Sunday, July 13, 2008

Facebook is stupid.

Last week after I got home from Hearts on Fire I finally got up the nerve to change my name on facebook. I had been putting it off for some time because my siblings, father, and some people from my parents congregation are all friends with me on facebook and I didn't want to cause any massive freakouts and whatnot. I got back to town and was doing the whole "look for people I just met on facebook" thing. I must've been on some sort of LC/NA HoF induced high because I decided that it would be a brilliant idea to just change my name, and hope that either a) no one noticed or b) someone would ask me and we'd have this deep, connected conversation where they would instantly understand trans issues and be completely supportive of me.

Needless to say, neither of these things happened. Instead, Wednesday when I was at work hanging out with Rex I called up my mother to ask her if she had found the star wars soundtrack at home so I could make a copy for Rex to listen to while we played star wars. No, she did not find the soundtrack. However my father (of all people) noticed that I changed my name to Dylan on facebook. She proceeded to become very upset, inform me that my parents don't support me in this, that my insurance policy is still under Amy, and that I shouldn't be changing my name on facebook because it's not true. Also, I was informed that I need to tell my parents at every step of the way every little decision I make concerning transition. In addition, she went off on Thomas Beatie (aka the Pregnant Man) and how that was confusing and was "it" a man or a woman, and that it just wasn't natural. Basically, I think she needed to vent a lot of her frustration and confusion.

However, I was at work. I was tired, I had been sick the day before, and I didn't really expect my parents to notice that I changed my name on facebook before my siblings did. I should've responded better than I did. My response was initially to explain that I know my insurance and legal documentation is all under Amy, but facebook is a social networking site and I want to socially network in my preferred name. What threw me was her launching into the diatribe about Thomas Beatie, and the fact that my mother, who I typically consider to be a very intelligent woman, hadn't taken the time to get past the sensationalistic aspect of the story and was trying to compare my experience to his experience. In the end, I got defensive with my mother, and told her I couldn't continue the conversation because I was defensive and unable to be open to talking with her.

I get frustrated because I don't know how to not feel attacked when I talk to my parents about trans issues. I also get frustrated because I feel like I have to be more calm, collected, and informed than my parents. In addition, I get frustrated because I feel like I have to continually be educating my parents. I give them information, books, websites, and pamphlets, but it seems like they don't take the initiative to read them or discuss them with me.

In the end, my slightly immature solution was to unfriend my father, siblings, cousins, and church folk on facebook. I probably should've just left everything as is, because people are going to learn about it eventually anyways. It just seemed the easier route to take at the time when I was upset and angry.

I don't know how to handle talking with my family about transition gracefully.


Quaking Aspen said...

ahhhhhhhh Dylan. I don't know what to say. I guess I should just tell you that I was overjoyed to see you had changed your name on Facebook. I've only ever known you as Dylan and I want to honor who you are and who you want to be. I don't know Amy and I don't really care to know that person or be that person's friend. I want to be Dylan's friend. And I feel dumb saying this to you, but from my vantage point I can see your freedom coming, and it's coming right now.

Taylor said...

Dylan, I know we're at very different stages here, but I understand a lot of what you're saying and where you're coming from. In the end, you need to be happy and do what's best for you. Also know that you do have people that support you all the way and are looking forward to going to california (because its happening! haha) love ya.