Transpotting

Trainspotting. In its oldest meaning it is a term having to do with, literally, train spotting. Noting distinctive characteristics.

In the 80’s it bubbled up as a British colloquialism having to do with obsessing over one thing — a sport, an actor, a characteristic.

In 1996, a movie by the name Trainspotting came out, and it referenced being able to spot a drug user by the tracks on their arms. Again, characteristics.

People are people and we do, like it or not, categorize, clump, arrange things, foods, places, people in our minds. We’re simple that way and it makes us better able to navigate life to assign new things to their lane in our heads.

The problem comes when that simplistic, lizard brained impulse makes us look for characteristics in order to clump, fear, and target groups of people.

We have a long history of that. Native Americans — targeted to the brink of disappearance. Women — targeted throughout history. Black people — targeted, stolen, marginalized, beaten, killed throughout history. Jews, Muslims, Asians — targeted, targeted, targeted. Gays — targeted, demeaned, written off, killed.

Human beings are horrific creatures. We like to hold ourselves so far above any other being on the planet, but the reality is we are stupid, callow, shallow, fearful, hateful, bigoted, and STUPID — yes, that one is worth including twice.

In their continued quest to be perpetual victims, the GQP, rife with the most conservative (read: willfully ignorant), religious, self important specimens on this big, blue orb of ours, must constantly have a group in their crosshairs. Someone, something at which they direct their belief that society’s ills are the fault of that group, that object.

Red Starbucks cups at Christmas. Oh, holy night and holy hell — they rent their garments over cups appearing without reindeer, sleighs, and snowflakes. The War On Christmas — God forbid we say Happy Holidays to include the many observed celebrations during that period of the year. Gay marriage — according to their histrionics, shouldn’t we all be marrying our pet sheep by now? Wasn’t the legalization supposed to immediately lead to bestiality? How about border caravans? They move into the conservative media just as an election is in the offing. Millions of brown people on the move like fire ants ready to overrun the southern border and make our legs itch or take our jobs picking tomatoes or something. Then the election cycle ends and the caravans disappear back into the bullshit ether from which they were conjured. Muslims — their hew and cry about them always has to do with Sharia Law taking over the land. Such batshit, made up, Pavlovian response targets — it would be laughable if it weren’t literally deadly for the groups of very real innocents who get caught in the web.

Which brings us to their hysteria du jour — transpotting. Obsessed with the genitalia of others, the targeting of transgender people reached a new high, or rather low, today in Texas. In a letter from governor (small g intended) Greg Abbott to Commissioner Jaime Masters of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, he decreed transgender children begin to be investigated and that their parents who support them in their transitions be targeted as child abusers.

Not kidding.

And he further instructs all doctors, teachers, caregivers, etc to immediately report and out any transgender children they see, come into contact with.

NOT FUCKING KIDDING.

One of my children is transgender. And as I have openly written here for years about him, our family, and his transition — any of you who may have rolled your eyes or blew me off as being over emotional, hyperbolic, etc, may now truly fuck all the way off, climb the fence you come to, and continue fucking off till you fall off the edge of the fucking Earth.

This is why we had to get him the hell out of Texas many years ago. We had lived there long enough to know the environment, the atmosphere of blinding stupidity and bigotry, and to see exactly what was coming in the form of governance.

And now it’s here. And it will not stop in Texas. These verminous religious zealots and their certitude are everywhere. Just as there are transgender children and adults everywhere. And the cretins will not stop their attacks, especially as long as transgender people remain a juicy, scary wedge issue they may use to gin up fear, scare up votes. Just as they continue to nip away at abortion rights, they are now going after transgender people, and far worse, hyper targeting children.

Transgender youth have a suicide attempt rate of 41% Not because they don’t know who they are. They do. But because they fear society knowing who they are and being targeted.

Think I’m exaggerating? OK, we’ll let my son give you a little view into his world as he struggled with the fear of coming out — even to his family who have always been huge advocates. Take it from here, Toby:

So fun fact: I would 100% be dead without the support my parents had shown me when I came out to them with the intent to transition.

That’s a scary thing to say but it’s something I can say with absolute certainty because I’m far enough removed from that situation that I can look back on my final year at UT Dallas and know how horrible my mental and emotional health were, I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt I would’ve taken my own life if I had tried to stay and not started my transition. I can probably count on one hand the number of days in my sophomore year there that I DID NOT break down in my apartment bedroom, or have a panic attack in a bathroom stall in between classes and practice. (Or sometimes having panic attacks or disassociating during practice, those were fun times.)

I was horrified for years to tell my parents I was trans, and the one moment of solace from that horror came when I finally told my mom and she just hugged me and asked “Ok, what do you need us to do?”

The fucking point is, supporting your child and getting them the help they need to live an authentic and genuine life is not child abuse, it’s the bare fucking minimum for being a parent. If you can’t imagine having the same reaction my mom did when I told her I was trans, do not fucking procreate. You should love your child unconditionally, not based on if they’re cisgendered and heterosexual.

This shit is reprehensibly evil and rooted in hatred and bigotry, and is going to do incalculable harm to trans people and their families, and I hope Greg Abbott burns in hell for it.

Even this many years on, with him in such a good place emotionally, building a remarkable life of his own, it still guts me to read how close we came to losing him. That incredible athlete, artist, funny friend to all. I have friends who have lost their children to accidents and completed suicides. I know the look in their eyes — that they are forever walking through a nightmare while wide awake. It is a horror, a pain I selfishly hope to never know firsthand. But I know now how close we came. That he grew up in a home where love flowed like water, where it was unconditional, all consuming, in unlimited quantities, and still feared what might happen when he told us?

That haunts me every day. He lived in a house that love built, where fear of being cast out should never have entered his mind, but it did. He knew he was transgender for a long time before he finally took that deep breath, risked shredding every vestige of security he had ever known, and said the words out loud.

What he found on the other side of those words were my arms around him, my heart beating against his, and the assurance that we were going nowhere without him.

That is what a transgender child needs. That is what a transgender child deserves. Hell, it is what we all need and deserve in this life.

But because I supported my child, found a therapist for him, financed HRT, paid for top surgery — I am now classified a child abuser under the bullshit laws and notions of the most backwards sect in our society — and sadly far too many of them are in positions of power to tear families apart, to increase that already galling number of 41%.

And that is not hyperbole. More young people will die in states that begin intruding in these ways. The bastardization of the child abuse laws, the overreach of protective services, and the hubris to insert themselves into the most intimate, challenging, scary parenting I have ever done?

FUCK GREG ABBOTT AND EVERY SINGLE WRETCH WHO DEIGNS TO THINK THEY HAVE ANY BUSINESS NEAR MY CHILD OR ANYONE ELSE’S TRANSGENDER CHILD.

My son is right — if you cannot provide unconditional love and security to a child, DO NOT PROCREATE. No child deserves to come into the world to people who will vilify them, torture them, cast them out of they do not fit into the neat little cishet box carved out for them in their parents’ minds’.

Here are some facts, since conservatives live on made up crap they pass around on Facebook.

Just like Critical Race Theory is not taught to your precious cherubs in their grade schools, middle schools, or high schools, or even undergraduate classes in college — no matter how many times Tucker Carlson bleats about it behind his bow tie- no transgender child is out there having their body parts surgically removed. It does not happen.

Do they have puberty blockers prescribed by their doctors if warranted? YES. Because it is a decision made between the doctor(s), parents, and child. And it is a life saving one. For a child who knows — and yes, they KNOW — hitting puberty and having their body completely betray who they know themselves inside to be, is dangerous. It is where depression, anxiety, and suicide attempts are found. Puberty blockers are prescribed. A parent cannot just stroll into CVS and buy some off the shelf. They are monitored, blood draws are done and levels monitored. It is not some capricious, on-a-whim, get it at the drive thru choice.

An older transgender child may be prescribed HRT (hormone replacement therapy) — again, a life saving option in which blood levels are monitored.

Our son’s journey is a good example of how not fast or whim-like the process was.

He came out to me. That did not magically make anything better other than him knowing he was still safe and loved. Therapy came next. A full year of therapy before she signed off on the referral to another doctor who would prescribe and monitor HRT. And it is monitored to this day. (Just as he continues therapy to this day.) He gets blood drawn regularly so she knows everything is ok, or that the level of testosterone needs adjusted. After he started HRT, it was another full year before he had top surgery with a phenomenal surgeon in Austin. Yes, we arranged it. Yes, we went with him. Yes, we paid for it.

We are such abusers.

We are now almost 7 years from when he came out to me. That is amazing to type. Seven years in which we have all become more for helping him become whole. He is an extraordinary human being. Talented, funny, loving, fiercely loyal to his friends, protective of his people. And he moves among the populace as who he is — a dapper-as-fuck young man with a rich baritone voice and a five o’clock shadow.

Oooooo, scary. Is that what bothers you wetbrained fearmongers? That you could meet him and <gasp!> not know?

I have news for you — you don’t need to know. He is no threat to you. But you sure as hell are a threat to him and anyone like him. His genitals? Not any of your business. His medications? Piss off. Unless you’re cool with me raiding your medicine cabinet or asking you some intensely personal questions about how small your dick is, how shriveled are your balls, or how floppy your female meat curtains hang in your underwear — you need to mind your own fucking business.

As does Greg Abbott and the cabal of creatures like him who are legislating good, decent, loving, protective parents into child abusers. The true abusers are Abbott and his ilk who would cast out their children, deny them life saving options as they transition, and feel glee as yet another transgender suicide makes headlines.

It’s not hard to mind your fucking business. It’s not hard to stand in front of the mirror and take a good long look at what characteristic YOU have that could end up putting you in a group to be targeted. Red hair? Webbed toes? Blue eyes? Beer gut? Dick cheese?

Think it cannot happen? It is happening. You just haven’t had your turn at being trainspotted. And this society has more than proved there is a choo choo coming for everyone.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Linda Sharp

Author, columnist, blogger. Don’t Get Me Started and Transparent Trans Parent blogs