When fathers act like ignorant children.

22Sep09

This post was originally published May 4, 2009 here.

Update: While I feel entirely justified in venting about this when comparing my letter to this email, a few people on WiG did raise a worry in me that my dad could find this blog. While I doubt it would change his supportiveness (I am effectively disowned right now), they pointed out that it could certainly motivate him to take an actively antagonistic role in my situation. Which would cause a lot of problems. So I’ve toned down the annotations and removed most of the worst venting itself.

So, I sent a letter to my dad a while back. That letter worked very hard to soften the blow of my transsexuality while explaining it from a technical, medical, scientific and general standpoint. My father, in his infinite fucking wisdom, decided to take a few chugs out of the big jar of distilled essence of “stupid douchefuck” that we keep in the garage (no idea why, must be a holdover from the 70s)

His response (edited for identity stuff) and with annotated responses added by yours truly:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I cannot get my mind to work through your letter. (This indicates to me that he didn’t really read the entire thing. Further indication comes later)

However, since I am your father I feel obligated to provide this feed back for your use and your doctor’s use.
(This feed back is mostly uninformed and ignorant garbage. It’s pretty apparent he didn’t read the letter or research.)

1. How can your treatment work? (He ignores me describing exactly how it works in the letter)

a. You already realize that your medical problem is irrational. (Probably the only part he actually read and internalized in the letter. x_x)

b. You do an irrational treatment program. (A treatment program is irrational if it does not make the symptoms cease or if it causes the disorder to progress. GID does not progress in dysphoria sources even without treatment, it just continues to wear away at you till you kill yourself or castrate yourself. And transition causes the dysphoria to cease. Ergo transition is not an irrational treatment program. Basically, he’s using buzzwords that he doesn’t fully comprehend in an irrational and emotional reaction. Yes, I’m aware of the irony.)

c. How can an irrational treatment program work to solve irrational thoughts? Two wrongs never make a right. (Thank you for showing us your capacity to use buzzwords that you don’t fully comprehend to make a completely nonsensical argument designed to appeal entirely to irrational emotional states. Thanks too for giving a darn good example of irony. You’d make a brilliant politician, dad.)

2. Second opinion. (How about a third opinion? You know, like what I got. The assumptions are pretty thick here. Notice how he never asks if I’ve done so and so, he assumes I haven’t because the treatment isn’t acceptable to him personally.)

a. This treatment is so radical that a second opinion is warranted. (I recall specifically talking about it being risky and high social impact and that I was taking every precaution. At the very least, he could have used that info to ask, not assume that I wasn’t.)

b. Why hasn’t your so-called Doctor recommended a second opinion? (Um. He did. And I got one. Even if he hadn’t recommended one, I still would have gotten one. I never just trust one doctor. That’s silly.)

c. Does your Doctor even have a medical degree? (Yes. He does. So do the other three doctors I saw and am seeing. PhDs in each of their fields, psychology for two of them, psychiatry/psychology and standard medical/endocrinology for the other two. Why in the fuck does he think I would go to a doctor without a fucking degree? I regularly posit my disdain for getting medical advice or treatment from individuals without medical doctorate degrees because of the complexity of biology. Alt treatments aside, HRT and surgery are major medical procedures and treatments. I would never get advice to do them from a person without the appropriate degrees. At least this one he actually asked, although the question implies he’s already assumed the answer. )

3. Alternate more common sense treatment. (You need to actually make sense first before you can call what you say “common sense.”)

a. Why not work on the irrational thoughts in the first place with a doctor? (This one was verbatim dealt with in my letter. 100% bonified proof that he did not read. I got sort of pissed here and originally caps locked in my annotation, because of how obvious his lack of reading was here. To let you all know, I went to therapy for two years to deal with my dysphoria.)

b. Why not work on your IBS? IBS provides a lot of pain. With pain come irrational thoughts. (There isn’t even an iota of evidence that IBS causes such an extreme reaction as GID. I didn’t explicitly give the order in the letter but he knows that the IBS symptoms started late teens and the letter told him that the dysphoria started far earlier, pre puberty. This is where it becomes even more apparent that he either didn’t read or didn’t think at all while writing this.)

4. You should also change your last name. Please include all documentation your SS card, your drivers license and all insurances. In additional include all entities like the federal government, the state, and your school. (This implies, despite the stuff below that he wants to disassociate me from the family. Pretty screwed up, dad.)

a. A simple search (<my last name> && <my school>) on the Internet reveals the following.

Ø <my female name> <my last name>

Ø <One of my online handles>

Ø <my female name and last name>@<an email provider>

Ø Your picture and a caption at <a university news site>(So? Anyone who does that search is going to see a girl and a girl name. GASP. SHOCK. AWE. You only see a guy and a girl name because you know about my history. Others do not. Others have no reason to. And my old name is not associated with my new name. I have also been cautious to avoid trans association that is traceable online.)

b. What do you think future employers are going to do? The Internet is searched. Especially facebook, and google are the first step in the search of an employee’s background. (And? Employers will find a girl, with a girl name. I don’t even have a facebook. And when I get one, it’ll likely be female based. Besides, employers are about eighty steps ahead of the government in my field and many already have non discrimination policies for trans people. I’ve called several HR departments about it just to check.)

c. For the 2008 tax year you are still considered a dependent on my taxes. For the 2009 tax year you are not a dependent since you moved out in June of 2008. Make your own arrangements now. (This is actually good news, as it helps me for taxes. This was already planned out when I moved so it isn’t like this is an extra indicator of being cut off. He just is treating it like it is, which is pretty disgusting.)

d. You must come off my Health and Auto insurance by your 25th birthday. Make your own arrangements now.
(He’s acting like an asshole again in the wording but this one is actually based on my insurance company itself. Age 25 is the cut off point. Although I have my doubts if he would let me stay on the insurance if it didn’t have a cut off.)

5. Did you ever think about what your actions will do to your family?
(I got pretty upset here too as I went over this in the letter: “Obviously. I waited years and years to even consider moving forward with this. I grappled with being suicidal, with self harm, alcohol abuse and wanting to castrate myself. I got therapy and basically worked my damnest to make sure that every step I took had a minimum social impact. But after a while it became apparent that it wasn’t enough for me to survive. And in the end, I can’t live for other people if it will destroy my own life. I realized it was time to do what was necessary for me, instead of taking my life, becoming a hospital ward or a drunk. None of those would have been good for the family either, so really, you guys were fucked from the beginning. But I have a chance at functionality and happiness. How fucking dare you stand on my throat when I finally take my own damn well being into my hands. Did you ever think about what keeping myself in this state for you guys did to me? Do you give a shit about the state I would be in now if I didn’t transition? Obviously not. Two way street, asshole. If you want me to care about you, you need to care back.” I’m keeping this section because really, even if he finds this blog, this particular statement is the one that upset me the most. He was way out of line saying that when I told him how much I did for the family in my letter.)

6. You need to stay away until further notice. Do not visit. Do not call. Do not e-mail me.
(There’s a mild possibility that this has to do with his job but really, I doubt it. I think he just doesn’t want contact.)

7. You may contact your mother via e-mail. You may prearrange a call with her when I am not home.
(The previous assessment being because of this statement.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So there you have it. This is the man that I used to regard as a parent. Little hard to see him as one now, when he’s acting like an insolent child. I haven’t contacted him. I don’t see the point. Even if he gives me that “further notice” he alluded to I really don’t know if I want to contact someone who treated me like he did. Notice the lack of “love, dad” in there. That’s normally in every email from him. So it’s readily apparent how I’m viewed now.

I am understandably bitter.

Go here to read the comments on the original post.



6 Responses to “When fathers act like ignorant children.”

  1. 1 Barb

    I’m so sorry.

  2. 2 notthemarimba

    I just came across your blog and have been reading through your back posts (because they’re great). I cried reading this. I know I’m just a random stranger on the internet but I am so sorry your father is acting in such a hurtful and horrifying manner. Hugs if you want them.

  3. Thank you. I’ve been getting through it. He and I weren’t intensely close so that makes it easier.

  4. Doing what is healthy for you is the only thing *you* control. Everyone else is in control of how they do/don’t accept it. Some of how they react has legal/ethical ramifications. Discrimination is never acceptable on the basis of whichever, “class,” of person we belong to, i.e., Gender, Gender Identity, Orientation, Race, Religion, Disability, etc.
    That said, I’ve dealt with a toxic parent. Toxic to my mental and physical health, toxic to my soul, not because of overt violence, but non-acceptance and complete denial of my experience and existence.
    Hard as it is, and searing as it is, I came to accept: Some day, he’ll be dead. The person who tried with every breath to deny that I was his responsibility, or that I was even his child, will no longer be able to lie about me. I take comfort from that. Morbid as it is, it’s hopeful to me.
    When a person who is supposed to love you unconditionally, doesn’t, what do you do?
    You find people who will.
    It’s bitter solace, but we salvage what we can.
    Take care of you.

  5. I’m so sorry.

  6. 6 dctranscoalition

    Wow, the similarity between this and the letter I got from my own parents is astounding. It’s nearly a point-by-point copy, although mine ended with a word-for-word copy of a paragraph from the Bible. But same “why haven’t you tried therapy? did you ever think how this would affect your family?” etc.

    Mine was also an e-mail response to an (absurdly long!) letter disclosing my transsexuality, and also ended with a “don’t come home.” I’m sorry this happened to you, and to me, and so many others. :( It’s scary how much of an obvious pattern it is, and how the cissexist logic used most of the time is so similar or exact.
    -Sadie


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