Ramblings about a remark my Dad made two days ago

by dominicdemeyn

Recently I told my Dad that I had had a breast removal operation.

He had noticed that I had lost weight and looked healthier than usual, so he thought I had done lots of sports or something. Anyway, I saw this talk as a good opportunity to reveal my little not-so-secret secret. He wasn’t that surprised, because I had told him of my desire to change my body nearly 2 years ago.

He was pretty supportive, and didn’t slam the ‘that’s immoral!’, or ‘that’s ugly!’, or ‘you’ll destroy your future!’ and ‘nobody will ever want you!’ against my head. My Mum is much more negative towards my decision, though she supports me, too.

I am happy that they aren’t rejecting me or criticising me everyday for my actions and my continued desire to struggle against being gendered. They never needed to fight to get their gender accepted, neither did my brothers, so they don’t understand what it feels like and how immensely important it is.

One day whilst talking about my ‘transition’ my Dad said “Well, you can still have children without breasts. Even mothers who are normal don’t breastfeed, so that’s not a problem”.  When he saw my evil stare, he then quickly added: “If you wanted to”.

I didn’t explode then and there, though if he was observant enough, he would have seen in my eyes that I was very offended at his off-hand remark. He basically said I could still be a woman and perform like  a woman eventhough I had repeatedly told him that I am NOT A WOMAN.

I tried to turn my anger into constructive criticism, and told him straight away that the problem with his theory that I could still have children and be a woman was that I am NOT a woman but a Neutrois and I NEVER want children. I then proceeded to remind him that if he’s at all interested in my health and well-being, he should never bring up the words ‘woman’, ‘children’, ‘breasts’ again in that context in relation to me. I have nothing to do with these aspects of other peoples’ lives or desires.

I think for all his wisdom, experience, and good intentions, my Mum and my Dad are still entangled in traditional gender roles. They are overwhlemed by new ideas and cannot even fathom that there are three genders, let alone that there are even more. They also still think that every female-assigned-at-birth and every male-assigned-at-birth are sexual, mostly heterosexual. They place too much emphasis on biology. They are a-romantic realists. They accept the status quo without question. The funny thing is that they are highly intelligent. When it comes to politics, human psychology, and economics, they are fully aware of the lies the mass media presents and the connections with colonialism and white supremacy. But when it comes to gender politics, they are all of a sudden blind and deaf. They can’t seem to apply the same thinking to gender as to colonialism. Gender to them is something outside of politics, economics, sociology. They both have Phd’s.

My Dad has told me that his sisters, who were all born and grew up in Syria, cannot have children and they long to have a family and feel worthless because they aren’t mothers. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why he automatically associates being female with wanting to bear children.

But then he also once compared having stomach ache due to indigestion to having birthing cramps, so I’m not sure how sensitive he really is. He’s a comedian (at heart). He often makes fun of things like every comedian does, sometimes his sensitivity is suppressed just to make a ‘good’ joke. Ridiculing something is his way to make something funny or even bearable.

My Dad shrugs things off, my Mum dramatises them. I guess it’s up to me to find a middle ground.