My beautiful partner, Darling, (not her real name, just how I feel about her) experienced a horrific childhood. Her father, a police officer, was controlling and violent, was abusive and erratic with the whole family. At birth, she appeared to be a healthy male child with smaller than usual boy parts, but boy parts all the same, and was raised as a male. What wasn’t known til much later was that Darling also had been born with Kleinfelter Syndrome, an intersex condition in which the chromosomes don’t pair as XY, but combine as XXY, meaning that she is both female and male. In High School, she developed boobies. That was a huge embarrassment, being in the boys locker room with a B cup. Inside her mind, she knew her breasts were right- her gender identity didn’t match her appearance, and in those days, that was considered deviant and perverse, even among mental health specialists. She kept it hidden as long as she could, until at the age of 22, she was at the brink of suicide. She couldn’t continue living her life as a male, knowing in her heart that she was meant to be a girl. She tried. She tried to shoehorn her identity by marrying and having a child. The marriage, predictably, went sour, and ended when she told her wife that she wasn’t going to keep trying to be a circle in a square’s body. So she stopped trying. She changed her name, grew her hair, and began the path of transformation.
This didn’t go down well with her ex- or with her parents. They colluded to kidnap her son, who the ex- didn’t want to care for; the heartless bitch thought that his autism made him too broken to be worthy of her love and attention. Darling’s parents didn’t believe in autism, they thought the best thing for him was to beat it out of him. They moved from state to state, never staying in any one place long enough for the local courts to have jurisdiction, so that Darling could not file to get him back. During those 4 years, she was in a special hell trying to get him away from their abuse and the horror that was his daily life of autistic confusion met with violence. Eventually, they made a mistake, and with the help of her ex-wife’s parents, Darling was able to file and regain custody of her son. The next years were spent working with him patiently. learning to be a loving mom to him and to take care of him while juggling her own inner demons which came from a gender identity inconsistent with her biology and from the abuse she’d endured as a child. She taught herself to be exactly the parent her son needed. Today, he’s smart, funny, and well-adjusted, successfully enrolled as a sophomore in college and doing well.
Struggling with her gender identity and self-esteem issues, she made some unfortunate choices during the years that her son was kidnapped. She took up with a stripper girlfriend who was violent, unfaithful and who used drugs and drank excessively, (we’ll call her J., because its her first initial and because we don’t want to stoop to the name calling she deserves) became pregnant. Kleinfelter Syndrome usually entails fertility disruption, as does taking estrogen medications. J.’s behavior in the relationship was abusive and unfaithful, so when J. said “its not yours”, Darling believed her. Still, she wanted to do right by the child and asked J. to consider letting her stay in child’s life. J. said “no, and if you don’t go away, I’ll have you charged with stalking and harassment”. Up til then, they’d gotten along, this was an abrupt about face on J.’s part. Darling contacted a lawyer, and learned that she had no rights to ask fora DNA test and that she should respect J.’s request and stay the hell away. A year passed, and J. called to say she was the bio father and please come see her and the baby, and she did. The following day, J. said “I just wanted your money, you’re not the father, go away.”
Eventually, Darling went to Thailand, and corrected biology’s mistake. But her transformation wasn’t just genital, or gender-based, she changed her life. She built a career for herself in IT, set goals and more than met them, challenging herself to overcome her childhood-instilled tendencies toward drama and violence, and to accept herself and to live life on her terms. She taught herself to ski, to ride a motorcycle, to build and program computers, and to be calm, loving and generous. She got off her ass and learned to fly airplanes. She’s a renaissance woman. A friend called her “The Most Interesting Woman in the World” before the Dos Equis guy made that a thing. The woman she is today has a good job, lives in a nice neighborhood in a lovely, well-cared for home, with a partner who loves her dearly, and a close circle of good friends that have replaced the family who wouldn’t accept her. She didn’t become a female; that was always who she was. Darling became an extraordinary woman.
J. didn’t get in touch again for 11 years, and when she did, she said “I lied, she is yours, and she’s all messed up. Can you please come and save her.” That’s how Babygirl came into our lives.
Babygirl was a scared, scarred 12 year old girl, who was bouncing between J.’s house, her step-father (B., again because I shouldn’t call him what I want to) and various psych wards. She’d been tortured, abused, neglected, molested, and exposed to family and community violence. She was diagnosed with PTSD, RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder, a diagnosis usually found in extreme cases of abuse, first observed in Romanian orphanages) ODD, ADD, ADHD, and a host of other alphabetical terms that all basically mean an unloved child is responding to her caregivers in exactly the same ways that she has seen them behave. We immediately went into action. Children’s Services was in the process of removing her from her mother’s custody. J. had invited Darling back into Babygirl’s life not out of concern for Babygirl., but to hurt her stepfather, B. who wanted her to live with him for reasons that had more to do with finances than with any real concern for Babygirl’s welfare. Our first move was to contact a lawyer to find out how to go about getting custody and getting her to a safe stable place. Next, we confirmed Babygirl’s parentage with DNA, to prevent J. from pulling any more stuff. Then we filed for custody from Children’s Services, determined to give this hurt little girl a chance at a normal, healthy life. It took nearly a year, and was a hell of an journey, but we were finally granted custody 4 months ago.