The "Production of Ignorance" is defined as, "Not only the absence of knowledge that keeps the truth from being widely known and accepted; it is also the active production of ignorance that suppresses the truth." CN Lester discusses this media phenomenon as it relates to transgender people. In this age of transgender sensationalism and negative headlines surrounding medical interventions and decision-making related to transgender youth, I have decided to write about the truly astounding things that my transgender nine-year-old engaged in this weekend. Hang onto your hats!
1. Riding down the hill in front of our house, wait for it….WITHOUT A HELMET!! You should know that as soon as I saw this happening, I yelled at her as well as her cis brothers and neighborhood friends who were also riding down the hill at full speed squealing with delight. I covered my eyes while imagining the flight-for-life helicopter landing in the field adjacent to the playground, head injuries abounding. I am quite positive this must be a trans-exclusive trait and should definitely be thoughtfully prayed about by Pence for guidance.
2. Delivering Girl Scout cookies to neighbors. Don’t worry, my daughter is not a member of the Girl Scouts. Our family has been scared away from Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts because of the infighting and pedophilia that has played out in the media. We don’t know who we can trust or who will accept us, so we stay away. However, we purchased Girl Scout cookies and our friends were delivering this weekend, so my little lady joined. She came home and was so proud of helping and talked about all of the puppies she met along the way; her favorite was a Husky named Luca.
3. It was our final Cotillion lesson. Week five ended with our special dance with parents. She dressed up and danced the night away with her father, and I took on the boys. She stunned us with her dance moves - the Fox Trot, Waltz, and I of course, did my best to embarrass them all when the Salsa beat dropped (I’m pretty sure I was born Brazilian). Imagine my delight when George Michael started playing, (who could resist belting out George Michael?!). They told two stories during Cotillion - both ended with the life lesson that Kindness Matters. We treat people with respect; we treat people with kindness; we treat people like they matter. These people were singing my tune and damn - I love to dance.
4. Saturday morning she threw a temper tantrum; she didn’t want to do what I wanted her to do. I sent her to her room and took away all electronics. She stayed in her room for most of the day. People on the outside of our situation might say we are permissive parents - allowing our child to “choose their gender.” Those who know me think this is laughable. It has been suggested by at least one of my staff members that people send their kids to me for “behavior bootcamp.” I have also been known to don a name badge with the name “Bitch” inscribed in the nameplate. I am often the heavy; it’s my lot in life. Permissive- ya, no. Not in my vocabulary.
5. Sunday night she had reading and math homework, same as she has every day. She is also dyslexic, so we work extra hard on her learning. We are blessed to have access to resources for help with her learning difference.
A few other shocking facts: she loves salt and vinegar potato chips - would eat them and nothing else if given the opportunity. She also loves mac and cheese (must be a trans thing; I don’t know any cis kids who like mac and cheese). She plays the violin, wants her ears pierced but is scared that it will hurt, loves bunnies and is totally convinced that we should move to Colorado after vacationing there last summer. She loves her granny more than anyone and wants to be a librarian when she grows up (this week).
If you have made it this far in this shocking tale, thank you for reading. I believe it is absolutely essential that we, as the trans community, begin to take control over the narrative of our stories. We are not a sideshow. We are not to be sensationalized. The story is not about genitals. It is not about surgery, and it is not about medical procedures.
Transgender people are under assault by an administration that is hellbent on making them “others.” They are masters of the Production of Ignorance and work every day to continue to feed it through “fake news” outlets. It is our duty to start to write our own narrative and counter their attacks. Being transgender or gender diverse is a characteristic. Just as is being blue eyed, being a teacher, a daughter, a Virginia Tech fan, an American or a pilot. The thing is that the minute they find out my child is transgender, they immediately think of genitals, surgery and hormone therapy. They don’t ask me about my same choices as a mother and breast cancer survivor. Nobody is asking to see my half boob or radiation tattoos.
Next time you see a headline in the news that has a sensational headline involving a transgender or gender-diverse person, please ask yourself who is in control of the narrative. Who has something to be gained? What point is being made? The political commentary and rhetoric surrounding medical decision making and transgender children and healthcare is under assault. Don’t believe everything you read.