Ask Amy: Advice for the Real World

Dear Amy: I have two wonderful kids. They are both in the military. One is active and the other is a veteran on disability, who is also transgender.

When people ask, “How are your girls?” I usually say, “Well, one is now a male,” or I’ll start by saying, “One of my kids suffered his whole life as a female,” and then explain that he finally had surgery and is now very happy as a male transgender.

Amy, some people grasp the idea and show support. Others just stare and don’t say much.

One woman was so disoriented that she kept repeating, “She is now a male...?!”

I was so taken aback by her reaction that I facetiously said, “And my other daughter was born a chimpanzee!”

Then I walked away.

What is the best way to answer people that I haven’t seen for a while when they reasonably ask, “How are the girls?”

I won’t just say, “Oh, they are fine,” because that will be hiding the fact that one is now a male and I am very supportive of him.

I am very proud of both of them.

— Dad of a Transgender

Dear Dad: I can imagine how exhausting it might be to feel like you are always having to educate and reorient people.

But, “Oh, they’re fine” is not a cop-out; it is your right to respond this way if you don’t feel like explaining gender transitioning in the aisle of the grocery story.

And, it happens to be true; they are fine.

Only offer up an explanation if you want to. And if you do, understand that every time you advocate for your son, you help a lot of other people who don’t have a supportive and loving parent in their corner. Our perceptions are changing, one conversation at a time.

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