My child is not a predator

sprinklerMy last post, about M.’s schoolmate finding out that she was transgender, got some pretty strong responses – some of them not very nice. Some people leapt to the conclusion that my child was walking around exposing herself to random children at school, that these kids were being traumatized by this, and that when these children were telling the adults about it, we were calling them liars. Sigh. If that were happening, it would indeed be a big problem. I’d be upset and would address it. But it’s simply not the case.

Every adult in this situation is being very respectful of each child, is taking them seriously, and wants those kids to be heard and supported. My child does have a penis, but that doesn’t make her some sort of predator; I received emails that seemed to be lumping her in a category with creepy men in trench coats flashing themselves at innocent children. These emails seem to ignore the fact that she is a very young child whose body is still a wonder to herself. She finds it fascinating and strange, as do other young children, that there are different types of bodies, but she assigns no shame or sexual role to any person’s body parts. She is very aware, however, that adults seem to place a lot of emphasis on the type of “parts” people have under their clothes. And she knows that she is a girl with “the wrong parts.” She also knows (and this part makes my heart ache) that people may tease her, exclude her, or worse, if they find out. This realization came to her sometime in the past year, and it has meant that she is now extremely private about her privates. Of course, that’s appropriate: Kids shouldn’t be showing each other their private parts at school – and my child is very aware of this. But it saddens me that she has to be so much more careful – and fearful – than other children do about their bodies.

Last summer, we were at our friends’ house for a BBQ. M. was running around in the backyard with her pal, Tessa, and the girls were getting hot. They begged Tessa’s mom to turn on the sprinkler. Tessa ripped off her clothes in an instant and raced naked around the yard, squealing in anticipation. M. frowned. She asked me if I had her bathing suit. Tessa had known M. when she was still living as a boy. She knew full well that M.’s body probably looked more like her little brother’s than like hers. And yet M. was still afraid. I reminded her that Tessa was a good friend, that she knew that M. was transgender, and that no one would mind if she wanted to be naked, too. I left it up to her. She bit her lip and thought it over for a minute, then shrugged, squirmed out of her clothes, and raced off to join Tessa in the sprinkler’s sweet cool rain.

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24 thoughts on “My child is not a predator

  1. It’s sick that certain people would sexualize a kindergarten child. I think they are the ones who are sick. (BTW, this “gender critical” bunch is a particularly nasty set. Harassing trans people and follow them around. I believe it is a hate group.)

  2. I really appreciate your blog, thoughts & sharing your personal life with me. My daughter is gay, but that doesn’t mean I know anything about being gay. I actually have a girlfriend (not super close, but I know her “secret”) who is transgender & has had sexual reassignment surgery. I never knew her as a man, but I knew she was transgender before she ever told me (thank you gossip grapevine). I never brought it up because I figured if she wanted to talk about it with me, she would bring it up. Which, eventually, she did. I asked as many questions as I dared (I can be very direct and rude sometimes without meaning to, so I was particularly careful to not be a butthead.). She was very nice & sweet about it.

    With all of that said – I don’t know or understand being transgender. I just try to accept people for who they claim to be – gay, straight, bi, pan, whatever. The only thing I know is “straight” because that is what I am. SO, thank you for sharing. It stands to reason that M. isn’t “mentally ill” or “defective” or “confused” or whatever else people say. M. is who she says she is. She’s a f’n CHILD! They are about as real and true to themselves as you can get!!!! If she says she’s a girl, who is to say different?

    Stay strong. Ignore the assholes. Forgive the buttheads & keep loving your baby!

  3. I am sorry, Gendermom, but M is going to face these issues and many others ones as she grows into womanhood. Simply put, she and you must remain strong and it will really turn out all right in the end.

  4. Of course your child is not a predator. Anyone who suggests differently should be ashamed of themselves. They’re making no effort to understand the issues your little girl has and will be the ones who start screaming when she uses the ladies loo. Persevere, I’m sure there are more understanding people than idiots out there.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

  5. I understand how M. feels. I was asked to use the disabled bathroom in my local pub after I came out because one person expressed a concern that I might frighten any children who might happen to be in there (and I didn’t feel comfortable using the men’s since I’m a woman). I really don’t understand where they get this idea that because somebody is transgender they will be showing off their genitals: in my experience most transgender people feel so uncomfortable with their physical gender characteristics that they will go to extreme lengths to prevent anybody seeing their genitals. The real problem is intolerant parents who teach their children the same closed-minded attitudes.

    • Amen, alexforshaw! You hit the point correctly and add to that that M is only a little innocent child, any negativity attached to this issue by others is simply ridiculous.

    • You look like a giant, scary rapist in a drag, Alex! It is not the responsibility of women in social life to have the psychic capabilities to understand that you are just super special snowflake person with special (not offensive at all) “lady feelings” and not the creepy predator you appear to be.

      Gender Mom- I hope you seek help because you are irreparably harming your child. You do not seem ignorant or misinformed, so somewhere inside, you do know you are a fucked up and abusive person, manipulating your child for your own benefit. It does seems as through you are raising your child to be an abuser as well. I am sure a local therapist would love to work with someone like you who is a classic narcissist and observe a genuine case of Munchausen by proxy. Good luck in getting help and if you choose to continue on your abusive path, then I hope the judicial system comes down on you hard in this this life and god has mercy on your sick soul in the next.

      • Ok, Sure – you are an insensitive, uninformed asshole. Why do you troll pages like this to leave nasty comments and tell people they look like a “scary rapist in drag”. First and foremost, you cannot look like a rapist, that is just plain stupid. Also, just because someone is gay, transgender, straight – it doesn’t make them a rapist. Secondly, gendermom is a supporting, loving mother who is learning as she goes – she is dealing with an extremely challenging situation and in my option, is doing a bang up job. Go away, the world needs less hate, not more.

  6. Your daughter is wonderful and amazing. Thank you for sharing the sprinkler story.

    Our local school board recently passed a new policy aimed at making schools safer and more supportive of transgender students (and parents and staff). Before the policy was passed, some parents complained that the policy would make schools less safe for everyone else, because there would be boys pretending to be girls in the girls’ washrooms.

    This is not an issue, because as you so full-heartedly wrote, trans kids are not predators. And this is especially so after puberty, because many trans women are on estrogen, which renders them very unlikely to use their penis (if they have one) in any kind of aggressive way (as they are unlikely to be able to get a full erection) — even if they wanted to, which is itself a preposterous and offensive idea. The whole conversation about washroom safety often becomes a form of transphobia, with very few people noticing that it is the trans person who is at risk.

    But children are children. Period. And your child is so lucky to have you as a mom.

  7. I think the problem here is people did not follow where your words led and considered the thought process of you and the teacher. The fact the other child was lying was not a quick decision, it was made based on talking to the children and considering their background.
    The very fact that the teacher spoke to you was proof that she did not immediately jump to the conclusion that the other girl (who was known to exaggerate) was lying.
    I also have an advantage of knowing children, it is not odd that upon learning a piece of abstract knowledge (such as M having a Penis) they will express it in concrete terms (such as saying they were shown). Not all children will do this, but it is not uncommon, if the girl had a history of doing this the teacher would be well aware of it. Checking with you and M was a way to confirm whether this was that or a true concrete experience.

  8. I could (and probably have) think up a million different ways to explain why it is so obvious that M. isn’t a predator, pervert or any other negative connotation attached to the Trans* community, but why bother. Haters are going to hate, no matter what makes you or M different, they will still find a reason to hate you for it.

    All I can do to soothe the hurt, is to remind you that you are doing what’s best for her. You are giving her the opportunity to truly be herself, even though it’s hard.You are showing her that it’s okay to be different. And in the long run, you are showing her love by accepting her exactly as she is. For that, I thank you (and I’m sure that M thanks you too 😉 )

  9. Your kid is a blessing, not a predator! What is so hard to understand here, adults! I’m 15, and if I can recognize that M. is a wonderful kid who, just like every other kid, wants to live her life and have fun, than it is a testament to how superficial most adults are.

  10. Hello, I think the issue with inclusive bathroom policy is not so much the thought that all trans kids or people are predators at all. Yes, some trans folks might be predators like some folks from every other category. That is not the real issue. What would be more concerning is that school kids express a curiosity in their rest rooms that may be really dangerous for your daughter. Kids have been known to peak into, under or on top of stalls. Kids have been known to rabble-rouse in bathrooms. Your daughter may never flash other children in the changing room or bathroom, but other kids may see your kids privates because of one of the actions I mentioned. That could be very traumatizing for both your child and the other children. Also, there are many girls that have been sexually abused and it may be triggering and traumatic for someone with a penis to share the bathroom with them because a bathroom may be a safe space for them in that it is free of penises. That does not have anything to do with your child and their parts but the trauma that many little girls have suffered all over this country.

  11. When my son was six, he told me the other boys were showing their penises to each other in the bathroom at summer camp. When I dropped him off at camp that day, I asked the counselor to have a talk with the boys about how private parts should stay private. And… that was it. No parents were notified. No one suggested the kids were sexual predators. I’m sorry yours rises to this level, when in any other circumstance, no one would be alarmed in the least.

  12. Wow. Like others, I am disgusted about how others have reacted to M. It is so stupid!
    But, what I really wanted to say was thank you for sharing the sprinkler story. It gives me hope and encourages me to be me. I’m in an a difficult situation where I want to be out fully, but if some people find out, I know it will end terribly, and I’m not ready for that. So I am living semi-out…
    It is nice to realise, however, that in time attitudes can change. I just hope it is sooner rather than later, for your sake and mine (and anyone/everyone else’s). Best wishes to you and M!

  13. It is not within American societal norms for school age children to be romping completely naked outdoors in somebody’s backyard. Predators do exist in the world, although probably not as many as the general public imagines. In the photo above, that child looks to be a toddler, but most parents simply would not allow a child of any age to play under a sprinkler without a bottom of some sort. Your child’s reluctance may have been more about personal modesty than the presence of a penis on “girl”.

    You write – “My child does have a penis, but that doesn’t make her some sort of predator;”. No, it doesn’t. It makes “her” a boy. He knows that. Perhaps that’s why, according to your posts, he seems over eager to put his penis on display – he knows that ‘ordinary’ actual girls don’t have what he has under his pink dresses. You and he seem invested in the idea that this makes him lovely and amazing. The fact that you are already contemplating shooting him up with puberty blockers and estrogen is terrifying.

  14. Sorry to hear that people are reacting that way! Even if privates are meant to be privates, it’s natural for children to be curious about their own body and others as they get older. I imagine that curiosity is heightened for children who are not (or know somebody who is not) cisgender. I think it’s good to teach kids to keep their genitals private, but I don’t think it’s blameworthy if they don’t, and it definitely isn’t sexual– at that age, most kids’ bodies look pretty similar, with the exception of genitals, so it’s normal to wonder what the other kind is like! There was a great article about how kids’ curiosity isn’t inappropriate and is just a natural stage of learning about one’s body, you might like it: http://www.bustle.com/articles/47513-6-totally-normal-things-young-girls-do-when-theyre-discovering-their-sexuality-that-no-one-ever

  15. “My child is not a predator”. . . OR SO YOU THINK. *wink wink*. The same response you give to some expecting parents, in regard to their child’s gender, can be said here as well. BUT WAIT, BEFORE BEING OFFENDED. . . The only thing I am implying is that you can’t know for sure. I’m sure every mother thought this of their child and unfortunately there are plenty of predators in this world 😦

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