Happy Father’s Day to those who celebrate. There are many wonderful, caring fathers who have been, and continue to be, supportive and loving.
A bit fewer if you are a Gender or Sexual Minority (LGBTQ+). Some 40% of homeless youth are GSM children who were thrown out of their homes, before the age of majority, for the sin of being LGBTQ. The use of the word “sin” here is intentional. Many of the parental bullies are “Christians” in the worst sense of the word. Some kids leave home to avoid the constant barrage of abuse at home.
I’ve had someone (NOT my dad) try to “pray away the gay” in me. It was never consensual, and always felt like abuse, even though the perpetrator called it love. Screaming at me, saying I was controlled by Satan (really big show of this in front of my children), slapping me, hard, on the forehead (laying on of hands), screaming, screaming, screaming about how evil I was.
It’s taken me years to heal from this “love.”
I am still healing from my father. I tried for decades, literally, to have a relationship with him, but it never happened. When I transitioned, I told him among the first, and his response was, “I could never reject my child.”
A few months later, I had him, his current wife, and my sister over for our traditional New Year’s Dinner. It doesn’t happen every year, but often, my sister comes with her family for a visit around then, I make a big eggplant Parmesan with my kids, a good time is had by all.
This was my first year as Cass. “Just don’t let me see you in a dress.” I wore khaki pants, top, light makeup.
At this dinner, his wife created a scene. Serious Amy Cooper bullshit. I met her eyes and saw clear intention. This woman came to divide me from my father.
So, what about my dad, the man who could never reject his child? It was literally the first thing he did. I don’t think he necessarily agreed with my step-mother, but he sure went along. White men have no spine, and he is the perfect example. I wrote him a letter after, where I called her abuse out in no uncertain terms. We haven’t spoken much or seen each other since.
A few days ago, my dad “accidentally” called me, as he does sometime.
“Well, I’m here anyway. How are things?”
I proceeded to tell him how I lost employment after being targeted for being trans, but I was busy organizing for several social justice causes, and hand-making cloth masks, which I give away for free to those who can’t afford him.
My father immediately chimed in about my job situation with dear, fatherly advice: “Well, you should have thought of that before you…”
I cut off the phone call there, with a loud, angry F-bomb. Not one of my more graceful moments, I admit, but seriously. I transitioned, literally, when it became a slightly better option than dying.
Dear dad, should have thought of it before I transitioned? You mean, like the 40 years of living in the closet, since I was 8, afraid of how people would treat me if I came out?
Do you mean my whole marginalized adult life, never able to settle down to anything permanent? Perhaps you were referring to the multiple suicide attempts, or my years of way too much LSD, when I was literally trying to fry the trans out of my brain? Looking back, I’m only glad my dedicated path to self-destruction didn’t hurt anyone else on the way. Unless I did.
I have literally, my entire life, never stopped thinking about how other people would treat me when I transitioned. This kind of thinking almost killed me, multiple times over.
Dear dad, I did not transition in ignorance. I literally spent my whole life working up the courage to be myself, fully and unapologetically.
I am not the problem. Bullies and haters are the problem. Parents who blame their kids for existing are the problem.
Mutual support, love and real community are the solution.
I will never speak to my father again. All it does is drain my energy and leave me feeling frustrated. If you aren’t ready to grow up, I can no longer carry you along.
We in the LGBTQ community have used family language to describe our found family. This is why. I am a proud trans mom to a number of LGBTQ youth, and I will do anything I can for them.
Congrats to those with a good dad. Cherish it.
To the rest of us, there is still love in the world. Find it, cherish it. You are valued.
We can do so much better for our LGBTQ youth. Let’s.
Live in Love!
I am CAM.