All posts tagged: transgender

“Second Grade” Makes Me Shudder

I’m astounded at the level of learning my second grader is experiencing. I don’t remember reading chapter books in second grade. I barely remember knowing my ABC’s. I certainly didn’t know how to calculate complicated word problems with the inexplicable American coin system, and I sure as hell wasn’t doing multiplication. So I’m impressed. As my second grader grows every more independent (read: irascibly defiant), I constantly think, “Was I this way in second grade at age seven?” And then I remember: I have very little recollection of second grade, because for me, second grade was dealing with a father who was at death’s door from his long-suffering cancer and a mother who was loving but tremendously distracted, as well. And after my father’s death in November of second grade, the rest of the year was dealing with being “Gavin, the kid whose dad died, this year.” That’s quite a realization I’m trying to absorb. Every single time I say the two words, “second grade” I’m transported to a year of sickness, accidents, falling, crying, …

Wait – Is this for Me or Them?

(Disclaimer: this is a long overdue follow-up to my ballet missive from a few weeks ago…reading that first will make a helluva lot more sense.) And then I think, “Wait. I don’t even want my kid to be a ballerina/o. I’m just a cheap SOB who wants free lessons at the most prestigious ballet schools in the country!” (Also, it’s fun to take lessons in the same building as Julliard.) But still – ballet teaches total conformity. No one may stand out, you’re a member of a corps-de-ballet and complete anonymity is the name of the game. I have even experienced that in certain Broadway shows – when you’re part of an ensemble, there might occasionally be time for showing acting expression. But in big dance numbers, wrists need to be uniformly flexed, arms inconspicuously stretched, and jumps need to be measurably consistent. The ensemble often is not a place to stand out – and certainly not in ballet. In my tiger dad moments, I obsess over wanting my children to be leaders, take risks, …

What are You Pansies So Afraid Of?

(Apologies to grammarians for this post’s title ending with a preposition. “Of what are you so afraid?” or “You’re afraid of what, you pansies?” didn’t seem sufficiently direct.) Seriously: what are you so afraid of? So the Supreme Court has upheld Trump’s banning of the trans community from military service. I’m confident this will be over-turned by lower courts since it’s fundamentally backwards and history progresses forward. (I also fundamentally believe that Trump loves to battle the trans community so he can fire up his base in the midst of the Mueller investigation, emoluments, family corruption, etc etc etc. It’s distraction by the master-distracter, himself.) And Trump needs to whip up a frenzy of fear in his base. Because this is all about fear. But fear of what? The entire Republican paradigm is about fear…fear of change, fear of whatever might be un-American (defining “American” in a very narrow context, fear of Iran/Chinag/North Korea/everyone, fear of others, fear of not being the biggest/strongest/fastest, fear of strangers/immigrants/boogeymen, fear of not facing their own demons and whatever …

So That’s Where We Are, Now

Welp, we’ve hit another funky milestone. We’re trying on different pronouns in our household. Before school started, my partner and I asked the big kid, “What would you like to say, this year? ‘He’ or ‘she’?” Kiddo answered sheepishly, “She.” Oh. Okay. So there we are. An hour later, we were discussing my show, Head Over Heels,in which a trans actress plays a non-binary character. My older kid is officially obsessed with this gender-bending character (played by Peppermint, the drag queenfamous for her stellar turn on RuPaul’s Drag Raceas well as for being the first contestant who was outwardly trans beforecompeting on RuPaul.) In the conversation with my kiddo, I had to backtrack withhersaying, “But wait. You know Peppermint is a trans woman playing a non-binary role?” “Yeah! A ‘they’. Like me! I’m ‘they’!” Oh. Okay. So there we are. An hour later, I sat with her/theyand said, “Now, sweetie, do you want me to say something to your teachers about how you want to be addressed?” “Daddy,” she/they said, “can we stop talking about …

Battling the Ballet

My older son’s going through his ”I’m going to put on a dance show for you” phase. I’m the asshole parent who immediately hounds him, “Okay, I’ll watch. BUT – I need to see a beginning, middle and end. We need a storyline, here, kiddo. Also? No more than three songs.” Because Daddy’s got other stuff to do. Oh, and performance standards. No. I’m not exaggerating any of that. Way to take the fun out of everything, Dad. But these dance “recitals” are an unwatchable combination of a bad drag show and, well…I think I can stop there. Just bad drag. Whenever we ask if he wants to take dance, he says, “Daddy, I’m already a great dancer.” Yeah, no. Until this year, we didn’t push it. No need to over-schedule in first grade. But I heard about an excellent dance studio that gives free ballet lessons to boys. And because I’m a cheap SOB, I was all about that. But then, approaching the audition time, I started to go down my normal cerebral rabbit hole …

Being a Gender Hypocrite

I’m sitting, watching both my kids play soccer in summer camp, right now. I can’t believe my gender-fluid kid is playing soccer. I mean, last week, when my younger one took his lesson, the older was impressed there was a girl in his class. So this week? Older was mildly curious. And the next week? Suddenly he’s playing. This is amazing. And stupefying. He insists he doesn’t want to play soccer, but he jumped in with only mild prodding by me just five minutes ago. I want to expose my kids to everything. Being well-rounded makes life so much richer. I loved being a college athlete and artist and academic, simultaneously. I’ve often been conflicted about sports because our culture is already so ridiculously Type-A, competition-obsessed, but I think playing a game and exercise are interests to cultivate. Plus, if you at least know the rules and have basic skills in a sport, life’s just easier and more fun. And less frustrating when you’re stuck at a high school retreat for the student council and …

Just Trust Me

So I’m in a new Broadway show, Head Over Heels, and I’ll be referencing it a lot over coming months. So I figured I might as well write a missive on it. (And have something to which in-depth readers can click.) I don’t know how better to describe this show other than to say: punk Shakespeare set to the music of the Go-Go’s. I know: whaaaat? Just trust me. And “just trust me” is NOT how to sell a Broadway show. Even the most naïve of tourists would be smart to avoid a show whose unofficial slogan could be “I don’t know how to describe it. It’s insightful and heart-warming and thought-provoking and very 2018 and touching and surprising and, well…just trust me. You’ll love it.” But that’s how it goes. It’s hard to sell a show that requires so many near-disclaimers. But I’m confident we will make it. Because this show is good. Really good. Just trust me. The show incorporates several themes of love, acceptance, gender, sexuality, politics, climate change, patriarchy, standards of beauty, …

Major Strides, Minor Paranoia

So it’s been a bit since I stopped to reflect on my family and wonderful trials of parenting. Luckily, I haven’t had major dramas to sort out, all year. How magical is that? But something cropped up, recently. The other night, my older, gender-fluid kiddo went to bed seemingly without a care. Later, my partner poked his head in and kid crying in bed. Though I was in another room, my antennae snapped to. I knew something was up. I poked my head in right as older peanut explained why he was crying to my partner. As an avid reader of my blog, you might recall (ahem) that we had a bit of bathroom anxiety at the beginning of the year, which my kid admirably solved for himself. But unbeknownst to us, he’d been using the girls’ room for the past few months. From what we were able to decipher through the 1stgrade sniffling, our kid peed in the bathroom and another girl (we’ll call her Anna) was “in” the bathroom. For some reason, that …

Screw Normal. Dresses are Fun.

So I wrote in another piece how I often want to say to my son, “Just be a normal boy!” (Disclaimer: I don’t actually say that to him.) And since I talk about this, frequently, with more people than the ½ dozen who read this blog, I’ve had a lot of conversations that checked/schooled/inspired/calmed me. A few that put me at ease and reminded me that my “issues” with my kid’s “issues” are really just my issues. Last year, when I visited a childhood friend in suburban Denver, I gave him a heads-up that my eldest son might want to wear a dress. So my friend gave his own three sons a heads-up: “Guys? So this little boy is coming and he might wear a dress. You guys know that’s ok, right?.” Their response? – “Duh, Dad.” (Followed by eye rolls.) I was not expecting from suburban Denver. Recently I reached out to in-laws with whom we spend a lot of time. Neither they nor their kids had ever acknowledged the fact that my older …