The Mother Yarns: Episode four
Raising a transgender child
Welcome to The Mother Yarns episode four! In this episode we speak to Jane*.
Jane’s daughter M* came to her about a year ago, when she was seven, and said she “didn’t want to be a boy all the time”. Prior to that she had said she didn’t feel like she had a gender.
This is Jane’s story of how they handled this as a family who didn’t know much about what it is to be transgender or much about gender at all. To me it’s a story of a family loving each other and supporting each other - like any other family. It’s about learning and doing the best you can to let your kids be who they are.
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“Life is just so much easier [now]. I didn’t realise how much she had been struggling with this and for how long” - Jane.
In this episode she shares how the family talked about gender, moving between pronouns, and the way her daughter being able to be who she is has changed their lives.
Let’s talk about some of the terminology we use in the podcast. These descriptions are from Gender Minorities Aotearoa.
Transgender - An umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from what is culturally typically associated with the gender/sex they were assigned at birth. People under the transgender umbrella may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms or may simply use transgender. Some of those terms are defined below.Some people who fit this definition may not consider themselves to be under the transgender unbrella or transgender. Use the descriptive term preferred by the individual.
Cisgender - Prefix or adjective that means not trans. Cisgender people identify more or less with the gender assigned to them at birth. In discussions regarding trans issues, one would differentiate between women who are trans and women who aren’t by saying trans women and cis women. Cis is not an insult, but a neutral descriptor – much like heterosexual is to homosexual.
Sex - The system for assignment and classification of people as male or female based on imprecise perceptions of their physical anatomy – generally the appearance of their external genitalia at birth. Sex is not fixed or immutable, and no single criterion (e.g. genitals, chromosomes, hormones, fertility) definitively describes one’s bodily shape or configuration.
The Gender Binary - Similar to the sex binary, the gender binary is an incorrect system of viewing gender as consisting solely of two categories, termed male and female, in which no other possibilities for gender or anatomy are believed to exist. Gender is not fixed or immutable, and no physical criterion (e.g. genitals, chromosomes, hormones) defines one’s gender. Gender is experiential, and only the person themself can define their gender. The gender binary system is oppressive, and is a cause of marginalisation for people who do not fit within the gender binary.
Rebecca, Jane and I are all cisgender and we are speaking from that position. We are not experts on being trans. The only experts on being trans are trans people. Gender Minorities Aotearoa have amazing resources online for you to read.
*For privacy reasons Jane and her daughter have pseudonyms. It’s a devastating reality that parents and children are often targeted with abuse, harassment and death threats when they talk publicly about being transgender or having a transgender child. We thank Jane for her immense bravery in speaking to us and we honour M for her courage.
Thank you to Kiki and Jason from Giantess for their song: The News. Listen to Giantess on Spotify. Kiki is a mama living in Wellington and we are so excited to share her music with you.
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