with adult responsibilities of their own.

This whole exercise is futile, though. A lot of people, even people who couple in one way or another, don't have children. It seems to me most of the judgmental people along this thread don't have children. Most of the people I have worked with and associated with throughout my life don't have children or didn't when I was involved with them. I am aware of the resentment of those who don't have children toward those who do. Among early transitioners and intersex people I know the barely concealed hatred, which is sometimes not concealed at all, is very palpable. The inevitable questions of why are always there to haunt as if the pitfalls were easily apprehended and just as easily avoided. Why did you bring others along? Why didn't you take control of your life sooner if the weight of what you carried with you was so great? Why didn't you just become a computer engineer, make a lot of money leave your family behind where you couldn't humiliate them and start all over and become an icon of among those who are like you?

How many of us are strong enough to live the lives of a fugitive from injustice? How could anyone fault another for taking that road? The only other choice, if there is a choice at all, is to pay and pay and pay and pay.

Yes, I agree that transition can be highly disruptive and can certainly have a huge impact on relationships, economic viability and sex lives. Certainly, I would never criticize a partner for wanting to go elsewhere after a transition because they have a complete right to their sexual orientation, emotional intimacy and who they find attractive or want to have sex with... or not. Disruptions of routine create change.

But, just to put it in perspective... so does having another child (or many children), so does taking a new job which impacts schedules, location or your parents' relationship, so does a parent continuing to do self-destructive behavior, so does having non-consensual affairs with people other than your partner, riding a motorcycle and getting into an accident (the list continues). Do people really discuss these issues with their partners beforehand? Usually not in earnest... so often they've already made up their mind as something they need to do. (and I'm not comparing transition to these, just in terms of potential disruptiveness). Life is full of profound disruptions and life-changing events. Anyone who believes your life is going to be stationary because, um, you wish it to be so is immature and has blinders on.

Let's not mince words, the reason people have such a strong reaction to transition (as opposed to so many of these other potentially highly disruptive events) is because of their ingrained traditionalism (daddies look like this, mommies look like that, husbands do this, wives do that) and a profound, often unbending discomfort with gender variance.

There is another aspect to this that deserves a bit of attention. Any parent who makes a major life change and doesn't discuss it with the children and ask for their perspective is treating them with disdain. And since children are not static that needs to be a continuing conversation.

When I was 7 my father decided to start a company and it meant some lean years. He explained it to me and my older brother and listened to our concerns. And as time progressed he continued to discuss how things were going and he listened to anything we had to say. It made a huge difference in how I accepted what the family was going through.

The article was not clear on how that parent handled communication with the child. But from what the daughter said I suspect the parent didn't really treat her as part of the equation and if that is the case then her resentment is understandable.

That might be a valid argument if you're talking about a minor child living under parental custody, but that's not the situation at all. Ms. Brown was an adult college student living on her own when her parent transitioned.

Essentially, what this woman has done is expose the person she writes in the most public way she could for humiliation in order to vent her angst and grievances. And, she is coming out with a book; that she'll profit from?

This is very one sided and disgusting, very brutal, too. I don't care what the relationship is. No one deserves to be treated this way. The more I think about this, the less sympathy I have for Ms. Brown. Is that a nom de plume or a family name? If that is a name she shares with the person she is writing about, very cruel, indeed. I doubt it matters even if it isn't.

This thread is vintage Jeannie C. Riley

It's a little girl who is missing her Daddy ... sure she is in college but that doesn't mean she's speaking as a college student. Read between the lines. This is an honest, revealing piece.

I applaud Ms. Brown. Spoken by one who transitioned and has two daughters the same age as Ms. Brown.

Quit whining.

Sara ...

"Quit whining."

Just lovely.

Where have I heard that before???

Uh, the answer is no! I won't.

This is all about gender, huh? The "father" should do this. I don't blame the "dad". The "father" should do that. The "father" had a "gender" "transition". That's why we insist on referring to (insert pronoun) ___ as "dad".

This is absurd. Did I type the wrong entry into my browser? This must be the Focus on the Family parenting blog . . . or is it just f***ing hell?

I insist my children use Dad whenever they want to. That's right, you ARE whining. Our kid's did not sign up for this. A sex transition is the LAST thing they ever thought they would have to deal with.

They can use "Dad" in public when I am with my boyfriend. Not an issue.

This is why I don't hang out with transexuals. I have never seen such a bunch of selfish people in my life.

Sara ...

Different Sara, here.

I also don't put up a fuss if my kids call me some variation of Dad, although it would not be my first choice due to the instant outing. There are only two people on Earth that can call me that and they happen to be very important to me. There is a lot of love and history tied up in that name. It's wrapped up in their concept of me more than my legal name or any nickname. To them, I *am* Daddy, and Daddy happens to be a woman. Life is funny that way sometimes.

This is a great example of what I meant above when I said that transsexuals have a responsibility to the people close to them, if they have any chance of *keeping* those people close to them. It's time we grew up as a culture (ie social memory, knowledge, etc being passed on from person to person). We have just enough acceptance and yes, respect, to do so and it's what we need to do to gain more acceptance (yeah, I get the fine line between that and the all-out assimilationism that some abhor and others strive for).

It's part of any social relationship to have responsibilities to the other people but a part that we've been told we can let go of by virtue of having a certain condition. Only life threatening conditions typically get this free ride, and TS often is. But with any such condition, the person afflicted often still feels a certain responsibility to those around them; It's part of staying connected to them. And if you survive, you still have to pick up the pieces once you are whole again.

Om Kalthoum | October 30, 2011 1:12 PM

To anyone:

I realize this thread is about more than pronouns or names, but since this part of it went off on this tangent, I find myself wondering what you expect your children to call you or refer to you as, if not the name they've used their entire lives for a person of primary importance?

I assume most already have the opposite sex parent to which they've attached the appropriate parent term, so they can't also attach it to the (to them) new you. What do you recommend? Using your new first name as though you are just one of their friends?

My teen daughter calls me a combo of 'Gina' and 'mom' depending on the situation. When she was smaller and I was earlier in transition, she called me 'papi' or 'poppy' (homonyms). Farther on in transition, she called me Gina (yes, sometimes it feels weird and 'unparent-like, but...). My daughter (who came to my ex and I through adoption) has always been with me at least 50% of the time and, for the past year she lives with me 24/7. I've never demanded she call me mom, it's just something that's evolved from her.

I can ONLY SPEAK FOR MYSELF, I don't think having your child refer to you as 'Dad' in public really helps them. It doesn't speak to the reality of the situation, it holds on to a no-longer-existent reality and, more often than not, they just end up getting looks from salespersons and waiters. But if it means something to them (and of course, is appropriate to the age and disposition of the child), then go ahead... then they should do what makes them feel most comfortable and loved.

I agree, Gina. Our oldest most often calls me "Daddy" but to her that concept can be either a man or a woman or someone in-between. Earlier in my transition we had neighbor-friends that were lesbian assimilationists (not meant in any sort of derogatory way btw, it was for both family and work and important to them) and their same-aged kid called one of the them 'Da', so the environment has been a little flexible. Our youngest has toyed with calling me, "Ma-Da" but drifts back to "Dada" or "Daddy"; it was the name he learned for me as one of his first words and is at the root of his concept of me. Being male, however, isn't.


Hi Gina,

I don't know you that well but you have mentioned your daughter a few times. I have the impression you are a single parent who has the child rearing responsibilities. I have known other post transsexual(I hope I'm not being presumptuous using this term but it's one I prefer for myself) women who have been the ones who ended up as the primary caretaker. I have a lot of respect for anyone put in that position. Child rearing is the hardest work. If she calls you mom, I think it appropriate. I don't think it would be inappropriate for me, either. The labels refer, more than anything, to the role one assumes in a relationship. I settled for a compromise descriptor that is gender neutral. I don't care about labels so much but "father", "dad" or "man" are just so loaded. There are some people who they just don't apply to. If someone wants to have a discussion about biology, well, my answer is I hope you have the time and interest.


Sorry, that in my haste, I missed the last sentence of the first paragraph about your relationship with your daughter. The fact that I did doesn't change the basic gist of what I wrote, though.

I find the conversation is often dominated by the assumption of opposite-sex couples as parents. "Mom" is a name for one specific person, "Dad" is another specific person. If suddenly one partent switches to being called by the other term, it is as if they are encroaching or taking away from the other parent used to being the only one using that term. I gather in some cases it would be almost as bad as if one parent chose to start using the other parent's name.

It seems as if the words have an entirely different meaning to those of us who've grown up with 2 moms, or 2 dads, or 4 moms and so on. Cis same-sex parents have tackled this issue and come up with plenty of options. Dad and Papi, Mom and Meema, or even giberish made up words that infants grace upon their parents. To me, though, it was mom and mom. And so it's always been hard for me to understand the point of view that transitioning parents can't take on the gender appropriate title. I think I understand it now, but it's still a pretty alien concept that there can be only one mom or only one dad.

^Agree Tobi. And there can be a mom and a mommy, and a mum, and mama and maddy... yadda, yadda or whatever fits.

Yes, Om's question seemed incredibly heterosexist to me. Coming from her, I assumed it was just another angle to make nasty comments about trans women, but even at that, it seemed pretty weird of anyone here to consider having more than one parent with the same designation.

Not that anti-trans ppl would believe it or care, but oddly enough I saw myself as my son's (26 yo) mom from the beginning. And he calls me Carol, and I am sure still thinks of me as his father, though a fucked-up one.

Different Sara, here.

I also don't put up a fuss if my kids call me some variation of Dad, although it would not be my first choice due to the instant outing. There are only two people on Earth that can call me that and they happen to be very important to me. There is a lot of love and history tied up in that name. It's wrapped up in their concept of me more than my legal name or any nickname. To them, I *am* Daddy, and Daddy happens to be a woman. Life is funny that way sometimes.

This is a great example of what I meant above when I said that transsexuals have a responsibility to the people close to them, if they have any chance of *keeping* those people close to them. It's time we grew up as a culture (ie social memory, knowledge, etc being passed on from person to person). We have just enough acceptance and yes, respect, to do so and it's what we need to do to gain more acceptance (yeah, I get the fine line between that and the all-out assimilationism that some abhor and others strive for).

It's part of any social relationship to have responsibilities to the other people but a part that we've been told we can let go of by virtue of having a certain condition. Only life threatening conditions typically get this free ride, and TS often is. But with any such condition, the person afflicted often still feels a certain responsibility to those around them; It's part of staying connected to them. And if you survive, you still have to pick up the pieces once you are whole again.

"Little girl missing her daddy"??!! Um Sara, nothing like infantilizing a grown woman.

Renee Thomas | October 29, 2011 10:48 AM

In response to Helen Cramer . . .

But Helen, it upends our lives and the lives of those we love and who ostensibly love us because we ALL choose to allow it to do so. It upends our lives because we are unable for the most part to conceptualize a world free of cissexist, homophobic, transphobic and misogynistic impulses compelling our behavior toward others and indeed toward our selves. Whatever gender presentation you choose is but a superficial reflection of the broader society’s prejudices and dictates vis-à-vis "performativity." In that regard Judith Butler got it right. But where frankly you (and many others, Butler among them) fails is in you inability to understand and then articulate (in your writing, your teaching, your blog posts and indeed in your comments here) that transition is only superficially about gender identity. For those of us who have undergone it, it is, at its core, about the healing of the dispirit, fragmented and incomplete spirit. Fundamentally, transition does not make us men or women . . . it makes us whole. If in that coming together, that process of ontological completeness as I often call it, we are seen as “different” then so much the better I should hope. I’d like to think that many of us, upon crossing that liminal space, emerge on the opposite shore more soulful, centered, loving and empathetic then we, as tortured beings, were before we undertook our crossing. I think it is then (and frankly only then) that we "choose" how we shall move through the world and be seen by those of you we share that world with.

Renee Thomas | October 29, 2011 10:51 AM

My apologies . . . Helen(Kramer).

So that we shall be known as we truly are

Responding generally here, so please don't anyone take this as personal.

I wouldn't characterize anything as selfishness, so much as the privilege of not having to experience or think about the other side of the story. There is (completely unconscious / unintended) privilege among loved ones and the public, too, in the years we've sacrificed ourselves prior in order to try to be what they want or expect us to be. That doesn't mean that we can conversely disregard the pain that they experience when we come out and/or transition.

In Helen's defense, yes, there is usually a profound sense of loss when someone transitions. Let's recognize our privilege here and not poo-pooh that. Our transitions are very often all about us, and the partners, parents, kids, friends, etc who support us often have to put their own feelings aside for our benefit. It can be a huge sacrifice, that we shouldn't minimize.

And with regard to her request that we stop saying that nothing will change besides appearances, that's entirely valid. I've seen plenty of people act as though that's all there is to it. It creates a false expectation that a person isn't going to have to do much to adapt, and won't feel a sense of loss. Yes, we will still be ourselves, but the person they have known isn't always "ourselves" but a blend of that and the persona we'd had to present to society. There will be aspects about *that* person that they can miss.

As someone who has experienced a loved one go through an unrelated but no less transformational trajectory, and be there to support but not have a lot of places to go for personal support, I can relate.

Jill wrote:

"... given that Ms. Brown, the author of the Salon.com piece, was an adolescent at the time of her father's transition, I'm not at all sure that it would be inappropriate to reassure her by noting that you're not going away, that you'll still be there for them, and there won't be another, unfamiliar stranger taking your place."

Yes, but that's a very important distinction, and one that may not have been either made or understood in this situation. Which would explain much of the author's responses. And even so, there is still adaptation needed.

Regarding the original Salon article, it's been a few days since I read it, but IIRC, I seem to remember thinking that there seemed to be a lot of class privilege there, i.e. multiple holidays, mega shopping trips, etc and wondered if that created some level of entitlement for the daughter, some level of overindulgence for the parent (not to mention a dramatic change in visual aspects) and a whole lot of distraction that contributed to the communication not going quite as well as it could have. I could be wrong.

But in terms of loss, please, our loved ones deal with a lot. We have to be able to grant them at least that much.

Edith wrote:

"Essentially, what this woman has done is expose the person she writes in the most public way she could for humiliation in order to vent her angst and grievances. And, she is coming out with a book; that she'll profit from?"

We don't know if that's the case, yet, i.e. if she's written under a pseudonym, or what the full context of the book will be. I didn't find the article in question to be entirely invalid, but more a case of someone who hadn't reached a point of resolution, yet.

just wanted to clarify: Helen Kramer = Helen Boyd. I signed in with the wrong account last night.

SarasNavel, I think you're onto something: a lot of the modelling and narratives come from a time when there was no expectation in a trans person's life that *anyone* would be supportive, and it persists in a way that is not serving any of us, now.

As I mentioned on my blog, I will be writing more about this.

I'm sure every one of you has an aspect of life that if changed, would be a very difficult time, with resentment, anger, fear, and a sense of loss that would take time to rebuild.

For this woman it was her dad's transition.
What's yours?

It occurs to me to wonder if the reactions expressed on here of "oh, poor little spoiled brat", "grow up, sweetheart", etc would be different if Ms Brown were of a similar age to that suggested by respondants' circumstances, ie, having adolescent/adult children, rather than someone who could conveniently be dismissed as "spoiled young idiot?"

As a 25yr old FTM, I realise I run the risk of being similarly dismissed (although I hope people can be more mature than I give them credit for!) when I say that, sometimes, in ANY situation, not just transition, we ALL - young, old, male, female, trans, gay, straight, whatever - need to take our heads out of our backsides & realise that, like it or not, things we do, choices we make, WILL impact and have an effect on those around us. That's in no way meant to imply that I think those choices shouldn't be made, that we shouldn't do the things we need to do to live (reasonably) happy, healthy & productive lives; just that, actually, we should have the grace, the humility, and, yes, the maturity to see that we're not the only people our actions and decisions will affect. People can, and will, be hurt, angered,upset and confused by what we do - and the process of "growing up", as one respondant quite callously puts it, and moving past those initial feelings, takes as long as it takes for each individual - just as the process of coming to a particular decision will take different lengths of time for different people.

I keep a bit of distance between myself & the trans community, because I do see an inherent selfishness, a sense of entitlement; "I've suffered so much, having to live like this, I'm entitled to behave however I want now I've finally decided to be myself." I'm guilty of it; I've hurt people, and I've blamed THEM for their feelings, rather than acknowledging that, actually, there is no blame; I had to do what I did, and that is my right, they feel the way they feel at whatever given moment in time, and that is their right.

In reference to the "death" metaphors; get over your dislike. It can, sometimes, feel very much like a death when someone changes, whether via gender reassignment or in less "overt" ways. That's because "death" goes far beyond the physical ceasing of a human life. I've experienced the literal form of death (of a grandmother, of two friends, one younger, one my own age, of the father of a previous girlfriend, with whom I had a very strong, almost father-son, relationship), and I have also experienced that other form of death; when a friend I had grown up an opinionated Goth with married, had children, & became...mainstream. When a friend in whom I'd found a "kindred soul" in terms of a preferance for sitting quietly alone came back from university brimming with outgoing confidence.When a close friend of mine developed serious mental health problems through drug abuse. When my grandmother developed Alzheimer's. I know that those forms of "death" are merely similar, not the same. I am at no risk of confusing the two. I also know how many of the feelings crossed between the two kinds of loss, to shade and shadow each of them in similar ways. I know the sorrow that comes from both kinds of loss, of "death" - and that takes you by surprise when the person is still alive. I know the guilt I felt, "mourning" someone who was still there, physically.

So...perhaps Ms Brown is being insensitive, "immature" - for, despite what the media would have us believe, we have NOT reached full "maturity" at the age of 22...the legal right to vote, drink & have sex has no relation whatsoever to the kind of emotional and mental maturity needed to handle something as big as transition well. I'm not sure if that maturity ever fully comes, no matter how old a person is chronologically. Perhaps, as many here seem to believe, she is indeed a "spoiled brat" - but that does not mean she isn't also a person, with feelings, and the right to express those feelings. We can all be "spoiled brats" at certain times, about certain things - and yet we all demand our "right to be heard/recognised/ourselves", without a moment's hesitation, or thought that our "brattishness" may have stripped us of those rights.

When I transitioned, I was thrown out of my parents' home. My mother still - 3yrs on - refuses to call me "he", or refer to me as her son. I remain "she", a "daughter", even though my mother's initial anger has cooled, and we now meet face-to-face periodically. I am my parents' only child, and am close to my father, who's acceptance has come, albeit slowly; for this reason, I do not - and will not - demand that my mother interacts with me as I would prefer; she may call me whatever she likes, because no word can alter MY perception and sense of myself. My relationship with my parents, precarious though it still is, matters to me more than a word, even when that word is a pronoun. I hope one day my mother, even if she can never call me "he", can refer to me simply as her "child" - which would not force her to "lose" her sense of our respective roles, which appear to be important to her.

Finally, let me pose a question; would it be better for the trans community if no one ever said or did anything that implied, or made clear, that they felt uncomfortable with our transitions, or were hurt, angered or confused by them, & instead kept all of those toxic emotions inside, bubbling away under the surface, until they either exploded (harming us), or imploded (harming, potentially, someone for whom we care a great deal, as a child/spouse/parent/friend), or is it better for such feelings, such misgivings, to be brought out easily and freely to the light, where we can all look at them, poke them & prod them, discuss them, & offer CONSTRUCTIVE advice on how to handle them - and, eventually, "grow out of" them?

Hi Ash,

I don't want to speculate about this situation any more than Mercedes Allen has. In fact, I don't want to speculate about Danielle or her parent, at all, beyond what was written. It was what was written and how publicly the emotions were expressed that I have a problem with. I am not sure how this got on to Salon but it must have had to go through some kind of screening and approval process. Then, there is the photo of the coffee mug with the lipstick mark and #1 Dad in bold letters underneath rendering Danielle's supposedly post transitioned parent's transition a travesty. How did that get up there? Who put it there? Who designed the page? What is the message being conveyed?

What is the message being delivered to the public about what it means to be transsexual? How many people are there behind the scenes encouraging and reinforcing her lack of understanding? How much is she being rewarded and by whom? Everyone is entitled to their emotions even if they are based on a poor understanding and lack of empathy. Do they deserve a platform is the question. As far as what you said about the death metaphor, do you understand what you are saying and implying? Do you understand your situation? Are you misrepresenting your situation at all?

The whole problem with the umbrella paradigm is that so many people are being pushed under it that don't have very much in common. You being FTM? What exactly does that mean to you? If you are a guy, how would you ever understand the problems I deal with?

This whole story is all very Divorce Hollywood Style kiss and tell. It is peddling stereotype after stereotype. The thing about scandal sheet stories is that the man is always a man and the woman is always a woman whether either one of them has been cheating with a man or woman or a donkey. Here the person who went through all the trouble of becoming female is allowing themselves . . . . well, I'm not even going to finish this sentence. I just don't relate to what she implies being transsexual and going through a transition to female means. I don't relate to the portrayal at all. The insistence that I relate to something that has been totally wrong for me my entire life, which has caused me deep misery, many have written all along this thread I am under obligation to accept. I am tempted to say I am going to remain brave but the perception that my situation has anything to do with courage is totally infuriating. I was born transsexual. Do you understand what that means? How could I sit by and accept a good portion of what has been written here. My life depends on me not accepting a lot of what people here find so easy to accept. I don't want to stand under the same umbrella with them for that reason. No, no, no. Say what you want but my answer will always be NO!


In response to "are you misrepresenting your situation at all?", etc - no, I'm not, & yes, I damn well do understand what that implies. You are more than right when you claim that others cannot understand you - none of us can ever fully understand another, however willingly we try -but I've spent enough time alone, and in the company of a few close, intelligent friends, to have gained an understanding of myself, and of what my interpretations and feelings of a given situation may mean or imply. My feelings on the "losses" which were not deaths, whilst unexpected to me, are what they are - and I have to deal with the conflict that having those feelings in an "inappropriate" situation (ie, when that particular person hasn't died) causes, both when I look at myself, & when I share these feelings with others.

I don't think I actually made any claim at all to understand the problems you deal with, or those that anyone else deals with - but I resent the implication that I often get from the trans community that I now have this wonderful position of privilege, with no problems whatsoever; the position of privilege - as a loved child, a respected friend, an active and respected member of a religious community - was precisely what was stripped from me when I addressed a lifelong feeling of disconnect, of not being who & what the world told me I was, by transitioning. What does being FTM mean to me? Actually, the letters, the label, is just how I "introduce" myself in situations where I'm commenting on trans issues - since, otherwise, I would likely be perceived as "some guy who's got no business even having an opinion on this." (Which sometimes happens anyway.) In my everyday life, I'm Ash, with various skills, knowledge, experiences, limitations and flaws - and, yes, opinions, feelings and situations that others may not care to see represented as I experience them. I don't claim to understand the problems, difficulties and situations of anyone else - not even of other FTMS/trans guys. We are all different, no one else is able to climb inside our heads & experience our lives as we experience them.

As for relating to implied meanings, certain ways of being, etc - no, you are not obligated to accept and relate to anything. Your life is your own, your unique experience, and, if it doesn't gel with things you hear from others, it doesn't. I often use the expression "citizen of nowhere", to describe my own experience of very rarely relating to the experiences, beliefs etc of almost every group I have some kind of connection with - be it the trans community, Goths, Christians, young people... My life has its own meanings and interpretations, and I respect that view from others. But being a "citizen of nowhere" enables me to step back a little from the emotional reactions to things such as the Salon.com piece under discussion, to see it through the light of someone struggling to come to terms with a massive event in their life - and, whatever your interpretation, whatever being transsexual means to you, a parent - or a child, or a spouse - transitioning IS a massive event in anyone's life. Belonging to no particular group, having no particular agenda, I can step back and say "okay, certain aspects of this aren't great, certain things might be considered upsetting or offensive, or just plain wrong, but, yeah, I can see what you're trying to say."
As to "do these people deserve a platform?" my response is; YES. People like Danielle Brown deserve a platform because - whatever other people think about how society "should" be - they are voicing the feelings of others, enabling those others to realise that they are not alone in feeling the way they feel. It's a different sphere, but, when I was a young (late teens) Christian Goth, one of the greatest experiences in my life was finding a blog by another Christian Goth; I'd been told, explicity and implicitly, for so long that I couldn't be what I was, couldn't feel what I felt, that I'd actually attempted suicide; then, finally, I found others who were as I was, who felt the way I felt. Whatever the rights and wrongs (and I don't claim to know everything, so it is likely there will be as many "wrongs" as anything else in my life and my understandings, thoughts and feelings)it was a relief to realise I wasn't alone.
In time, I came to adjust my views somewhat - as Ms Brown may well do - and found I didn't need the reassurance of the existence of others. I "grew up", and became my own person, gained a maturity of understanding, and was able to see the flaws in my early beliefs, the errors of judgement I had made. But this happened organically, and in its own time, not simply because people didn't like what I felt or thought or said or did (many didn't.) But, for people fearing the way they feel, or constantly being told; "Hush! You can't say that!" the existence of others who feel the same way - and give voice to it - is a powerful balm.

Saying that someone has a right to speak is not the same as agreeing with what they say. Saying that I can see where someone is coming from is not the same as condoning them remaining in that place. Acknowledging the reality of someone's feelings is not the same as believing those feelings should go unchallenged. As to "who is behind the scenes of this article?" it may just be possible that no one is - that a young woman is merely stating, for herself, the reality of her own experience. I don't know whether there are or are not others manipulating/enabling/rewarding her, and, if there ARE, then that is wrong, absolutely, and she needs to tell them to step away from her life, to keep their words for themselves. But, if this is simply her experience, her reaction, then, however upset, angry or uncomfortable it makes us feel, she has a right to tell it. Just as anyone else has a right to tell their experience, their truth, and just as anyone has a right to question them on that experience, to challenge the "truth" of their truth.

I do not, and probably never will, be "under the umbrella" of LGBT; they don't want me, I feel uncomfortable with a lot of what is said in that space, we'd probably drive each other mad in a very short space of time; but I will always allow them their platform, will always try and "see where they're coming from", and, while I may disagree with what they say, will defend to the death their right to say it. As I will with anyone.


I don't think I'm "going Godwin" on this and really, why should I allow the accusation that I am inhibit me from saying I get your point to some degree. I follow where the ACLU went in defending the Nazi's right to march down the streets of Skokie. I used the expression hate speech in my first post and said I was going to throw someone's book on a fire. Well, I never threw the book on the fire but I have huge problems with the one who wrote it. That's a different story for a different day. Glenn Beck has the right to say what he wants to but I will condemn Ruppert Murdoch until the bitter end for giving it to him because I know what his motives are. Similarly, I don't think I am off the mark when I say the people at Salon who gave Brown her platform are almost certainly operating from very low motives, as well.

Danelle Brown is obviously a trained writer. Her article was very skillfully written. Not many are given the kind of platform to influence opinion that she has. As I said, she peddled stereotype after stereotype to feed the prejudice of others and promulgate the man in a dress, putting lipstick on a pig image of transsexual>female transition. I have read the article a few times and it is more apparent how she has used her writing skills to create the portrait she has of clownish self indulgence. Brown is not powerless. It is a shame she hasn't used her estimable writing skills to promote a better understanding rather than presenting the very shallow portrayal she has.

Dr Weiss, I tried to find a way to be nice about this, but I can't. So I'll be as blunt as you were in your response to Ms Brown. Your response was one of the most mean-spirited efforts you could have made. You made absolutely no effort to understand what she was saying and you basically lectured her from your position of being older than she!

Ms Brown is lamenting a loss in *her* life. Not yours. You dispute she has a loss - fine. Point out why she hasn't lost the man who raised her; don't nitpick her grief! You disdain her age: "filtering her experiences through the difficult "who am I?" twenties". What? She should wait until she's forty?

Life has a habit of happening to us no matter our age. Ms Brown's eloquent article testifies to her experience and you offer, what, exactly? A mean-spirited riposte.

You pick fault with Helen Boyd over something that she knows a lot more about than you and then you go on to basically say that Ms Brown's experience is invalid because she's still figuring out life. Perhaps she knows who she is? Did you ask her? Or did you merely enforce your own experience upon her depiction?

You do not have to like what Ms Brown has to say, but I'm not so sure you should be so ready to dismiss her as readily as you did, and I certainly don't think you should be dismissing Helen's exhortation with the casualness you display. Not because of who Helen is, but because of her experience and her sensibility.

Ms Brown was not negating your experience as a person; she was describing a little of her experience as the daughter of a transsexual woman. You profess respect for her? Well - show it.

Carolyn Ann