The Golden Bough for plausibly-deniable transphobic delay
While I have never transitioned, some items on this list of reaction gymnastics are very familiar. They are the same as I've heard from my dad after I've made requests such as, "Please stop having prolonged discussions with me about my body and how bad or good you think it is today," "You hurt my feelings in this specific way and I wish you'd apologize," "I am going to hang up the phone because your haranguing makes it clear you're not able to talk about this sensibly right now and I have to go back to work," etc.
As someone who's parents engaged in a rapid-fire version of all of these years ago, and who has since fully cut contact (for a wide variety of reasons, this among them), reading this really helps me feel less shame over the choice to stop contact.
Despite all the unarguably good reasons to have made the choices I have, I still sometimes feel the pang of cost-benefit guilt that, "sure, they're assholes, but what if they SOMEDAY came around to my transition! Then I'd only have a dozen reasons to not talk to them, instead of a dozen and one."
I intuitively grasped the truth of the matter - they were never going to 'get better,' they're just waiting for me to get past my Condition. But feeling it is different from seeing someone else put it into words and crystalizing the experiences. Thank you for this, every time I feel some pang of guilt for an Ow My Leg or a When Were You Going To Tell Us I'll come back to this.
There’s a variant of “But It’s A Family Name” I’ve encountered that I’d refer to as “But What About Grandpa Karl?/What’s Your Problem With Him?” wherein expressing a dislike of a name for oneself is treated the same as disliking all instances of the name including for other people and especially for the family member(s) who share it. This lets the family act like the transitioner changing their name is actually an insult to Grandpa Karl who likes his name even when the transitioner is saying they think the name suits Grandpa Karl just fine, it just doesn’t suit the transitioner. Any conversation about the name can be pivoted away from the transitioner’s feelings about what they want to be called to Grandpa Karl’s feelings which obviously matter just as much when it comes to the name & please provide us with reassurances that you’re not going to disrespect or hurt Grandpa Karl’s feelings by so much as implying you think another name could be preferable to Karl. (Whether or not Grandpa Karl is around or has expressed any opinion on the topic himself is irrelevant to other family members doing this.)
Alternatively having a problem with being called by a certain name can be assumed to be the result of having a problem with whoever else you know by that name. And if we are assuming that we might also assume changing one’s gender is just a drastic way of justifying a name change & if only we could identify/address why the transitioner is so opposed to having this thing in common with a family member then perhaps the transitioner will realise there are other (better) ways to resolve their problem besides transition or changing their name.
Queerness seems to be a radiation-detector for family narcissists in your vicinity.
This makes me feel better about my parents who, while likely stopping short of disowning me, would nonetheless refuse to change their terminology for me and never speak of the matter again no matter how many beards I grew or boobs I jettisoned. That seems way less tiring than this.
"But you're so good at x things."
"So as a kid you wanted to be an x?"
"Why would you want to be an x? What is it about x-inity that appeals to you?"
"I'm going to talk now for a bit about my visceral distaste for people of x gender."
I'm glad this continues to be here for me to return to.
Yes. Thank you. That is all.