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"My Daughter Became My Son"

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Yesterday, Chastity Bono's rep announced that Chastity is getting a sex change. Momlogic spoke with Fran Cassata, a New York mother whose 15-year-old daughter, Sarah, lives as a boy, for some insight.

Sarah

momlogic: When did you start to question your daughter's gender or sexuality?
Fran: When Sarah was very young. I must have realized she was gay when she was 9 or 10. I think it's because she was a tomboy, her style of clothing, her way of carrying herself, her mannerisms, and the way she walked. I would try to have her sit like a lady, but she would say, "I don't know how to do that." I tried to teach her to sit with her knees together and her ankles crossed, but she couldn't grasp that.

momlogic: When and how did your daughter tell you she was gay?
Fran: When Sarah was 13, she came out to me. I remember it was in the summertime and she was getting ready to leave for sleep-away camp for the first time. She called me at work and said she wanted to speak with me that afternoon. I was not feeling well and asked if we could talk tomorrow because she was supposed to go and stay with her dad for the night. I drove to her dad's house and we sat in the car talking. After beating around the bush and telling me she "liked people," she finally told me she's gay and she "liked girls." I wasn't surprised at all, and I knew in my gut what she was going to tell me. I had a gut feeling. She was surprised by my reaction and looked relieved because I supported her. I said, "And so ... ?" I told her it really doesn't matter which gender she prefers, whether she likes boys or girls, because she's still the same person, a good person. She's not burning down houses or torturing small animals.

momlogic: When and how did Sarah tell you she wants to live as a boy?
Fran: A year later, she approached me with wanting to change her gender. She told me she felt like she was a male trapped in a female body. She was crying a lot. I told her there's really not much she can do about it at this age, so to put it on the back burner and not dwell on it, because when you're as young as she is, I really don't think there's anything you can do about feeling that way about yourself. She let it go for a while. She didn't say anything for another year. Then, she brought it up again and had me watch the movie, "Boys Don't Cry." She was sobbing and told me she made me watch the movie for a reason ... because she felt like the character in the movie. Again, I supported my daughter and also brought her to speak with several counselors.

momlogic: As a mother, how are you handling your daughter becoming your son?
Fran: Less than a year ago, she made the switch from Sarah to Ryan. All of her friends call her Ryan and her Facebook page is now Ryan instead of Sarah. She is very disappointed that I don't refer to her as Ryan or in the male gender. When people have a pet, they can't even call a pet by a different name, so imagine a child? It's very difficult to call your child by a different name. I think she feels I can be a little more supportive. I went to a meeting for transgender parents and loved ones and learned a little bit, but I am not totally convinced ... I don't want it to be true. Either way, all I want is for her to be happy and live a nice, healthy, prosperous life. Her sexuality doesn't mean that much to me. And why don't I want it to be true? Because I think transgender people have a much more difficult time going through life. If my daughter did have surgery, I still don't know if I'd be able to call her by a different name. I would have to wait and see.

momlogic: Would you support her if she one day decided to get gender reassignment surgery?
Fran: Absolutely. I think when she's older, she'd know for sure that it's how she wants to live. As a teen, the entire world is confusing. Last spring at this time, she actually dated a boy.

momlogic: How do you feel about the news that Chastity Bono is preparing for surgery?
Fran: I think it's a courageous move. Especially because Chastity's in the media spotlight, it's probably more difficult to come out and say and do things without a lot of privacy.


next: If Toddlers Wrote Ad Copy
9 comments so far | Post a comment now
Uly June 12, 2009, 9:21 AM

Transgenderism is not a matter of sexuality, but of gender identity.

Laura June 12, 2009, 12:25 PM

I’m not sure how to feel about this-My youngest daughter-is a Tom boy-she is 14 now-she is not into boys at all! It worries me sometimes-I don’t know how to feel about this-I have always been against the word “gay” even though I have friends that are-I guess it is just different when it is your own kids.

MumWunder June 12, 2009, 1:49 PM

omg, if i have a girl i hope she turns out like ryan.
little girls are manipulative, whiny, narcissistic over-entitled brats.
then they grow up to post stupid articles on momlogic, like the importance of the fatty teenage witch in a bikini, or a gay kid that’s only in the news because some celeb is going through it too.

pleeeease.
girls make me gag, i would probably give up if i had to face every day with pigtails, frilly socks and skirts and irrationality about being ugly or not good enough.

and besides, like most girls, she’d probably get fat as they seem to have no sense of self control.

a girl i could probably eventually come to terms with and handle, but a fat one going through puberty and wondering why boys don’t like her wobbly chins? i don’t think i could live with myself after all the white lies i’d have to spew just so she doesn’t feel even more fat than she’d already be…

yeah, nooooo. hell no.

Molly Jonas June 12, 2009, 2:15 PM

How is this a positive thing? Allowing a child to decide that their gender isn’t working for them? I don’t care what you wear, gender is genetic, not transient. I’m hearing stories about parents of 4 and 5 year old boys who are claiming their sons are gay, or are trapped in the wrong bodies. Teach your children to accept themselves for who they are, rather than indulging a desire to be who they are not.

anonymouse June 13, 2009, 3:31 AM

I’m loving these transgender stories.
However, I do feel for Ryan… that his mom still refers to him as ‘her daughter’ and ‘Sarah’ is highly, highly disrespectful. I can’t tell if the mother seems to know that or not. But at least she’s mostly supportive—that’s always far better than the alternative.

Also, there’s an author named Sara Ryan that wrote a book about a girl falling in love with another girl at camp… how odd! :)

Anonymous June 15, 2009, 11:34 PM

I can’t imagine how difficult that would have been for Ryan to bring that up with his mother and be honest about his feelings. For her to “not want it to be true” is absolutely disgusting! How selfish! If you were truly worried about him “having a difficult time going through life” you would be TOTALLY supportive. Good luck Ryan!

Jenyfer. June 18, 2009, 10:15 AM

I think this is amazing. Your an amazing mum for supporting her but also staning your ground. Being a mother to a transgender child isnt only hard but it takes alot of brainwork, trying to see your child as a different sex and a different name. Not knowing how to react when your out in public and people refer to her as him. Its not easy. But what your doing is amazing, and i give you my full respect for doing it. I am a friend of Ryan’s and now i see where he gets his amazing personality from. I wish you both luck in the future.

Love, Jeny.

Tina July 5, 2009, 9:46 AM

First off, the pronouns are all wrong. I am a mother of a FTM, and I know how important it is for me to refer using the propper pronoun (him). I have also been watching some of your son’s videos on youtube. He is an amazing and smart young man.
As a mother myself I know how hard this is. Just the very thought that my child was born in the wrong body would leave me in tears. I feel guilty, that I forced him in dresses, embarrassed when people ask me “where has your daughter been?”, I also grieve for my daughter that never existed. I love and support my boy more than anything and I am looking forward to his future which seems so much brighter these days.

courtney October 13, 2010, 4:55 PM

i think ryan likes being a boy instead of a girl


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