The other day I heard a school official use the words “until he is finished transitioning”. This was in regard to a transgender student. This is not the first time I have heard this maddening phrase or sentiment. When my son was a student at Bolingbrook High School I tried to work civilly with the school to get him bathroom rights. I was asked by school officials if he had “finished transitioning”. This goes back to the myth that some cisgender people have that genitals and sex is the gold standard in determining gender. It’s not only not true, but it is a lie told by some cisgender people.
In states like Alabama, a transgender person cannot get a state ID with their proper name and gender on it unless they have had gender reassignment surgery. Where my son and I live, you do not need surgery to get a corrected state ID or birth certificate. Though some schools will not put your kid’s name on the roster correctly until they have a legal name change, per the rules in the Illinois State Board of Education, it is not required.
So when is someone “finished transitioning”? This is not even a thing and it puts a cisgender standard on transgender and gender non conforming people. Further, I feel like this is a trap. This idea that to be a real transgender man or women worthy of being recognized by your correct name and gender, you need to have bottom surgery is a lie. Because even if you do have that surgery, TERFs and GOP politicians will still not accept you as a “real” woman or man. The goalposts of acceptance are constantly on the move.
My son and my transgender, gender fluid and others living beyond the binary loved ones do not owe you anything. They are not obligated to live by a cisgender standard steeped in ignorance allowing one to feel more comfortable in their suburban bubble (or rural or urban bubble for that matter).
I know some transgender people who have had bottom surgery and some that have not. I also know some transgender people who are on hormone therapy and some that are not. There are also transgender people I know that place a high value on passing and others that do not. This list could go on. These are all choices completely up to the individual and it has no bearing on the validity of their names, their pronouns or their gender.
I have fluid friends who look fabulous with a beard and a skirt. I know a fluid person who prefers the pronoun she. I’ve a friend who is trans and is older than me. She has never taken any T and often has a 5 O’clock shadow. She is every bit a woman as any woman I know and it is maddening to hear the ignorant call her a “guy in a dress”.
My closing thought is this.
My son does not have to have genital surgery to be a man.
My son does not have to disclose to anyone details about his genitals.
My son does not have to “pass” to be a man.
My son does not have to disclose his pronouns ahead of time so you are not confused. (Frankly, this putting ownice on trans and fluid people to disclose gender to suit you is akin to slapping a Star of David on a jewish person in my mind. Screw that.)
My son’s gender is not determined by your standard.
No transgender person or person living beyond the binary is beholden to the cis community to live by cis standards that are in conflict with the proper definitions of gender. And the cisgender do not have the right to suppress their civil right or their gender.
My answer to the statement “when he is finished transitioning” is as follows:
For the last three years my son and I have been on this journey together. We have been going to one of the world’s leading gender clinics. It has some of the world’s foremost experts on this matter. I have never once hear them use the phrase finished transitioning or completed transition. Please tell me your qualification sin this field and expound on your definition. In the meantime, don’t screw with my kid’s rights based on your incorrect standard. My son is a man. His proper pronouns are he and him and his. I would say he’s finished because he always was and is.
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