A few weeks after I began this blog, I started getting emails from reporters wanting to interview me or put my child on TV. Apparently the very idea of a young trans child is still novel enough to make headlines. I’m not surprised by this. In general my experience thus far is that people are fascinated to learn that my five-year-old daughter is transgender. “Wow,” they say. “Wow.”
A British tabloid emailed and said they wanted to publish a story about us. They were even offering me money! For about three seconds, I was sorely tempted. I’m a single mom, I work in a fairly low-paid profession, and my kid is in private school. I’m also very aware that my child’s trans-related medical expenses are unlikely to be fully covered by insurance. Could I justify selling our story in order to fund hormone treatments and gender reassignment surgery?
While I was mulling this over, I got another email. Like the one from the British tabloid, it was earnest and sympathetic: “Your blog is so honest and open that I wanted to reach out,” the woman wrote. She was a TV producer doing a show about transgender kids. She said she had a young child herself, and she wrote compellingly about how we could work together to help other parents of transgender kids who are “unaware of the resources and growing support that’s out there.”
So I looked up her show online. I found a few clips of previous episodes on YouTube. They had classy titles like this:
“I cheated on my husband with my daughter’s girlfriend!”
“Cosmetic surgery disasters!”
“The Man with Five Wives!”
The show’s website proclaimed proudly that it had “the same production team behind The Jerry Springer Show.” Of course.
The Man with Five Wives?? Is this really the context in which the world places my perfect, precious child? This knocked me off-center, friends. It really did. After watching those YouTube clips, I sat on the living room couch for a long sad time, trying to absorb the impossible idea of my beautiful child as circus-side-show sensation.
Of course, I said no, to the TV producer as well as the British tabloid. My child ain’t for sale and never will be. I’ll have to figure out another way to pay for the hormones.