The biggest difficulty of the weekend is that the kids decided to open up the question of Lyn’s gender. It all started when I brought up a person they had met the night before who is a transman. Our almost six-year-old daughter, Leigh, had asked me at the event we were at if this person was a man, noting that he was wearing clothes that looked like a man, but that other things about him looked like a woman. I said that I thought that he was a man, and that we could ask if she was feeling unsure. That morning, I wanted to clarify and give her a way to ask someone if she wasn’t sure (to say what pronouns she uses for herself and ask what pronouns she could use with them) and the emphasize that we don’t ask lots of other questions (our dear daughter is very very nosy!). Given the gender opening, our three-year-old son came out with “Ima [what he calls me] is a woman, Mama [what he calls Lyn/Ezekiel] is a man.”
Lyn/Ezekiel and I went a bit wide eyed and just waited for the moment to pass, but our daughter can’t do that, so she starts insisting Mama is definitely a woman and looks to me to back her up. I can’t really do that, so we’re all a bit stuck. Just for context, lying is just something that we don’t do in our family. We haven’t talked about Lyn/Ezekiel’s gender stuff with the kids at all, other than noting that Mama has been wearing more masculine clothes and that that is OK. Our children know other trans and genderqueer people so they have that context, but Leigh has really struggled with wanting everyone to conform strictly to gender norms. We’re working with her on it, and she’s made a lot of progress in the last year.
So it is with this context in mind that you should imagine our daughter insisting Mama is a woman and looking to me for help. Eventually Lyn/Ezekiel said to her that sometimes she feels like a bit of both and the moment moved along. Later in the day, when Lyn/Ezekiel felt a bit more composed and less tense, she talked to Leigh about it again, told her that she really wasn’t sure which she was but that she’d be sure to tell her when she knew and that Leigh should try not to worry about it. At that time Leigh basically begged her to stay a woman. So it was a tough interaction, and gives us a sense of where Leigh is right now. It’s not unexpected, given that Leigh actually has expressed before that she wishes her littler brother could become a girl so that we would be a whole family of girls!