Binge watching

I’m binge watching my way through three seasons of the hit show Transparent. Thanks C!!! 

Have you seen it?  This is a really good show, each episode makes me feel a slightly different way about the characters – they’re all so complex and so very human. 

Last night I watched the last four episodes of Season One, the references to the LGBT scene in pre-nazi Germany had me intrigued – was there any historical basis to this plot line?

Many of the scenes of Berlin take place in or around the Institute of Sex Research. The Institute, run by Magnus Hirschfeld–who is also featured throughout the season–was a real thing in Germany from 1919 to 1933

Click below to read more

https://www.google.co.nz/amp/s/milk.xyz/articles/a-guide-to-transparent-season-twos-historical-lgbt-plotline/amp/?client=safari

A fortunate life

I’ve led a very fortunate life, the older I get the more I’ve become aware of just how fortunate.   When I look back at all the hardships and the struggles (and there’s been a few Grade A struggles I promise you!) what I see is this long line of people who have offered me hope, support and mentoring along the way.  I didn’t always take these gifts, often I didn’t even see them as gifts!  But they were definitely there.

One such person is Val, our wonderful kindy owner.  Val has written a piece below that I’d like to share with you.                         

I am writing this from the perspective of an Early Childhood Teacher.  I have worked closely with Izzy and her mum for almost two years.

Reflecting on that time, Izzy was clearly confused by the messages she was receiving from society in general and the adults around her – though they were done from motives of love and concern for her, they were clearly at odds with her gender identity.

Since her parents (based entirely on their deep knowledge and understanding of their child, and supported by a specialist trained in the area) made the courageous and wise decision to recognise her female identity, I have been astonished at the transformation!  

Izzy went from being a child who arrived at pre-school each morning with bent head and downcast eyes, wearing her mother’s t-shirts over her jeans, to an overnight and radical change – she arrived to kindy as a child proud and standing tall, meeting my eyes, and above all, glowing with happiness.

What a joy and a privilege to be a small part of such a profoundly life-enhancing event!  It seemed utterly right and natural to listen at last to the messages Izzy had been giving us for so long.

Izzy is a girl with every fibre of her being and for her parents I have only admiration.  They all deserve every happiness.

Izzy is truly blessed by their devotion and love.

Val

Those my friends, are the words of a really amazing lady.  We count our blessings daily to have her in our lives.  Thanks Val.

Details, details

Every time I take Izzy to the after hours doctor (we’re here now) I have to write her birth name and a note saying “please use the name Izzy and female pronouns”.  My palms get damp and I feel sick.

It’s always ok, but each time I feel so nervous and I think how horrible it must be for older transgender people in these situations.

I haven’t figured out a way to get around the name used on her prescriptions, every time the pharmacist calls out her birth name.  So far Izzy’s never heard this, and by the time she’s old enough to collect her own prescriptions her name, and I hope, gender will be legally changed but you’d think the doctor could sort something out – all it would take is a note added to the prescription.

Finding yourself in the right place

Oh what a day.  It started this morning with the realisation Freddie wouldn’t be going to school and needed to see a doctor.  Followed closely by a text to my mum, at some ungodly hour before 8am, asking her if she could come to look after Freddie AND pick up Izzy after kindy as usual.  Eeccchhh.  We all went to the doctors, glands up on both kids but no sign of strep throat, phew.  Off to kindy with Izzy, dropped Freddie home just as mum arrived, and sped up to school for work.

It’s the last full week of school, and life there is predicatably crazy.  I was immediately relieved that Freddie was at home, the scene was of happy chaos.  Just as I found my class I had a message that the Principal was looking for me.  How the hell do those words still have the power to make me sweat??  Up I trudged to the office and was waved in.  

Well, Principal had some great news.  She’d had a meeting with someone from the Education Dept, and it had gone really well and she’d learnt alot.  You know, sitting there listening to Principal tell me about it, about how she was preparing for my child to start school, I had to count my lucky stars that this is where I was.  Where we are.  Where Izzy will be. 

When we were checking out the schools in our area for Freddie (we had four to choose from, all decile 9 and 10) we heard lots of things about our school – it’s the hippie school, it’s where those sorts of kids go, it not for everyone.  Schools sold themselves on their IT programs, their open plan, state of the art classes.  They talked about their plans for expansion, their dress code, their sporting prowess. The other Principals told us about their teacher’s career paths, their assessments and test stats, the expectation that our child enrol in extra-curricular activities provided through the school.  We heard all about how kids with special needs usually go to this ‘other’ school.  On more than one occassion we were told those sorts of families tend to choose this ‘other’ school.  Then we went to this other school.  We met the Principal and for the first time we heard someone talk entirely about THE KIDS!  We heard that every kid matters.  That no child would miss out on ANYTHING due to lack of finances.  We were told, as matter of fact, that we could pay our fees in installments if we wished, or if we needed help paying – that would be provided.  It was made very clear that every child was welcome here.  We heard that kids were allowed to be kids at this school, and we liked it.  We saw that the roll was diverse, it represented real life in NZ.  Without any doubt, we picked this school – and today, again, I was sooooooo happy that we had.

So first thing next term we will meet again and hammer out the details.  I am totally confident we are in the best place.  Honestly, Izzy couldn’t be more fortunate – we’ve had the most amazing kindy team support us and now prepare to head in to a school that is determind to do everything they can to ensure Izzy is safe, supported and able to succeed.  Just like every other kid that walks through their doors.

If there’s one thing I want my kids to understand – it’s that EVERYONE matters.

The other cool news is that we have the paper work for Izzy’s name change (birth cert).  This is the first step in changing her official documents, and is pretty straight forward.  All we need is a JP to witness our proof of identity and signitures, and Izzy can get her new name on her birth cert.  From there we apply for her passport, with the new birth cert, a letter from her psychiatrist and a declaration from us, she will then be in possession of an identity document with her new name AND affirmed gender, with no mention of either of the old!  Izzy will start school with an official document stating she is FEMALE!!!!!  

Now THAT will be cause for celebration!

Time won’t stand still

Each day, no matter how great (or how exhausting) is another day closer to our bubble popping.  To Izzy’s bubble popping. Click here for a quick reminder of what our bubble is all about.

When Izzy turns five and starts school, we’ll be saying goodbye to the safe, loving, controlled world of our wonderful kindergarten.  We’ll be leaving behind (though I hope we’ll keep in touch) one of the most amazing woman I’ve ever met.  (I often think about how I could write a post to do this woman justice, I hope I figure it out soon.)  We’ll also say goodbye to three incredible early childhood teachers, and a small handful of relieving teachers who are without exception, great.  The familar smiles and greetings of the other mums.  I don’t want to leave this place behind.

But it’s not about me, is it.  My fears and my attachments are just that – mine.  Izzy is strong.  Izzy is strong because she comes from a loving family.  Izzy is strong because she will have spent two years, before entering the school system, in a kindy that loves, affirms and supports her – whatever that took.  Izzy is stong because Izzy is strong.  She’s an amazing child.

Izzy and I have been talking strategies.  Casually!  Hey Iz, so if a kid at school is like ‘You’re not a girl, you’re a boy’, what would you say?  ‘I’d just say I’m a girl’.  ‘That’s awesome!  What if they were being twits and they were like ‘No, you’re a boy!’?’  ‘Mum, I’d just walk away.  I’m a girl.’

I asked Izzy who she could go to if she felt hurt or upset by something someone said or did to her.  She named straight off four adults at school who are EXACTLY the people she should go to.  She instinctively knows, or I guess she’s just really bright and has worked it all out:).

I asked Izzy where she would prefer to get changed for swimming (twice a week in term one and four).  She said she’d like to get changed in private, she didn’t want the girls to see she what she has.  I’ve tried really hard never to make her think having a penis is something to be ashamed of, but still, deep down she is well and truely concious that this is the difference between her, and other girls.

I’ve been talking to Izzy about how everyone has something about them that is different in someway.  When I was a kid my ears stuck out.  Like really stuck out.  Now I actually have no memory of this bugging me, or being teased about it, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t, I must ask my mum.  Anyway when I was about nine I had an operation to ‘pin’ them back. Not for  a second am I comparing the effect of having jug ears to that of gender dysphoria, but my point to Izzy was that there was nothing inherently wrong with my ears, they just stuck out more than most other people.  I’m not making this sound quite how I mean it, but I read this amazing post yesterday, you can read it here, from the blog Growing Up Transgender which says exactly what I’m trying to.  Reading it,  I realised how important it is to verbalise – Izzy wasn’t born in the wrong body.  I quote from that post:

You are not a girl in a boy’s body.

This is your body, and you are a girl.

So I told her this, and you know what she said?  She said ‘Mum, I’m a person, just like everyone else.’

I’m not saying I can possibly know my child’s mind, and I know one could read all sorts of things into what she says – she’s trying to please me…  but it’s just possible that this kid, who happens to be transgender, is strong.  This kid is going to make it.  Because this kid has a family who adores her.  This kid has a Dad who loves her.  A brother who will fight for her.  She’s going to make it because this kid is supported by five grandparents, loved and affirmed by aunties and great aunties, cousins and second cousins.  She has a community of people behind her, medical professionals, education professionals, mums, dads and friends.  This kid isn’t treading a brand new path, she’s following in the footsteps of the courageous.  The world is ready for her.  And last, but not least – this kid is going to make it, because her mum won’t accept anything less.