So this topic has been on my mind a lot lately, and I think I need to write it out so I can get it out of my head (for now anyway). This is kind of a tough post for me to write..
What is it that makes someone a man or a woman? There is definitely the sex organs right? That's one way of determining sex. But all that really determines is male or female. It doesn't necessarily make you a man or a woman based on society's standards of what men and women are. Most people would say that you become a man when you go through puberty or you become a woman when you get your period(again puberty). Before that you are just a boy or a girl. And what causes puberty? Hormones. Hormones make you grow all sorts of hair, cause your voice to deepen, sex organs begin functioning and getting ready for the ultimate purpose of baby-making. I mean biologically that is what we are engineered to do. That is what puberty is all about. So what happens when your child doesn't have hormones?
I know that inevitably I will have to have THE talk with Skyler, and that it won't be the normal talk that all normal teens/preteens get/should get from their parents. I'm not scared about it though. I have a plan. I realize I will have to explain where babies come from and how to get a baby. You will notice I said get not make. I'm going to explain to him that when two people love each other very much (not just a man & woman, cause I believe in gay rights, and it makes it easier to explain if I can use them as an example of people who can't biologically make babies together) and are ready for all the responsiblities they discuss how they would like to become parents. There are many different ways of becoming parents. Sometimes a man and a woman can make a baby by having sex. Sometimes they can't, but even if they can't they can use other methods. (Here is where I explain surrogacy, and IVF, and donor gametes and adoption and so on.)
I'm hopeful that he'll be curious and want to know everything possible about his condition and that I can explain it all very clearly for him. I want him to be clear on everything there is to know. Chuck and I saw an episode of Hou.se where a couple had a hermaphrodite baby and decided to raise him as a boy and didn't tell him anything about himself. They told him his testosterone shots were "vitamins" I couldn't watch that episode without getting extremely pissed off. I don't care if the kid is young or doesn't fully understand yet. How could someone lie to their kid about their own body? I think that's just wrong. If Skyler is young and wants to know something about himself I will find a way to explain it so he understands, tailor it to his age and ability to comprehend. I will not lie to my child and tell him it's a vitamin when really it's not.
There's another issue right there is the testosterone. I know the other hormones he takes keep him alive, those there will be no discussion about. He will learn how to take them himself and he will learn that he needs them and that's the end of that. But when it comes to testosterone.. I think I want to give him some amount of choice. Testosterone is not a live or die hormone. He does not actually need it. I think if he wants it, that's great, he can take it when he is ready (within a certain time period like 13-16 years old) but if he is happy with his body the way it is.. Well I don't think I would want to force him to do something he might regret. His body is his body. And the testosterone will probably change it, but it won't allow him to make sperm.
So if he can't produce children, it will basically just change his appearance. He will become a 'man' in terms of most body changes that happen in puberty. (Though Chuck and I know someone who had to have them and he still looks like he is 12 and he is actually 17. It's hard to see him deal with others asking him constantly if he's old enough to do such and such an activity) But he'll probably still look rather young and not be able to obtain the same "mature" look as someone with natural testosterone would. This is just difficult for me to figure out I think. I don't think I want to force them on him. I want him to make that choice himself.
I'm hopeful that if we're honest with him and straight about all of his questions he will respect us (as much as a kid can respect their parents anyways) and be able to talk to us, because we respect him. All I really want for him in life is for him to be happy. If he decides when he's older that he likes being 'less manly' or whatever and likes boys well then I will be totally happy for him. I think honestly and I kind of hate to admit this.. but I think it would make things easier if he's gay.. At least then he wouldn't feel like a failure as a man because he can't produce sperm (not that a man who can't produce sperm is a failure, but they often seem to feel like it, regardless). Really though, maybe he will decide he doesn't like kids or want kids at all anyway. And at least we know about his infertility to begin with. It isn't going to come as a surprise after years and years of trying to have a baby or something. Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to try to make my kid gay or anything. But I certainly won't be disappointed in him if he is.
Well I'm not sure what I'm trying to say here, but I love my son no matter what, and I just want to give him the best guidance I can in life, until he's old enough to make his own decisions. And this gender/sex thing is going to be one of those hard things we have to face.