November 26th we were invited to a Zoom Thanksgiving with my husband's side of the family. Our four kids surrounded my husband on the video chat and the grandparents proceeded to ask each child questions about school/sports, etc... Except my daughter. They actually asked about our family dog but did not acknowledge our daughter. It was both shocking and gut wrenching all at once.
As they asked about our dog they called his name while acknowledging him. Our daughter, see this as her in retrieved treats and had him jump on the couch next to her...still, no questions for her, no acknowledgement of her existence. As my husband sat in silence (pissed, burning silence) my in-laws decided the call was over. I approached the screen and thanked my sister-in-law for saying hello to her and acknowledged to everyone on the call that her feelings were hurt. Still, no acknowledgment, no amends, no apology.
Between our two families we have seven children and two dogs. On this call six children and two dogs were acknowledged individually- one ten-year-old child was not. My inlaws sat, stunned for a brief moment- you could cut the air with a knife and then, my father-in-law made a joke and the call was over, we slammed the computer lid shut and my husband immediately took her aside to talk to her. When he was finished my older boys flanked her on the floor as if to surround her with love and protection. They asked how she was. Pushing back tears, eyes red and now straight lipped she straightened, became stoic and whispered, "I'm fine."
You know what? She isn't fine. I am not fine. My husband and cis children are not fine. Nor are the trans people across the globe who are living in fear, unaffirmed, rejected and ridiculed. Why are suicide and depression rates high? Because of THIS. It is ridiculous- you acknowledge my fucking dog and can't find the human decency to acknowledge my ten-year-old child?
We sat, we processed, we acknowledged that hurt, shame, anger, fear and sadness are all okay to feel, they should not be suppressed. We do not have to engage with family who does not support and affirm each and every one of our children. More and more I believe that your family of origin is not necessary for a happy, healthy, fulfilled life.
So to all of the trans humans reading this and to those who support them- YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Holidays suck. They are a reminder of your isolation and your otherness. Know that we are right there with you. Happy Transgiving. We are grateful for you, for our community and for your presence in our lives. #fuckthosefuckers