How a Trip to Disneyland Changed My Trans Family Forever
We thought we were being generous by giving my dad a week to live as a woman. But once we had that week together, we could never go back.
Illustrations by David Huang
When I was ten, my dad told me that he sometimes dressed like a girl. A few days later I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and saw my dad wearing a frilly nightgown.
“It’s a good thing he told me about that,” I thought. “Otherwise I’d think this was weird.”
Being a weirdo didn’t bother me much until I was 12. Middle school was when weird suddenly became wrong. Just wearing an X-Files shirt made me a target of ridicule. I was terrified of what might happen if people found out about my dad.
It was 1994, and many of the words my dad used to describe herself are now considered offensive. When she first came out to me, it was as a transvestite. When she started going to a trans support group and realized that her true gender was female, the words she used were “transgender” or “transsexual.” None of these words were familiar to the general population. It just wasn’t a topic that most people talked about. My dad wasn’t living as a woman, but sh…