Matt and I decided to watch the Bruce Jenner’s 20/20 interview with our sons. And, we’re so glad we did because it was really great, respectful and educational. We didn’t make a big announcement; we just turned on the television while they were in the room, like we often do.
C.J. sat on the floor playing Lego Elves; Chase was in our over-sized chair playing his Nintendo 3DS. Born into a generation of multitaskers, they were each doing their own thing while listening to our thing.
“Is he transgender?” they both asked as the show got underway.
“We don’t know. Maybe he’ll tell us now,” I said.
As Matt and I watched, the boys gave half of their attention to Bruce and half to themselves.
During the interview, ABC showed a Saturday Night Live clip poking fun at Bruce’s gender expression.
“Awww, that wasn’t nice!” Chase said, not looking up from his game.
When Bruce’s sister was interviewed, she said she cried after Bruce first told her about his gender struggle. She said she didn’t understand at first.
“Well you should understand it! It’s your brother! It’s your family!” C.J. yelled at the TV.
“Sometimes people don’t understand, even family members and friends,” Matt explained.
Diane Sawyer and Bruce both said that Bruce will emerge as “Her” – expressing more or entirely as female — when the time feels right.
“I can’t wait to see her!” C.J. exclaimed giddily.
“Yeah, why is he not a girl yet?” C.J. asked impatiently.
“Because he’s taking his time,” Matt says.
When the interview was almost over, C.J. looked up from his LEGOS and said very seriously…
“I’m going to be a boy my whole life.”
“Okay,” Matt and I said in unison.
“But, you know if doesn’t matter to us if you are a boy or a girl. That we love you no matter what,” I said.
“Yeah, yeah, I know,” he mumbled.
Our unconditional, nonjudgmental, totally supportive love bores C.J. now. But, at least he knows it’s there for him.
When the interview was over we paused the TV.
“What are your final thoughts on that?” I asked both of the boys.
“I wish he didn’t have to wait to transition until he’s so old,” Chase said.
“I want a snack,” C.J. said.
And, with that, out teaching moment came to an end.
Reblogged this on kayejayexpressions and commented:
I love this! Kids have a “through the looking glass “mentality that allows them to embrace culture and societal differences better than adults. I applaud these parents! Instead of demaning now Caitlyn they left the door open for positive discussion! #thankyou
I just spent three hours reading your posts back to 2012. I am so inspired by your family, and the journey you have taken together. It amazes me how such a courageous and patient woman could also be so beautiful and funny. I an a freshman in college, and haven’t had children yet. But when I do, I hope that I can teach them with the same kindness and wisdom that you do.Thank you for creating this post.
“Our unconditional, nonjudgmental, totally supportive love bores C.J. now. But, at least he knows it’s there for him.”
That line brought tears to my eyes. I absolutely love that there are parents like you in the world.
I am the mother of a gay teenage son who is also an advocate for safe schools nationwide (which right now absolutely are not safe for LGBT children)… Anyway last week my son was on a panel along with a transgender twenty-something-year-old woman. When she told her story, I was expecting the narrative that you and many in the community convey “that most children who are transgender know from an early age that their gender assigned at birth doesn’t match whats in their head/heart so to speak” …
I was completely taken aback when she said that wasn’t the case for her and that many of her transgender friends have many different reasons and “whys” for “becoming/being/identifying” transgender. In her case she was masculine and gay growing up, but loved female expression/clothing/presentation. She feels more comfortable dressing presenting herself daily in this way. She had breast implants but is not going to have further surgery. She has come to view herself as female, prefers female pronouns and is sexually attracted to males.
She wanted to dispel the notion that it is always a pronounced gender misidentification/dysphoria from an early age (like is currently being sold to the public) as the “whys” of transgender. She has never suffered from gender identity dysphoria.
I guess I just wanted to share this with everyone so we aren’t adamant that it is only one way, falling into one category of the “whys/roots” of transgender.. She clearly is female now and is thriving, but she said she feels like a fraud when people assume that she has had this “only identification with the opposite sex for herself from an early age” theory. While it is true for many, hopefully we can all keep an open mind and embrace that gender fluidity might not be so linear in its presentation… at least that was her message which I had never been exposed to before..
She is one person. Her friends are different than her. Some people have very mild dysphoria, others have it so strong they barely survive (and many do not). For people with Transgender children, it is very typical that they (the children) are dysphoric…..which is how many parents finally understand that their kid is having a REAL issue with their identity, not just a “funny phase”.
I think because you have heard some people say they did not know they were Trans* when younger/had dysphoria…many did not KNOW what Trans* even was. A lot of teens/kidults/young adults are coming out now because a light bulb went off in their head, they now KNOW that there are many others that feel just like they do, and that Transgender is an actual thing.
Like Chase, I wish Bruce didn’t wait so long to transition. I’m not a judgmental person at all. In fact, I surprise even my friends at how so open-minded I am. Listening to the interview and hearing Bruce Jenner tell his story, he mentioned that he began taking hormones years ago, but had stopped so he wouldn’t cause his children so much pain. Instead, I wish he had continued with his transition and been a teaching tool for his children, rather than put off what been longing for so long. Although his actions and considerations are noble parenting, I wish he had considered the flip side of the coin and had bee selfish for his sake.
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I’ve told Jeremy repeatedly that I love zir no matter what zir gender is and both my kids that I love them no matter who they love. They both reply about the same as CJ and are both a lot more interested in a snack (especially if it involves chocolate).
Love it. I’ve been showing my son (you had me and my son in one of your posts last year) Bruce Jenner on the covers of magazines for months now — only the nice, positive photos of course. My guy is 12 now but small and still not to puberty yet. CJ reminds me a lot of him (same hair color too). Remember that on a DIME one summer my son was teased and called gay, which he didn’t understand (I hadn’t explained sexual orientation to him, but we had gay couples in our friendship circle so he did know from day one you can marry (pair up, whatever) a boy or a girl.), and immediately stopped his preferences of toys and playthings and everything. From always getting and proudly wearing pink manicures at 9 he stopped choosing anything once thought to be feminine. He’s sort of neutral about it all outwardly, now.
Anyway, I just wanted to share with you that while he was little, CJ’s age, he too always identified as boy. Bruce’s beautiful explanation should help people realize that kids can be gender different and not be transgender. Identity can differ from what activities and toys attract you. Kids enjoy what they enjoy, and that is that! According to studies, well more than half of kids who enjoy the playthings traditionally made for the opposite gender will be gay, so I expect my son will be, but I don’t talk about it because he isn’t there yet. It’s best to enjoy pre-puberty without too much emphasis on sex! We just try to expose him to gay and straight people and of course be equally accepting of them.
I feel we still have so much to learn about gender. And above all I want to protect children’s right to play with any toys, any safe ways they want! No one needs draw conclusions. Just let them be. Oh, and now our baby girl has grown into a preschooler who prefers the Legos, dinosaurs, and trucks at school, and never ever the dress up corner! Though she does like to baby her stuffed animals too!
I’m sad for Bruce that he didn’t feel he could do this until age 65 and I’m grateful our sons were born in this day and age.
This is awesome! I love how matter-of-fact both C.J. and Chase’s responses were. The “I want a snack” comment cracked me up because it is exactly how these sorts of conversations with my gender creative 8 year old son have been going lately.
Does CJ know of different identities under the trans/nonbinary umbrella, like genderfluid or genderqueer? It’s absolutely a-okay (obviously) if CJ is just a boy who likes femininity, but I know it would have been stellar for me as a child if I knew there were other options than boy or girl. Especially now, as a genderfluid person c:
And it’s obviously not like he needs to choose a label or anything now, since he’s just a kid. But knowing that there are words for other identities is so important.
After Bruce Jenner’s interview with Diane Sawyer, I hope people will leave him in peace. I could tell Bruce has went through years of pain waiting for this day to reveal the truth to the world. I was looking forward to this interview for weeks and it answered a lot of the questions I had in my head. I hope Bruce finds the happiness his heart desires. I love your blog and your sweet open minded boys!
I thought this interview was so well done and I hope it goes a long way towards people understanding that Bruce Jenner is very courageous, and stop making a punch line out of him. I agree with Chase, too bad he had to wait, as Diana put it, until the “pantsuit phase” but with Kim Kardishian’s help, I’ll bet he’ll look fantastic when he is ready to emerge as she. I did think it was interesting that he prefers male pronouns for now but got the impression he wanted the transition to be complete when he does emerge as her.
I do wonder about your reaction to CJ’s statement, as I feel you should keep your brother’s advice in mind. He said that you must take Chase at his word that he is straight. CJ was very clear as he always is that he is a boy that like girl things. I love you blog and your wonderful family. I mean no disrespect. CJ may still be transgender and it would be fine.
Lori, I was half-wondering if NBC had attempted to contact you for the Today Show, I think that your story regarding CJ would have had an impact, but it is very understandable regarding CJ’s privacy.
Kudos, for letting Chase and CJ watch Bruce’s interview! I haven’t seen it yet, but I did dvr it, I have a friend from high school (eons ago) whose son became as you call “gender creative” when “she” became an adult. I have met her “Daughter”, and can understand why she chose to be a “woman”. Reading your blog and your book has helped me understand “transgender” and gender creative” much better.
I think “gender creative” has more to do with gender expression than identity, right Lori? C.J. identifies as a boy but expresses himself however he wants.
If your friend’s son is now her daughter, she’s not (just) being gender-creative, she’s transgender. She would probably say she didn’t choose to be a woman, she just is one. I don’t understand why you put “she,” “daughter,” and “woman” in quotes. A person’s gender identity just is what it is, and a transgender person’s identity is just as valid as a cisgender person’s. Putting the words someone uses to describe themselves in quotes suggests they’re not valid or less valid.
Lesson Accomplished. Loved the “Why did he wait so long?? Because we were born too early and there was no information on Trans People. Yet Note: ‘It’s Better Late Than Never’.
WAY TO GO, lesson accomplished. Loved the ‘Why wait so long’ Answer we were born too soon, and no information available, follows ‘Better Late Than Never’
I read your book ans have followed your blog since. I am in Love with your family. I have been waiting for your input on the Bruce Jenner special. As usual your post did not disapoint. I just adore C.J.’s open mind and pure heart! Thank you for my smile today!