F*** You, Jerry Springer.

jsA 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.

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12 thoughts on “F*** You, Jerry Springer.

  1. I know your daughter is young and this could change, but Rite Aid has a generic Rx program that offers the lowest prices on the anti-androgen and estrogen for medical transition at a cost of less than $30/month. The hormones are relatively inexpensive. Lupron and the other puberty blockers are expensive, but some parents are successful in getting insurance to cover the cost, Also, Obamacare is supposed to remove the discriminatory barriers for trans*related medical services. Just wanting to ease your mind on the costs.a bit.

    • A quick update: there are two other generic Rx programs with hormones available at very low cost. WalMart has spironalactone, estrogen, and testosterone on their $4/30 day supply list; and Albertson’s MyRxCare program lists all three in their generic program, too. Depending on the dosages needed, you may be able to get the necessary prescriptions for less than $10/month.

  2. Have you ever thought of doing some sort of crowd sourcing? Like get a page together where people can donate whatever they could to help? I know a lot of trans* people do crowd sourcing to help them pay for their transition, and it seems to work pretty well! Plus, I think a lot of people would be more than willing to help out 🙂

  3. Bravo to you! Back in 1989 I was a guest on a Geraldo show (before the show where the guy threw the chair at Geraldo.) I saw from the inside how guests are manipulated to draw out the heightened emotions and audience vitriol that talk TV loves. I’m sure now it’s far worse. Good for you!

  4. The tabloid media sucks, and I’m sorry you’re having to deal with that unwanted attention. However, I do have to admit that I learned about trans people and treatments from afternoon talk shows like Donahue, Maury Povich, Rikki Lake, etc. Before I saw episodes about trans people, I was much more confused about my feelings of being a girl in a boy body. I was very thankful to find out that there was a name for it, other people who felt similarly, and treatment options. Growing up in a small rural town in the middle of the country, I didn’t have access to much other info about the subject.

    There is good reason to hold onto hope that hormone meds and even trans surgeries will be available to M., when she’s ready for them, if they’re not already. If you have the opportunity to choose Kaiser Permanente as your medical service provider, I can say that they have been great to me. Of course, I’m in the SF Bay Area, but I know that they have also made positive changes in Colorado, and earlier this year they opened up a trans clinic in Oakland to provide the services and surgeries trans people need. The clinic will serve all trans Kaiser patients from across the country. Not ideal if you’re not nearby, but an awesome first step by them. I was given an easy and straightforward path to hormone meds last year, even before the clinic opened, and I only have a small co-pay for them. A California regulatory agency has required that all trans-related coverage exclusions be removed from group medical insurance policies, and Kaiser moved quickly following this to remove barriers for some common surgeries — bottom surgery for MtF and FtM, and top surgery for FtM. I have friends who have been challenging Kaiser to provide other MtF surgeries such as breast augmentation and facial feminization, too, but it’s not clear whether they’ll go that far yet. Although, in M’s situation, she shouldn’t need those since she’ll get female hormones right on schedule when she hits puberty, and won’t have to suffer from the effects of testosterone.

    I know it’s hard, but you’re doing great with all of this, gendermom!

  5. The thing is that the world generally has a negative image and a prurient interest in transsexuals because of the stereotyping and sensationalism from entertainment programs like Jerry Springer’s. We all know that programs like that are only interested in high ratings and not in treating an important social issue with sensitivity and compassion. Gendermom, you made absolutely the right choice. Perhaps one day, your daughter and others like her will be in a far more accepting world. It is now better than it used to be, but we have a long way to go. I am a Kaiser customer/patient and they are quite aware that I am a TS female and have been great with hormones and general care. Yes, it would be great if Kaiser covered the surgical needs, but there are those health insurance programs that do and perhaps in time that, too, will be more common than now. Hang in there. Your daughter is soooooooooooooooo lucky to have you as a mom.

  6. I,too, am the single mom of a trans girl. My daughter is 13 and while I applaud the bravery of trans kids like Jazz and Josie Romero (among many others), I have chosen a quieter path for my daughter. Unable to deal with the bullies and negativity of elementary school; we started middle school in a new city where she is simply another girl walking down the hall. She has never been happier. She is making friends, doing well in class and “going stealth” has been the right move for her. I know the temptation to go public for money must be very strong for some parents. But, once you do, that is a bell that cannot be un-rung. My daughter started puberty blockers this past summer and between her therapist, endocrinologist, GP and all the tests, Meds and the expensive implant itself….I have over $7,000 in unpaid, accumulated medical bills. This is only the beginning. I am terrified of the expenses when she is ready for HRT. I also accept that this is MY problem and I will not sell her happiness to solve it. Kudos to you for taking care of M and thank you for sharing your blog. I read every word and find comfort in knowing you “get it”.

    • LeahRina just so you know, T blockers if needed and estradiol are less than $30/month combines when you shop around. Injected estrogen is $50/3 months from a compounding pharmacy. Finally, the best GRS surgeons are in Thailand where surgery runs around $8000 and is awsome. We just launched our post op 18 yo trans daughter into the world.

  7. Goes to show how stupid people are. This is just a new variant on what used to be all the brouhaha about gay people and the supposition that you could “catch” it like the flu virus as opposed to the fact that it’s obviously predetermined. In this day and age, I find it both astounding and, quite frankly, disillusioning that people are still so morbidly fascinated by issues that are none of their damn business and want to parade people who deviate even one iota from what is the “normal” du jour like a damn circus freak show.

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