Here’s my Belated Blog Against Heteronormativity Post. Go here for all the others.
When I told my mother I was bisexual, she said, “That’s nice! You’re flexible.”
I think my parents think they’ve lucked out. In fact, they’ve used those words. They were raised by four people who probably wouldn’t have considered divorce under any circumstances, and certainly not for little things like incompatibility. My mother was raised severely Catholic. She told me recently that even now, lapsed though she is, she still has trouble thinking of any spouse but the first spouse as the “real” husband or wife. She has to force herself to say “ex.” As far as her origins were concerned, divorce didn’t even rise to the level of sin; it simply didn’t exist.
My parents were the first generation that started getting divorced all over the place, and they are one of the only couples they know who have not separated to pair up with other people. Growing up, I was one of the only kids I knew whose parents still lived together. My parents seem to see themselves as extremely fortunate to have formed a durable marriage the first time out, like they managed to produce the last of a species that underwent a crucial mutation just a few years later.
They see their children, especially their queer child, as having to negotiate options that are much more complicated. While they do not believe that marriage as it is now is worse or degenerate, they seem to believe that it is harder, and that it carries greater potential for loneliness. Their anxiety about me in particular was inflamed by my shy, bookish, freakish self. I didn’t give them much reassurance that I wouldn’t live a monkish life.
That’s why my mother was gratified to hear that I was bisexual, and why she had been less pleased to hear that I was lesbian as opposed to straight. Fewer lesbian women than straight men equals fewer opportunities for her precious baby to find the loving partner [he] deserves. Bisexuality offers better odds.
When I told them that I was transsexual, they panicked. Although they had countless worries about transition, the biggest one was how hard it’d be for me to get anyone to sleep with me. “I’m just worried that, you know, people won’t know what to, people will meet you and they won’t understand how…” accompanied with a vague gesture towards my body. Although they never actually came out and said You’ll be a freak and no one will want you and you’ll die alone! that was the implication.
Obnoxious though these arguments were, I understood completely. I thought I’d never get laid again. It took months of seeing ftms online and thinking, Hey, I want to sleep with that guy! Too bad he’s married! before I finally convinced myself that life as a transsexual wouldn’t be long spells of loneliness broken by one-night stands with humiliation.
There was never any question that they would stop loving me. They just think that transsexuals have really crappy odds. They never thought of their kid the transsexual as a lesser person. They were just worried that transsexuality would keep people from seeing their kid for the wonderful person [he] was.
There are a whole lot of problems with this attitude towards tranny eligibility, one of them being the fact that I internalized it myself. But. I know that if I announced to them that I was setting up house with a tg butch leather daddy, a radical nudist, and a weekend yiffer, they would want to know one thing first: “Will you be happy?”
And I appreciate that. I really do.