Marlo Mack gave birth to a son. At least, she thought she did. As a toddler, her son crawled towards dresses, wanted to be a princess, asked to grow long blonde hair. And at age 3, Marlo's son requested to return to her tummy so he could come back out as a baby girl. Marlo thought it was a phase--it wasn't. So she started learning how to raise a very young transgender daughter. She started keeping audio diaries.
In this episode, Marlo sends her child to a new summer camp, and struggles with giving her autonomy in revealing her gender identity to other children.
Marlo faces questions daily about how to best raise her daughter. How can she stimulate her child while protecting her in a world often unkind to transfolk? She tells her daughter that there are some people who are like Darth Vader, just too sad to be kind anymore.
Marlo Mack and her daughter produce a podcast about their life together called How to Be a Girl. Marlo generously gave us access to her raw recordings for use on this episode. How to Be a Girl is part of The Heard, a new podcast network. Marlo also writes a blog called Gender Mom.
Marlo Mack is a pseudonym. She will keep their true identities secret until her child is old enough to understand the risks of revealing her identity. These risks are real. 2015 has been an especially bad year for trans folk; 2015 has already seen the murders of at least 15 American trans women. Marlo and her daughter exist in what they call "deep stealth mode."
So, when do you tell people that you're a girl with a penis? When is it safer to hide?
This episode was produced by Marlo Mack. Jeff Emtman edited it with help from Bethany Denton and Nick White.
Music: The Black Spot
Resources for trans children and their parents:
Trans Youth Family Allies - for families of trans youth
The Trevor Project - specifically crisis and suicide prevention
YouthResource - specifically for trans/lgbt youth
Human Rights Campaign - list of resources for trans youth