Questioning

We love to watch movie trailers in my house. I’m an author; my primary, live-in girlfriend is an author; my daughter loves to write stories; and we like to play a game where we watch a movie trailer and then we write a story about what we’d like to see happen in that movie. A lot of the time, what we come up with is way better than the actual movie, but that’s not important right now. Lately, there were two trailers that my nine year old wanted to watch more than once: About Ray and The Danish Girl.

About Ray (http://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/sep/13/about-ray-review-transgender-drama-offers-an-unremarkable-take-on-a-remarkable-story) is the story of a trans girl-to-boy. The Danish Girl (http://www.ew.com/article/2015/09/13/tiff-2015-danish-girl-review) is a trans male-to-female story about one of the first sex change operations.

The previews for these two films really caught my daughter’s attention. She’s known for a long time that the world isn’t made up of one mom + one dad heteronormal families. Her godparents are a great gay couple and they are fantastic to her. My Princess Boy (http://myprincessboy.com/) was a long time favorite of hers when she was little. The first male she fell in love with was Captain Jack Sparrow. The first female she fell in love with was Princess Jasmine. She used to tell me that she was going to marry both of them, so the three of them could go on as many adventures as they wanted together and then they could come home to a lovely palace.

Something about those two movies clicked with her in a way I don’t know if I’ve seen before. She had many, many questions about boys and girls and boys who like boys and girls who like girls and boys and girls who liked boys and girls. She questioned her sexuality and her identity. She did a lot of thinking about who she is and what she feels like, who she feels like she is.

She said, “That must be really terrible, feeling like you’re a boy if you look like a girl. Everyone would think you’re just a girl by looking at you, and then when they get to know you some people might be confused because they think you’re a girl and you’re not. That’s really sad.”

She continued, “I think I’m a girl. I don’t know what it feels like to be a boy. But I think I’m really a girl in a girl’s body.” She lowered her voice, “And I’m pretty sure I like boys.” Then she covered her mouth and flushed with embarrassment.

Because whatever answers she had come up with for these new questions, these videos made her really contemplate herself, her body, her orientation, her connection to the world. “And whatever your answers are right now,” I told her, “that doesn’t mean those have to be your answers forever. You can be whoever you grow into being.”

“Ugh, really? You mean some day I’m going to have to figure this out again?”

Yep. That’s what I mean. Sorry, kiddo. But at least you’ll know that when you do, we’ll all be here for you, no matter what your answers are.

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