Out of the blue…

shockingSo, I went to the dentist recently and while catching up with the dental assistant whom I hadn’t seen in quite sometime, I was thrown for a loop. She asked me about my “two girls” and I was momentarily paralyzed.

What do you do? I had a split second to decide if I would just nod or go into a short version of the long story about my second child, who definitely is not a girl. Talk about being caught off guard. WOW.

Since Hunter is not a patient in this dental office anymore, the staff is not aware of what has been going on with him. Our dentist knows the whole story and is completely accepting and supportive and even told me that he is “impressed” with us as parents and how we’ve handled everything (with our transgender son).

Certainly we have no issue sharing our journey and Hunter is very open about his transition from female to male. But, honestly, this is not really the kind of news you share when having small talk before a dental procedure. I felt the wind being knocked out of my sails.

While we are open about our son being transgender, sharing this “out of the blue” ranks up there with, “by the way, we’re getting a divorce,” or “I was just diagnosed with fill in the blank,” — by my standards, these are topics where you choose a time and place to have an honest, open, bare your soul conversation.

When faced with some “news” about a friend or family member (sometimes known as gossip) you have to make a quick decision about how to respond to the messenger; you can nod, mutter an “ah ha,” cough to hide your shock, quickly change the subject or just act as if you didn’t hear what they said. Understandably, this can be an incredibly uncomfortable space to be in…I certainly don’t want to be the one to blurt out shocking news and then not have the time to discuss, empathize or explain.

Given that I was about to get numbed up for a procedure, I did some quick thinking on my feet. Surely, this was a case where a simple nod would suffice. However, I will make sure to ask the doctor to update our family records and to inform his staff. Hopefully, this will eliminate or at least minimize future awkward, pick your jaw up from the floor, I want to disappear moments.

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13 thoughts on “Out of the blue…

  1. Strangely enough the same thing happened to me at the dentist. The hygienist was chatting about kids and then she said, “You have a girl, right?” She was so completely sure she knew this. It caught me off guard. I didn’t think she would remember because my kids don’t go to the same dentist as me.

    I’ve been caught in a number of these conversations and it’s always an on the spot decision- which way to go with it.

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  2. The SAME thing happened to me and I had just got the shot and was getting numb and his hands were in my mouth. All I could to was mumble “no…my daughter” and you could see my poor dentist looking back at his records and being confused ha ha. My next visit we had a little talk…BEFORE he started working on my mouth!

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  3. My parents get embarrassed at family gatherings or other places and mention me as female but I correct them. They won’t recognize my gender until I’m “in therapy” or move out. Ugh. 😑

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    • Carl, that’s unfortunate. I am sorry you have to go through this. We used to do that with Hunter until he expressly asked that we use male pronouns and use a new name. Until that point, we would correct people…so if a waitress referred to him as “he” I would say “she would like some…” Once the switch was made, it didn’t matter if he was in therapy or not. Maybe showing your parents my blog will help them see it from a mom’s point of view.

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      • Showed them even the newest DSM. They either still want me in therapy (because “every transsexual” they knew came out “early on”, they don’t even get that while I am old school transsexual, most trans are “transgender”, to them it’s simply “semantics”), or move out as I can “live however [i] damn well please”, as my dad expressed it. It’s fucked up that my parents have more often emphasized my sex and the female gender more than ever; how come friends, even my coworkers, can take me as I am, but not my folks? I don’t even think I want to keep my last name or any of my ancestral names at times. Break off and start fresh when I move out.

        They demand I seek therapy so they know I’m not just going through another “phase”. Ugh.

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      • Therapy is not a bad idea for many reasons. I know there are many social services agencies that have a sliding scale. You don’t need a transgender specialist…we can talk more off line if you’d like. And remember, we can’t change others but we can change how we deal with them. Feel free to PM me.

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    • Exactly, Claire. When you have :15 seconds of small talk I feel like a nod is fine. To me, it’s an important subject and to blurt out the reality seems to trivialize rather than authenticate.

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  4. “So, you’ve got a son right?”
    Me: “Yes… no… kind of… not really…”

    Jeremy identifies as both genders. The next person to ask didn’t ask at a rushed time and got told “I have a daughter and a child”. I can’t stand on the spot questions.

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