14 Sep 2020

Self-absorbed "allies"

This is such a weird article to be reading in 2020, as a long-form essay featured in the Post. It probably would have come across as relatively progressive ten or fifteen years ago, but it's a weird in-between now: it's fortunately not reactionary or openly and explicitly transmisic, but it's also far, far from the standards that any trans ally (or anyone who pays attention, really) very much knows about how to write about trans people. So it mostly comes across as really self-absorbed.

CN: deadnaming, misgendering, and a lot of judge-y prose

A mother reflects on her long journey of reconsidering her child’s gender

I've read a fair number of these "my child/sibling/parent/friend came out as trans" articles, and there's definitely a way to write them that is honest about one's feelings and honest about the journey while still encapsulating those as a) in the past and b) faulty understandings. This author really doesn't do that. I do believe that she loves her child very much and I do believe that she's trying. But using "Once, we had a boy" as the second sentence in the essay, and referring to the child consistently for several paragraphs with male pronouns and a deadname, set a very bad tone. (I really hope she at least ran this essay past her daughter before publishing it, because otherwise there's a lot of detail in there that is a severe breach of trust.)

I can't tell if she even realises how much of the emotional work she's shifting onto her daughter. "She'd taken my very identity as the mother of a son. 'I get it, Mom', [her trans daughter] said. 'If you decided to transition, I'd feel terrible. I wouldn't have a mother.'" Like, good for the daughter, I guess, at trying to make her mom feel better? But come on. This whole article might be summarised as "Look how good I was at supporting the choices my "daughter" made even though I'm not sure I agree with them." Ughhghghh. There are a couple of individual moments that are nice (and that suggest there's hope for her yet and that maybe she is subconsciously aware of how problematic she is), but she's really looking for a congratulatory pat on the back that she doesn't quite deserve.

"Blessed are the poor, for douchebag Christians will lie about them." --Michael Kimmitt

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Posted by blahedo at 2:22am