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My elderly mother rejects my transgender identity

The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:

I’m an unemployed person in my 50s. I was born female, but my gender identity is male. My mother won’t understand me as a sexual minority.

When I came out to my mother 20 years ago, she just replied: “People often told me that I look like a male.” And, “Pants are easier to move around in than wearing skirts.”

She, in her late 80s now, blames me for not getting married and not having a baby and giving her a grandchild.

Having many chronic illnesses, I can’t work and my mother supports me. I feel apologetic about that. However, she annoys me by saying: “It’s never too late. Get married, even to a man aged around 70.”

I always wear men’s clothes. If I were to marry I would only do so with a woman. No matter how much I explain that to her, she does not understand me. She denounced me as an ungrateful daughter.

Nobody understands me as a sexual minority since I live in the countryside. I don’t know how to keep my mind positive as I move forward.

A, Gunma Prefecture

Dear A:

More and more people are understanding of sexual minorities these days.

Still, it may be difficult for people your mother’s age to understand it. I understand that you want her to recognize your situation, but I think she only wants you to be happy.

So, why don’t you try to make her understand that a life without marriage or having children does not make you feel unhappy?

And then, you should begin with having a resolve to support yourself, and you should aim for a proactive and specific way of life.

To do so, it is good to have an environment in which you can receive advice from people who are understanding of sexual minorities based on their own experience. You can find lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender support groups nationwide if you search for them on the internet. I’m sure you will be able to find people there who share your problems.

How about seeking a path toward an independent life step by step by easing the internal struggle you have had so far and taking concrete action? Once you start to feel full of life, I believe your mother will be relieved and gradually understand you.

Megumi Hisada, writer

(from July 2, 2018, issue) Speech

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