Open Letters to KRXQ Sacramento

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Parents of Gender Non-Conforming Children Speak Out For Tolerance

From an Accepting Father of a Non-Conforming Ten Year Old Boy

TO: Rob Williams and Arnie States of KRXQ 98.5 FM Sacramento

I’m writing to tell you how angry, how sad, your broadcast concerning transgender and gender non-conforming children made me. To be honest, part of the reason it made me so angry is that I shared a lot of your worldview once. I ridiculed gay people and trans people and had my made-up theories about how they could be normal and avoid hatred and ostracism if they really wanted to.

I quoted studies I’d heard from somewhere, but never actually seen, which claimed that transgender people were no happier after transition, so transition was just a waste of money, pointless surgery on mentally ill people who needed some kind of therapy or something.

Then my first son was born. And he was, is, one of these kids. My kid was never abused. My kid has suffered no trauma. My kid has two normative parents. My kid has a normative brother. My kid has normative DNA.

At first I didn’t’ know what to do, so I took a half-step back; I shared my experiences with those parents who had tried to therapize this behavior out of their kids. They tried behavior modification. They saw specialists. Pretty much nobody gets to this place, of researching, understanding, tolerating and then accepting, this behavior, until they’re forced to.

Behavior modifcation, for the parents I spoke with, didn’t work. Their kids got worse. Hysterical, screaming, self-mulitating, seven-year-old-talking-about-suicide worse.

More and more therapists are giving up on trying to extinguish this behavior, not because they are intimidated by the GLTBQ agenda, but because the treatment simply doesn’t work. And procedures you perform over and over again that don’t work are called malpractice. Suppression seem to harm many of these children. They report higher incidences of stress, self destructive impulses. Suicides. Yes, there are studies. Even with the stress of living in a world which rejects them, as you do, they are happier fighting that battle than suppressing this part of what they are.

I’m not going to make scientific arguments about this. The science is clearly on the side of the trans people. But here’s the thing; my son isn’t transgender now, and may never be. He may one day identify as gay. He may identify straight or bi, and cross dress. He may identify straight and dress normally. We don’t know yet.

So I’m asking you to tolerate something far more subversive and sinister than transgender. Most transgenders seek to be normal; with early interventions, they can melt back into the general populace without a ripple. As you joke and sneer, keep on eye on your back. A burly, beefy man born a woman might be creeping up on with a broken beer bottle from behind.

No, my kid is making me tell you to tolerate all gender expression.

Women in crew cuts who are straight. Men in dresses and makeup who are straight and married to straight women. The same people, in terms of gender expression, who are gay. Everyone.

You don’t have to love them. You don’t have to wear a dress yourself. You don’t have to have a gay marriage, or marry a butch woman. None of this will be mandated in the world which I’m trying to make by talking with you.  You, a person I desperately want to ignore.

I loved my son, and  still love him. I loved him so much, it changed me. Did your love of your children change you? Do you have children? Do you understand what I”m talking about? Do you understand that we are all acting out of love? Even if you think we are misguided, why would you hate us for loving our children as they are? Why are you talking about something you admittedly know nothing about?

My son made me regret every nasty remark, every smirk, every act of unkindness in my past towards people who, I now see so clearly, are simply being who they have to be. I know that the core of that anger is an anger with myself for every having once snickered along with you.

It is politically incorrect to say this in this type of argument, but the most homophobic men, when hooked to a device which measures arousal, (the penile plethysmograph—your word for the day.) respond to gay porn. It makes them hard. Now, the rule is, we identify ourselves. Just because someone like you might desperately want to have sex with men or wear a dress, doesn’t’ make you gay or trans. What it might make you is sad, angry, violent, desperate, miserable, or suicidal.

And so, as I confront my feelings of anger and violence towards you, I see the face of my son. His smiling, beautiful face, which I love. As you were once loved, I hope, however imperfectly. You may be like him. You may have denied the most essential aspect of your personality and twisted inside into a mass of fear, pain and rage. That would explain a lot.

This is what I have refused to do to my son.

The science suggests that you may have these impulses. It wasn’t the case with me, though, and I’m the only person I have had the experience of being, so I’ll grant that you may well be hetero normative. I’ve never had a moments interest in putting on dresses. I’ve never had more than a fleeing instant of same sex attraction. I am rampantly and incurable hetero-normative. So I know, the hatred, or the toleration of it, may not be a sign that you are ‘queer’ inside.

But I have to wonder if those that ring lead the hate, those that go out of their way to spew this poison, aren’t suffering in this way. Again, it would explain a lot. They’ve fought to suppress these impulses and hate those that ‘give in.’ to them.

Normative people are able to understand that they don’t choose who they are sexually attracted to, they don’t choose what kind clothes they feel comfortable wearing; they don’t learn it, isn’t taught by schools or parents. It comes from inside. Lots of old psychological theories fooled around with the idea that gender was socially constructed; just a rule book enforced by society. These theories are out of the window now. Gender is built in. Cultures tell us what to do with the gender born in our bodies, but gender itself is hard-wired.

I know your discomfort. I know the twisting feeling in your stomach. I’ve felt it. This is the same feeling southern whites had when forced to use drinking fountains used by blacks. This is a feeling which it is time to examine, to stare at in public and let go of. The boogey man can’t hurt you. He lives in your imagination.

Let me reassure you. We will never cut your dick off. We will never give you hormones and force you to have breasts. We will never cross dress you. We will never make you have sex with a man. As you imagine these things, you feel sick inside–because you picture it happening to you. Let it go. You don’t have to do it. You decide who you are. You decide what people call you, who you love, who you allow to exist in your family. You can even drive your child into committing suicide if you want to.

But you won’t do that to my child without a fight.

I know you reserve the right to hate anyone you want, but I’m making an effort now, not to hate you, and I want you to return that favor when you talk about my child. Who I love. I know my child may be killed for being who he is, who he can’t help but be. I am so afraid of that I wake up in cold sweats about it. And then I read about your radioshow.

Slapping a hair cut on my boy and jamming him into a football jersy, or a cop uniform, or a soldier’s fatigues, won’t change him. You can talk to the adult transgenders who did that, the over compensators. They’re out there.

And you should also consider, being a man, how brave my son is to exist in a world with you and not to hide who he is. An adult transgender on an email list I’m on was asked by a young person about the dangers of hormone therapy.

“I hit an IED in Iraq, it took them a year to put me back together. I’m not worried about hormones.”

Is it so wrong, so crazy, so absurd, so liberal moonbat, to ask you to know something about what you are talking about. To ask you to live an let live?

To ask you to treat someone else the way you would like to be treated?

And even if you must see this as sin, to ask that the one without sin be the one to cast the first stone?

I was like you. You may be like my son inside. You are someone who loves and who has been loved. When you say you’d hit your kid with his high-heeled shoe, as angry as I am now, I don’t fully believe you. You’re only human, and you’re scared.

You’re scared of a world that is changing so fast that it terrifies everyone. You’re scared of outsourced jobs and a bankrupt country and drugs and crime and child molesters and genetically engineered viruses and terrorists and all the things that the TV tells you to be scared of. Some of which is actually real.

You lash out at the weakest, the most defenseless, icon of that change. The little boy in the dress.

You think, if you can just beat it out of him, you can make the world the way it was in the 50s. You can bring back the golden age. (that never existed for anyone but a few white men.) Your people have been afraid of every change since the invention of the written word, which would destroy our ability memorize epic poems and turn our brains to mush. You feared anesthesia 100 years ago, you feared fertility medicine a generation ago (test tube babies!) you feared interactial marrige, you feared the gays who stopped cowering in shame at Stonewall and started fighting back, and now you are terrified, shaking in your hob nailed boots at the sight of a smiling child in a dress.

What will the world be like that tolerates him?

I can’t protect you from terrorists or save your job from going overseas or bring back the post-war boom, but I can tell you, my kid isn’t going to hurt you or your family. You are going to get through this. In twenty years you’ll shrug, or cringe, or be a bitter twisted old man ranting about, well, everything. The choice is yours.

But for now, I’m asking you to think about what you say and the people who might be hurt by it. I’m asking you think of the mother of a 10 year old cutting her boy down from where he hung himself. A boy she dressed in boy’s clothes, who she enrolled in Boy Scouts, a boy she made play football, a boy she dragged to chuch every Sunday. But his peers knew him anyway, they knew what he was. And they tortured him. As you suggest.

And he didn’t change. He died. This happened a few months back. This is real. She is real. Her son was real.

I’m asking you to think of that image before you make these kind of statements again. I’m putting aside my hate, my fear, my violence, to ask as politely as I can, for you to put aside yours.

Let my family be.

Concerned father
of a ten year old boy

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Filed under: Letters from Parents of Non-Conforming Children,

20 Responses

  1. John M OConnell says:

    Keep fighting, it will help the world that all of us share. You are born ,who you are is not how you react to norms, its just you being yourself. Art

  2. […] you haven’t yet read this letter from the father of a gender variant 10 year old to the KRXQ talk show hosts who encouraged violence against kids like his son, do. Here’s an […]

  3. Amber says:

    This made me cry. It needed to be said. Thankyou. I can’t express how much love and gratitude I have for this post. I hope someone listens. I hope even if that terrible radio show does nothing, it touches someone, and changes their mind.

  4. Liana says:

    You and your family are beautiful. Thank you.

  5. Thank you for saying this. More people need to hear it.

  6. Darlene says:

    Thank you for saying this. I met a woman who is going through this with her very young son. From all accounts he was this way from the day he was born. Who is anyone to judge another? Rather than making desparaging remarks, these DJ’s should have spoken of tolerance. Whether they are there to “push the boundaries” is not the point. The very subject matter met that criteria/ responsibility. Unfortunately, by their words, they have given an opinion to those listening that may not have formed an opinion until that very moment. And that message was negative, violent and smacked of intolerance.

  7. Melissa Vesperman says:

    Its too bad that advocating hatred, fear and violence in the mass media is considered humour. If the same advocacy had ben directed toward women, people of color or other nationalities, these people would be off the air by now. I will continue to speak out until such advocacy toward any other human is completely intolerable. The most interesting part is knowing that statements like those made on the air are based in fear.

  8. Allison Sinclair says:

    Excellent post. This scenario can happen to anyone. Being a MTF Transsexual and being physically abused as a child by my father and then sexually assaulted While in the military, I can honestly say that I am at peace now since the day that I was finally able to transition 7 years ago. If only my father would have changed his ways as the father that had posted this article. I commend you.

  9. […] From an Accepting Father of a Non-Conforming Ten Year Old Boy « Open Letters to KRXQ Sacramento You think, if you can just beat it out of him, you can make the world the way it was in the 50s. You can bring back the golden age. (that never existed for anyone but a few white men.) Your people have been afraid of every change since the invention of the written word, which would destroy our ability memorize epic poems and turn our brains to mush. You feared anesthesia 100 years ago, you feared fertility medicine a generation ago (test tube babies!) you feared interactial marrige, you feared the gays who stopped cowering in shame at Stonewall and started fighting back, and now you are terrified, shaking in your hob nailed boots at the sight of a smiling child in a dress. (tags: transphobia radio parents sweet lgbt) […]

  10. will says:

    Your son is very lucky to have you. Thank you for learning from him.

  11. Renee Thomas says:

    We can all learn to construct an enduring, just and inclusive society. It starts when you commit the courage to open your heart . . . thank you for shining the light and showing the way.

  12. Thank you for having the courage to stand up and say this. Everyone needs to read or hear this.

  13. René Murphy says:

    Thank you. You have changed my life. God bless you. God bless your beautiful, brave child.

  14. John Adams says:

    What ever happened to Freedom of Speech?

    • paulackerman says:

      Freedom of speech is a alive and well.

      Rob and Arnie spoke freely. We spoke to them. They told us to go fuck ourselves. We spoke to their sponsors. Their sponsors pulled out. Now Rob and Arnie are pretending to be sorry as they squeal like little hateful pigs.

      Maybe you haven’t noticed but, ah, we’re not congressmen; we’re not advocating for legislation here; we’re not repealing the first amendment.

      Conservatives like to say that liberals want to live in a consequence free world; a world of guaranteed outcomes, even for people who make stupid decisions.

      So, buy yourselves a clue, John. Actions have consequences.

      Rob and Arnie can’t be sheltered from their own stupidly. They attacked the most defenseless group of people in the world, savagely, for about thirty minutes straight; a population with a suicide problem; this problem largely a result of bullying which sounds, word for word, like Rob and Arnie’s ‘joke.’

      This is a conservative wet dream; it’s a market oriented solution to the problem of hate speech. No regulators. No laws. Freely acting people in a free society, using, guess what…wait for John…

      Free speech.

      Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

      • Scott Marlowe says:

        Oh my god, I so agree with you. As a queer gender, arch-conservative, Dr. Paul votin’, libertarian I agree totally. I’ll go further. I’ll say that the hateful screed should be kept ON THE WEBSITE for the world to see what these guys said, as a constant reminder of the kind of hate speech many people hear every day in their social group but never hear on the air. Sure add big warnings that it’s a hate filled screed and shouldn’t be listened to alone. Because honestly until you hear it, you can’t believe how completely hate-filled and ugly it is.

  15. theo says:

    Bravo. Namaste,

  16. ChrisD says:

    We need more people like you in the world – as I know there are – reaching out from the woodwork to spread tolerance and logic. This is a beautiful post. Thank you thank you thank you.

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