Feb 1, 2020
Guest Emma Bryn’s childhood was overshadowed by her father’s gender transition. By age 12, she had developed a severe eating disorder to cope. “For me, it was like my father had died,” she says. To acknowledge that loss would cast a negative shadow over her father’s transition, so her grief wasn’t permitted. “What was expected of me was absolute, 100% compliance. I couldn’t show any negative emotions at all.” Accidentally calling her parent “Daddy” provoked a violent and traumatic rebuke that still haunts her. “My language was policed so much.”
She notes that for many children of gender transitioners, “lots of people’s feelings depend on you suppressing yours." Emma hopes to use her story as a cautionary tale to encourage parents to allow children to express the full range of their emotions, even the unpleasant ones, during a parent’s gender transition.
* Note: The term transexual (used in the show) is still widely accepted in the U.K. We recognize that in the U.S. the preferred term is transgender.