Our Discussions


Transsexuality
1 (a madar)

To Whom It May Concern:

I am an Iranian mother who has a transsexual daughter (MTF) and the reason for us -- my daughter and I -- being in the US is because of this issue. I thought it was too early for my community to understand and accept this phenomenon and we had to do something so that she could transition as soon as possible.

I believe that we as parents should try to keep up with new findings on sexuality and gender issues and in this way help our children. If the society in Iran were more accepting and could understand and be tolerant I didn't need to leave Iran, and I think if this movement starts from outside Iran it could finally filter into Iran and would benefit a lot of families, and youngsters like my child would not be singled out because they don't exactly fit the mainstream society.


2 (a web visitor)

I just wanted to say to this mother that there are many iranian transsexuals in iran and they are living as normal as others. Yes, there are problems with the people who dont have enough information about sexuality. Not only must we iranians reconsider our opinion about transsexuality, we must also change our opinion about gay and bi rights.

Many iranian children and youth suffers because of their sexual orientation. Please understand that sexual orientation is not a thing you can choose and that homo/bisexuality is not about sex. Unfortunately islam has destroyed our once free and civilized culture, but it is time to regain it.


3 (a madar)

I am wondering why no one else has anything to say about this subject maybe we think that if we don't talk about it , it won't happen to us

I am wondering why this Madar wrote to Madar Pedar in the first place maybe after leaving Iran , she thought she could talk and share her experience with other Iranians ( more open!) outside Iran.

I am wondering how she has the courage to tell us and we don't even have the courage to say we don't like to talk about ..........

What if it happens to our children , is it better to know about it before hand or we will just ignore it or deny it

you know I met that Madar about 3 months ago she is a kind and loving madar

do you think we should ask her why she wrote and told us?

God bless all of our children


4 (a madar)

Sorry I must of miss the original message , I have no idea what are you talking about


5 (a pedar)

In response to madar#3:

I can say for myself that I don't recall reading the original note from the madar. I also searched my old mail and couldn't find it. I read a response from (web visitor#2) which to me was vague. Perhaps we should refresh everyone's mind with the original writing so that everyone gets updated and the discussion will follow.


6 (a madar)

Madar#3,

I also missed the original message, but I think even if I wouldn't miss it, I probably wouldn't have responded back anyway as I unfortunately don't have any clear thought about this issue. Even in a liberal, modern society like the United States this subject is not fully settled down yet. In many areas in the U.S. a kid like this mother's daughter will still be singled out and teased for her sexual orientation. I know I need to educated myself about this subject. So far, all I know is that no matter what one's sexual orientation is, he or she is a human being just like everybody else. We also have to realize that for many people (around the world), this is a fear of unknown. Some think that bisexuality is a sickness or a mentality that a person develops or chooses. It takes time to educate people about such subject. I would think this is even more difficult than racism.

Also, to answer to your question I don't think we should ask this mother why she wrote to us. We never ask others why they write to us discussing their problems so why should we ask her?!


7 (madar#1)

Since what I wrote quite a few months back about the fact that my child's transsexuality basically forced us to leave Iran has been brought up again, I'd like to take this further and see how problems like these in communities like ours should be dealt with.

Should parents of transsexuals or gay or lesbian children deny and/or hide what has happened to them from everybody, feel ashamed, try to force the child to fit in? Or should they be brave and fight all the deep seated customs and ways of doing things and support their children? What is it that makes the family lose face( aabroo raftan)when something like this happens to a family?

One member of the list says: there are lots of transsexuals live in Iran and their lives are as normal as everybody else. I like to hear more from this member as to whether she has actually been in close contact with these transsexuals in all stages of their transition in Iran. Equally I'd like to know if it's her brother, sister, uncle, aunt, or even parent that has been a transsexual. Because it's only when this happens to somebody that close to you, you can feel how impossible everything would look like. I am a 53 year old mother of this child and until 4 years ago I lived in Iran. Therfore, as a member of this community surely I have experienced a lot in my life and I understand how people will view other people in the event of anything even close to issues of sexuality or gender issues. How could have my child transitioned normally and safely and dress androgynously when she needed it?

A transsexual should be able to live in the opposite gender role for at least a full year successfully before the psychiatrist can verify whether the TS can go through with the surgery.Incidentally, some transsexuals may never go through the surgery. How would this be possible? How would their sexual behavior be considered?

Who, as a parent, would be prepared to let his/her child to marry such a transsexual?

We can go on with questions like this for ever. As I mentioned in my previous email that Madar#3 has quoted again, my purpose is to raise awareness and make a difference to the lives of people like my child(transsexuals) and even to the lives of all GLB(gay/lesbian/bisexual)group.

We cannot do this without being prepared to discuss these issues, reaching out, listening,and being interested in learning and changing. Some of you might say you don't need this because this is not for you. I used to think like this. But my experience has taught me that life is full of surprises. You can never be sure.

Probably when genetics makes more progress might we be able to see whether any of this is in store for our children upfront but until then unfortunately nobody can tell.

We must understand these things are not a matter of choice. I hope that we can make a difference in the lives of future generation.


8 (madar#3)

Madar#6 jan,

I did not put it very well By "asking her why she wrote to Madar Pedar" I meant If she wanted to talk to us Further and by not participating we did not give her that opportunity I am glad Madar#1 has decided to write again because Like you I don't know much about this subject and I would like to learn more

Thank you all


9 (pedar#5)

I think the issue of transsexuality, or for that matter, any issue that puts our children outside of the normal behavior is a very though one for the parent.

Our society in US may be more tolerant than anywhere else in the world. But, I don't think that the issue of dealing with the "different treatment" of a child who is different from most, is isolated to Iran. Most societies, including the one here have the same simptoms. Although, the level of treatment may differ, in general, the acceptance is not there. However, in any case, denying the existence of the problem never helps solving it. It is much easier to face the issue here without feeling that "aaberoo" is lost. The best thing for the daughter is to feel that at least there is acceptance in her family and an awareness that this is not something that she chose. It is something that she has, no different than let's say diabetes. It may be cured, it may be something that could be controlled, or may be it stays the same for ever. Either way, the support of those around her is what is going to make things easier for her and everyine else involved.

I think this mother has done the right thing to come to US. I know of another family that left Iran many years ago because their son was "mentally challenged". The reason they came here was two pronged. First, simply because there are more facilities available here and they could send him to a special school. Second, because there is more acceptance or tolerance for "mental retardation" here. You know, after many years here, they came to the conclusion that the acceptance really was no different in Iran. It was the facilities and the schools that made a difference.

In the case of our friend, I think that the facilities and the opportunities here will prove to be the best reason for choosing to leave Iran. After all, many people with severe deseases like heart or lung or.....conditions come here for treatment. Of course it will take time. The daughter has to go through the study and observation to see if see in fact can cross the "gender line". That's not an easy time. However, the light at the end of this long tunnel is that there are ways and means available here to deal with these types of "things". I admir the parents for leaving Iran in the hope of providing a better life for their daughter. That's what true parenting is all about. My hat is off to them.

As far as the situation in Iran, we have to be realistic. Iran, like many other places in this world, will remain decades behind the social, educational and scientific arenas that we enjoy in US. Expecting the society in Iran to become more like US is not going to hapen in our life times or perhaps ever.


10 (madar#3)

Thank you Pedar#9 for taking the time to write I hope more people talk about this , so people like me would learn more about it and to know how to deal with it and how to accept it , if it happen to someone we know

by the way where is Pedar#13? He usually has something to say we have not heard from him!

Best Wishes


11 (a madar)

I just have one problem with your (Pedar#9) e.mail. Why do you think that "transsexuality" is a disease and needs to be cured. I think as long as we feel this way this is going to be a problem. You keep talking about tolerance. Why should we tolerate. This is a fact of life and should be treated as a fact. Acceptance and education is the key to dealing with this situation. I do think that Madar#1 did the right thing of getting out of Iran in the first place. This was a first step and what she is doing now is even more impressive. Educating all of us on this issue. We all tend to think this will never happen to us, but why is this so scary to us? We shouldn't treat this as a sickness (physical or mental). We just need to deal with this and get more education in this regard and try to raise an awareness in Persian society.


12 (a madar)

Madar#1 jaAn,

I can not thank you enough for your sincere sharing, I admire your positive active attitude of making a difference, and thank you Madar#3 for reopening this discussion. In my part, when this email was sent out originally, I felt high respect and appreciation for Madar#1 and what she has done and gone through, however, I could see how difficult it seemed to me to approach and touch this issue. I left Iran right after high school and have been living in this country for last 22 years; I have been exposed to issues related to sexuality. I strongly believe that we should develop acceptance for people with different sexual orientation, I totally agree with Madar#11 that this should not be looked at as a "disease" and it needs recognition rather than tolerance. I have two daughters (9 and 5) and I can see how motherhood itself has helped me to have a better understanding of each person's individuality, kids and parenthood really edify us if we are wise and open to use the opportunity.

At the same time I see how our culture has deeply rooted in our being to have different emotions and feeling toward subjects such as sexuality even though reasonably we have that acceptance. So, my invitation to Madar#1 is to share with us how did you deal with these emotions? How were you able to cross the lines to prepare yourself to deal with this challenge?

It is one thing to deal with people around us and another to deal with our internal ups and downs and constant struggle. I absolutely accept that my children will go through their own path and I intend to support them fully no matter what, but I do not know how to empower myself for this journey and how to harmonize my opinion and beliefs with my internal feelings influenced by how I have been raised and our culture in general. Madar#1 has lots of courage to take steps in enlightening us and raise the awareness among people like myself who have decided what is the right thing to do as far as this issue is involved. I do not want to wait to discover different sexual orientation with my daughters to be in peace with this issue completely, I want to accept this entirety without feeling " I accept them but hope that it won't be a case with my children"! or is it okay to have this mixed feeling? if so, why does it not feel right?

I thank you for your time and welcome your sharing.


13 (a pedar)

Amen Madar#11 and Madar#12 !! Just wanted to reemphasized what Madar#11 and Madar#12, each has said which really made it BOLD. Thanks again Madar#1 to brought it up once more (I know you did it too in the past). I was tempted to say something about last response, then reminded myself, that : this is partially what Madar#1 is talking about, and why left the country! Indeed reveals how far we're standing when it comes to sexual-self, culture-traditions. "Disease" correct, but not where previous note was directing us. Madar#11 correctly pointed out where lack of openness exists and admission of not knowing the issue when we start to talk about it.

I love to see more sharing from Madar#1 and her experience, if she would. And please do not be discouraged by probable lack of "understandable!" response, since we all need more discussion(not labeling though!) on this subject.


14 (a madar)

We need to be honest and identify the problem in order to be able to deal with it. Is transexuality a problem, or is it our reaction to it that casues the problem? Any thing that is contradicting the mainstream norms of the society is considered a problem by default. I doubt if too many of us have the courage to say that it does not matter to me if the society thinks my child has a "problem", I think deep inside we all wish to avoid such situations. I praise Madar#1, too, but just saying others "should" be open minded does not help. Obviously, her child has had a hard time and many difficulties.

With respect to the "problems" related to sexuality, many people fear that it is an educational issue. It is not clear yet whether it is genetic or not and it could be "ektesaabi". For example, some heterosexuals trun gay, and sometimes it is the other way around.

Madar#1 can help us by telling how she knows it was not a "choice" by her child and why she had to do it. It could help us put away the fear that such people could influence our children. Also, she could help us by explaining how she came to accept it as Madar#12 suggested.


15 (madar#11)

I guess we scared off many people in this alias with our comments. It seems like many people wanted to get out of the list as soon as our comments got published. I am not sure if this is the reason or this is just a coincidence. In any case, this only proves how far behind we are in dealing and facing the modern society issues. I just want to tell one thing to the people who wanted to get out of this list (if this issue is the reason). You need to stay on and raise your concerns. Isn't this list all about sharing ideas and concerns? I might be totally wrong and this has nothing to do with any thing, but it was kind of odd to see more than one person who wanted to be removed from the list in one day and right after the discussions and comments. Forgive me if I made a wrong judgement.


16 (madar#12)

My question to this madar (#14) is: Does it make it right not to accept it if it is determined that it (sexual characteristic) is by "choice"? Assuming it is by "choice", should we start fighting it? treating it? tackling it as a "problem"? What if our own sexual orientation is decided to be by "choice" influenced by our culture, religion, society, family, education, ...? I love to know what you think.


17 (pedar#13)

What a observation Madar#15; whether it's true or not, it's a choice similar to the one when they decided to join this mailing list. It's refreshing that an issue gets raised here, in addition to usual name and nanny finding posts which by now we're all accustomed with.

But my real surprise is, every time we get to human sexuality discussion, there is a withdraw or total denial, as if this part of every human being on the face of this plant, never exists!


19 (Madar#1)

Hi, everyone,

My special thanks to Madar#3 who PERSEVERED long enough to get this discussion going. I am thankful to her and also to other madars and pedars who took the time and willfully responded to this issue.

I appreciate this because I want to be able to make a difference(however small) and pave the way for other transsexuals and their parents in Iran(if possible any part of the world that is behind in catching up with new findings).

I also feel sorry that a few people left the list.

First of all I'd like to explain the terminology.

sexual orientation: the attraction to the opposite or the gender.

gender: a social construction created and shaped by the society in which individual lives.

sex:is determined by one's physical characteristics such as genitalia, chromosomes,etc.

I am not trying to be rude and this is a technical discussion.

They usually say:" sex is between one's legs while gender is between your ears.

In most people sex and gender is the same. But in transsexuals one's gender is not the same as one's sex. In the case of my daughter an infant was born who physically was a boy (we by mistake thought this individual was a boy), whereas she was a girl.

After what happened to us I've thought a lot about why for instance woman like to wear dresses or why men would like to wear moustaches. We take it for granted. We take our gender for granted. But this is not really so. There is psychological factor that controls you.

The reason for the transsexuality is not known for sure. But they say it happens because of some hormonal imbalance in the mother's uterus when she is carrying the baby.

All fetuses are female at the beginning and at a certain age as a result of a certain action and reaction boy fetuses change to boys but in transsexuals this change doesn't occur completely and a girl infant is born with the genitalia of a boy and in the case of Female to males the opposite holds true.

Now the answer to the listmember who wanted to know why I know that it's not a choice is twofold:

1. My personal observation as a mother.

I consulted a psychologist when my daughter was 3to 4 years old. She would play with pots and pans, she would play with girls. She would try wearing my clothes and use my make up.

Again at the age of 11 I consulted a therapist and he said my daughter has identified with me rather than with her father and wanted us to change doing things around home. It never worked. She would continue playing with girls and being around them.

In retrospect I see how she learned very fast how to hide things from us so I would think she is growing out of it.

Therefore I cannot say how this could be a choice from that early age. After all this came out and by referring to a doctor in Iran we understood that our child is a transsexual, she told me how her classmates would make fun of her, would punch her in the stomach, etc. because she was very feminine.

Then it is not an easy life for her even now. 16 years of her life she thought she was a boy and she tried to fit in and now she is a woman. There were things that surely she wanted to do as a teenager and she couldn't do. Why would she, by choice, want to be in the opposite gender? It doesn't make sense. It cannot be right.

2. The scientific leg of the argument is that scientists have found out that certain part of the brain of Male to Female(MTF) transsexuals are the same as genetic females.

I hope I made it clear that in transsexuals the issue is not sexual orientation but gender tendencies.

In the case of MTFs they can be heterosexual transsexuals(TS)when they are attracted to males but some of them are homosexuals and are attracted to women but as a women. Therefore, in this case they have lesbian relationship. Quite a number of MTF's who didn't know what the problem is and married as men, continue to be with their partners even after the transition.

The point I am making is transsexuality is about the problem with one's gender. Even in the past when people didn't know about transsexuality some people who were transsexuals, mutilated themselves just because of the extreme discomfort with their own body- they are in the wrong body. I'd like to point out that I intend to raise awareness regarding homosexuality, and transsexuality. I think they are issues that should be discussed and solved together.

I need all the help that is out there to bring these issues to the open. Parents, teachers should know about these things. We should be able to respect differences.

One of you asked me how I dealt with this problem of my child. I was devastated(I don't think there is a strong enough word exists to describe how my husband and I felt.). I thought my life was coming to an end. one of you said about "abroo". It's so true. We go to such a great extent in order not lose face. We're even prepared to deny happiness to ourselves and family members because of this. Also there was the fear of unknown. How would my child be able to continue studying? How would she find work? Who would talk to her? How would she appear in public? All that. But once I understood this has a medical reason, I could pull myself together and reflect on her past behavior. Then I didn't hesitate and decided to leave the county and find a way to save her.

I am on list serve with other parents. There are parents of 5, 8,11 yeas old that come on the list and talk about their children gender tendencies. The children refuse to wear clothes of their gender and would demand to be called other names.

The parents talk to the teachers and the children dress in the clothing. that s/he is comfortable with, wears his/her hair the way she wants. When I remember that I tried to make my child fit I sincerely regret that. How much suffering I caused her. I didn't trust her wisdom.

This is all because of the ignorance in the society.

Media should be allowed to write about these things. People should become aware.

I hope there comes a day that parents that are having difficulty with their children's sexuality or gender issues will hear me.

Gratefully yours,


19 (madar#3)

If people wanted to be remove from this list because of what we are talking about it is their choice , we have to remember that it is easy to be removed from a list but not so easy to remove yourself from a child facing Tran sexuality or to remove your love and support from a child you brought in this world. I am sure no one wishes to have a child different than others specially in a world that people can't even bear to be in the same "list" with those who are just saying we want to know more about it just to know how to deal with it . To some people talking about it means promoting it!

Anyways I am sure Madar#1 is not alone , she just have more courage than others. I know of someone who told everyone her daughter had cancer and had only a few months to live just because she thought that if people knew that she was a transsexual "Aberoushoun mireh" Maybe that was the best way she knew how to deal with it .

It is interesting that in Iranian gathering we almost always end up talking about freedom and democracy in Iran. But in reality it is very hard for us to even hear of anything that is against our believes

God bless all of our kids And help us to be there when they need us no matter what

Thank you


20 (pedar#9)

Regarding transsexuality as a "desease".

May be desease is not the right word. However, transsexuality is a condition that can be corrected. It is not "homosexuality". It is a man trapped in a woman body or visa versa. Those who have this condition, go through surgery and hormone treatment successfully and lead a happy and normal life.

At least that is my limited knowledge based on knowing a person who had the surgery. But then again I could be wrong.


21 (a madar)

Madar#1,

Thank you for the information. I know I learned a lot from it. I also like to thank you for the way you responded to all of us. Although some tried to appear to be very intellectual and acted pretty condescending, It was very obvious that none of us knew anything about transsexuality so that puts us all in one boat. We all were ignorant about the issue. I have to say that your approach and information is greatly appreciated.

Wish you and your family the best!

P.S. To other members: Why don't we just leave those who want to be removed from this list alone without reaching any conclusion?!


22 (madar#3)

Madar#21 Jan,

You are right I did not mean to judge anyone We are all free to join or be removed from this list or anyother list for that matter.

I think I was trying to make a point and that was how are we going to learn and support each other if we are not prepared to even listen to each other.

Have a Magical Day


23 (madar#12)

Madar#1,

Thank you for your generosity and sharing this information, there are so much that we do not know. Please keep your link in tact with this list and if I may offer, maybe we can be a good support element with what you are dealing with.

With best wishes for you and your family.


24 (pedar#13)

Thanks madar#1; I could understand how difficult and challenging the whole experience has been for you and family. One of the questions the formed in my mind when I read your note, was this part that you said:

"But once I understood this has a medical reason, I could pull myself together and reflect on her past behavior. Then I didn't hesitate and decided to leave the county and find a way to save her."

I've read it a few times but I'm not clear what do you meant by that, would you elaborate a little bit? Also, I wanted to ask you, what each of us could do to be any help to you and other families? I know you've touched upon this briefly.

I thank you and other members of this board for their interest.


25 (a madar)

Salam Madar#1 Jaan,

I don't know how to thank you for your sincere sharing that provided me the opportunity to become more educated with transsexuality issue. The only reason that I have not written to you before, has been my ignorance and the fact that as much as I feel for you as a mother, it would be a big lie if I say, I understand you, your family and the most important than anyone, your precious daughter of what you have gone through.

Madar#1 Jaan, Please send my love to your daughter and pat yourself and whoever who has been a support to you during these tough years in Iran and then here. I really admire you for your courage.

I also need more specific direction of how I can help with this;

>I need all the help that is out there to bring these issues to the open.
>Parents, teachers should know about these things. We should be able to
>respect differences.

Please keep in touch and help us to get more educated in this area and become more understanding and a better person.

With love,


26 (a madar)

A couple days ago when for the first time Homa brought up the issue, I was very indifferent and I thought ,it's not my problem and I didn't want to have anything to do with it. I even thought why do we have to discuss about such "issue" in this site? It was a shock to me at the beginning. But today after reading Madar#1's response I have to say she really changed my view regarding this issue. My heart is now touched by the subject and I opened my eyes a little bit more, but I'm thirsty to know more... Thanks to Homa for being persistence and thanks to you Madar#1 jaan for your courage and kindness.

Madar#1 jaan ,I would like to know how you educated yourself at the beginning specially when you were in Iran. were there any good sources available for finding good books or experienced therapists back in Iran? Wish you the best,


27 (a madar)

ba salaam,

Thanks to all of you who are giving me hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that we are actually able to make a difference.

Pedar#9, you're right in terms of what you wrote. I have named the transsexuality a birth defect. I might be wrong. Some people say that might be codescending. I am not realy concerned under what label we can categorize this issue. For me this is one of the realities of life. In future scientists might be able to tell whether this is the case when the mother is carrying the baby and might be able to rectify it on the spot. But until then there might come a time that the world will think of a third gender! Everything is possible. This is what my experience has taught me.

Pedar#13, your question regarding what I wrote: I am saying that when I learned that transsexuality( by the way this is how it is spelled- I have also seen it with one "s")or whatever my daughter was demanding is not a whim and there is a medical reason behind it, then I made up my mind that we have to save and support her. She was already arrested a couple of times while walking in the street with friends.

Madar#25, in answer to your question regarding what I mean by what I am saying about needing help to bring this issue into open: I need to publicize this issue. I want to be able to publish articles in the press in here and in Iran and talk about this from an Iranian parent's point of view. I want to say it's all right to be out and support your child if s/he is a transsexual or even a homosexual. Why should parents feel ashamed when something like this happens to them.

I think it's the government's responsibility to promote the distribution of information, and issues like this should be discussed on the radio and TV and media should be allowed to write about them. People should be informed what can happen to their children. As I said, teachers and the staff in schools have a very important role and they should know about the differences in students.

Things are even not easy here. But different organizations are doing a lot to talk to students and teachers.

Nobody becomes a transsexual by being exposed to the information and equally nobody becomes a homosexual by just talking about it.

Thank you again for being understanding.


28 (pedar#13)

FYI:

For those interested to explore more on this subject, here is, one of many http://transsexual.org/


29 (madar#1)

There is a case recently of a transsexual child and the problems that the parents are facing.

Some parentts on the list that I am on have tried to provide testimony as to the fact that their children are also transsexual. There is a a very good site that has links to different good sources of information, mostly of families with TS children.

http://www.transfamily.org

Thanks to Pedar#13 for providing more information. Madar#26 asks how I educated myself. In answer to your questions, the last doctor that we consulted when my daughter was about 16 understood right from the beginning but told us when he made sure that my daughter was a genuine case. This was after he was around her for about 4 months. I cannot imagine if there is a support group in Iran. He didn't tell us anything about this anyway.

In our denial stage where we thought there must be out of this we met a psychologist who told us he could recetify this by psychotherapy. My daughter refused to go to them( a man and a woman) after the first session. But I did most of my search in this country by joining the PFLAG( parents and friends of Gay and Lesbians). This is a very big organization in the US that has chapters all over US. They also have included TS's in their mission statement. Then they also have a subgroup: Tnet, which deals with transsexuals. I listened, read, and talked.

I would be in tears at the beginning but as the time went by I moved from the stage of tolerance to accepatance. Now I am in the stage of advocacy. I am prepared to help and celebrate this difference in my child.


30 (pedar#9)

Dear Madars and Pedars:

Reading the comments about Madar#1's situation, I think sometimes inadvertantly and sometimes because of either not enough information or perhaps the wrong information the issues of transsexuality and homosexuality are not well understood.

Although the comments which I'm about to make may upset some of you, I think we should always keep an open mind and evaluate each topic based on the best information available and not according to what is the prevailing thought of the month or the latest publicity campaign of certain groups.

There is a HUGE difference between transsexuality and homosexuality.

Transsexuality is a "biological" condition that is present from birth. It is not a choice and it is not a condition that a person develops later in life.

Homosexuality is a "behavioral" condition and a sexual orientation that a person develops later in life.

Perhaps the best definition of sexual orientation is the one by Sexuality and Education Counsel of US which states:

"Sexual preference is a term once used to describe sexual orientation--bisexuality, homosexuality and heterosexuality--which is now outdated because sexual orientation is no longer commonly considered to be one's conscious individual preference or choice, but is instead thought to be formed by a complicated network of social, cultural, biological, economic, and political factors."

Note that transsexuality is abscent from the group. Homosexuality as defined above is a sexual orientation that is not chosen by anyone but rather is formed by a complicated network of social, cultural, biological, economic and political factors. Therefore, a behavioral condition.

The reason I am writing this note is that in this day and age when our children are bomborded with all kinds of "sex" related information, it is up to us as responsible parents, to define for them the acceptable and unacceptable behavioral conditions regarding sex. We teach our children that smoking is wrong from a very early age, yet how many of us have thought about teaching our kids that having sex with the same gender is wrong? Until a number of years ago, I would have been the first to admit that perhaps this is something that we should not talk about and let them learn it on their own. That was when our society's moral standards were different. However, since the push from the "homosexual groups" is becoming so strong in this country to change the political aspects of this behavior into an asset rather than a liability, I find it of great importance to ask that everyone should take the time to educate themselves and their children about sexual orientations. I don't want to leave it to school to teach my kids that Suzy has two mothers and that's OK or Jack has two fathers and that's OK.

I agree that talking about homosexuality is not going to make people homosexuals. But I strongly believe that putting a stamp of approval on the behavior in front of our children, or for that matter teaching them that such behavior is acceptable sends a message to them that this behavior is OK.

Please don't misunderstand me, I'm not saying we should be anti-gay/lesbian. I am saying that we accept many behaviors of others and do not dislike them for it yet we teach our kids not to do it. For example, we all have friends that smoke. We accept them and we socialize with them, yet we teach our children that smoking is unhealty and they should stay away from it. I strongly believe that such approach also goes for homosexuality. If we don't take the time to tell them that such behavior is wrong, then someone will be telling them that it is OK to have sex with the same gender. Whether it is a friend in school, the neighbor next door, a distant family member or..... some where they will hear that they should try it. No different than smoking. If we don't tell our kids that smoking is bad for them, someday a friend will be telling them to try it, they may like it.

I hope you'll excuse my "longwindedness", but like you, I feel strongly about the proper education of our kids. My hope is that you'll spread the word, if you agree with me, and stop the spread of the homosexuality propaganda into our children's classrooms and text books.


31 (pedar#13)

Would please be kind enough to explain:

1. what's wrong with "Suzy has two mothers and that's OK or Jack has two fathers.." For whatever reason that's the case now, how we as parents are to explain that x has a mom and dad but Suzy/Jack don't? is this propaganda?

Another extremely important point is that we should be very careful and thoughtful when we send completely different message to our kids than what they get from school system. This is by no mean suggesting to be in full agreement with school system and what gets relayed to our kids by teachers. We should be active, communicate, and challenge the teachers and school system if necessary when our preferences are different than theirs and their policies and positions on different issues. (btw, very interesting Suzy the girl gets two moms and Jack the BOY gets two Dad automatically!!) is this propaganda?

2. Smoking example with all it's health related issues and it's relation even on example level! to someone's sexual preferences and different life style which you or I may not approve!, just does not picture the situation.

Smoking case harms ones health and people around him/her, it is economical politics for tobacco companies, I just do not see the relationship and quite frankly, I do not think we can sell this to our kids at the same level.

As for educating our kids against homosexuality, I just do not know where that positions our kids. Imagine that we keep telling them it is not "accepted behavior" and they discover that they have elements of homosexuality (even discovering this will be a tough time due to all pre-judgement we have passed to them), do you think we parents will be the first one to be informed? I doubt it. They most likely will go to feeling shameful, hiding it, low self-esteem developing and .... endless pain, why? because we just didn't want to open our mind and eyes to a different way of living!

3. A simple question, what's wrong with being gay/lesbian? What is the harm?

4. Are we aware of the beaten up-Killed cases involved gay/lesbians? by those who thought this is bad and should be stopped?

5. Although you've mentioned "Please don't misunderstand me, I'm not saying we should be anti-gay/lesbian." but Personally I find your note quite disturbing, as it tries to sell and advocate "spread the word, if you agree with me, and stop the spread of the homosexuality propaganda into..." in a very clear position. There are related groups and forums for this, I just hope madar-pedar does not become one of them.


32 (a madar)

Sounds like the subject is not transsexsuality any longer...

Whether or not homosexuality is a learned or by choice behavior, what you're suggesting is a kind of prejudice! As parents, I think we should teach our children about humanity than teach them to be prejudice against any kind of sexual orientation!

By the way, I'm not sure if I understand the relationship between smoking and homosexuality! My husband smokes (out door). So, for the sack of our children, should I kick my husband out of the house because he smokes just the same way I should kick a homosexual out of my house!??


33 (madar#1)

Just a few words here. Homosexuality is not a life style or preference. A lot of gays have had similar childhood to my childhood playing with girls toys and being around girls, etc.

Who in the right mind CHOOSES to be discriminated against? It's not easy to be singled out and ridiculed and all that nonsense. A good number of youth suicides are contributed to the fact that these kids don't know how to deal with how they are.

We as parents can always choose to ignore,turn a blind eye and think that by not talking about these things our children will not be among sexual or gender minorities. But unfortunately this is not the case.

Regretfully we fought the tendencies of our child but only it worked tormenting her.


34 (madar#12)

Madar#26, What an empowering sharing, THANK YOU. This email reminded me of why this mailing list was formed and why I decided to participate and be a part of it. Thanks again.

LOVE and PEACE,


35 (pedar#13)

I don't think it's very important to agree on some "definition" as to what homosexuality is. After all with whatever terms or definition you come up with, it isn't versus from sky and people could draw or reach their own position on this. I've praised you as a parent who has gone through such a challenging and difficult time and is trying to make her experience beneficial to others and stands tall for this issue. I have a great respect for you for doing that, however, I like to see others who are new to this and other similar issues to have discussion in such a way that is not pre-defined. To promote productivity of our discussion, I suggest that when someone says something, we don't attempt to "correct!" them based on our interpretation and judgement. To me it is not critical how we define or what name we are calling it. What's IMPORTANT to me is how we react and deal with it, how open we are to different WAY of thinking, behaving, like or dislike, and to whatever DIFFERS from our own experiences. How welcoming we are to people with different sets of beliefs and morals values. To me all human experiences, are valuable and scared. Whether we find some medical reason(s) or not, that REMAINS THE SAME for me. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I've this feeling that unless you find some type of medical reason (explanation), all bets even for supporting people who are gay/lesbians, are off!

Let us not to forget the main issue and celebrate our differences regardless of being behavioral, choice, ....


36 (a madar)

I have seen people who are genuinely homosexual. I agree with Madar#1 that there are people who are homosexual and cannot do anything about their sexual orientation. BUT I have seen MORE people who "choose" to experience homosexuality. Isn't "bisexual" an indication of it? people who want to have sex with both sexes? If we had remained at the stage of tolerance and acceptance and did not move to advocacy, we wouldn't have had the many people who are "bisexual" and change their sexual orientation every year. The problem with these type of advocacy is denying some values. The bad thing about it is not that those values go under question and that children learn that any value is questionable but that they get to the point of denying values all together and soon loose their frame of mind about social and ethical values and become a punk in character.

where do we draw the line? what if there is a new group of people who want to have sex with animals? Do we say it is okay? why not? our literature points to homosexuality in old Iran and also points to having sex with animals. It is there, it is a fact of life, and we do not kill people for having sex with animals.but do we advocate it? I have chosen to remain at tolerance and acceptance about homosexuality but as Pedar#30 pointed out advocating I think is not healthy.


37 (madar#1)

Pedar#13 and the Madar#26,

Pedar#13, I guess I know what you're trying to say. You want to celebrate differences no matter what which is admirable.

However, what I have been trying to say is that homosexuality, transsexuality are not a matter of choice and it is like somebody being shorter/taller/fatter than others. In my opinion there is a definitely a difference between a behavior like consuming drugs and sexual orientation. People go to rehab to get rid of such behaviors and I, as a parent, would not support such a behavior in my child and try to justify this.

In answer to Madar#26, I would no go out of my way to advocate this behavior because not only do I know that this is a matter of choice, but I, as a responsible person, would not like to send a wrong message to anyone least of all to our children.

With regard to bisexuality again, we have to keep in mind that sexuality is a continuum and different people are on different points on it. On both ends of this continuum we have super female/ super male. then people in the middle have a mixture of both. Bisexuals must be in those spots.

I am not an authority on the subject of sex and the issues that I have talked about are the result of my probe into the issue after what we came to know about my daughter. And I don't know anything at all about sex with animals and cannot any opinions. In relation to human sexuality I haven't heard anything about such a kind of sex. I know that in our literature there is a mention.

All the best,


38 (a pedar)

Dear Madar#36:

The tone of your message suggests that you may, at best, tolerate homosexuality, but you clearly do not accept it. If the existence of homosexuality undermines the value system you would prescribe for the society, then you have made no room for its acceptance. It is not clear what type of advocacy it is that you condemn. Most gay people understand that you cannot convert a heterosexual into a gay person by advocating to them. It is that simple. The advocacy is mostly around acceptance and the purpose is to educate, as has been the case throughout this thread of emails. It has been my own experience that one cannot begin to accept homosexuality as a phenomenon that is as natural as heterosexuality if one does not come to terms with the underlying fear. And as in my case, for most it requires knowing a gay person who is close and who you care about to start tackling the fear.


39 (pedar # 30)

I thought my note was clear. I sure am glad that I included the explanation from Sexuality and Education Counsel of US. Here it is again for those who skipped over it.

"Sexual preference is a term once used to describe sexual orientation--bisexuality, homosexuality and heterosexuality--which is now outdated because sexual orientation is no longer commonly considered to be one's conscious individual preference or choice, but is instead thought to be formed by a complicated network of social, cultural, biological, economic, and political factors."

(BTW, Transsexuality is excluded from the definition of sexual orientation because it is a medical condition.)

What it says is that NO ONE CONSCIOUSLY CHOOSES a sexual orientation. That is no different from the fact that no one chooses to become a smoker. I use smoking as an example because I know there are families where one person smokes and others don't. So here's my point.

When one person in our family smokes, we don't throw them out, we do not disown them and we do not discriminate against them. We don't do these things to our neighbors or coworkers who smoke either. What we do is we love them. We accept them for who they are and not what they do. Their smoking may bother us and we sometimes may wish it would go away. But we know and accept that it's something that is there and it does not change the way we feel about the person.

Now the important part of all of this is that the thought of promoting smoking to our children never crosses our minds. We do not tell our children that it is OK to smoke, rather we tell them it is wrong to smoke. We don't say may be we should let them decide for themselves and find out on their own. We take a stand. Does that mean we hate smokers or are prejudice against them? No! That's ridiculous!

Why is smoking a good example for a "behavioral" condition? Do you know anyone that decided to become a lifetime smoker? They all started by smoking a cigarette or two because it was "cool" and they liked it. It was advertised in almost every movie and TV show. It was made to be "sheik." People thought it was OK. After all it wasn't hurting anybody. Not anymore. We know better now. Why did showing it on TV and in movies stop? Because by showing smoking on the screen the BEHAVIOR IS AFFECTED. Especially CHILDREN'S.

Or look at violence in movies and TV shows. Until recently, the prevailing thought was that it doesn't harm anyone. We were told not to make a big deal out of it. For god's sake, everyone knows it's fake. And on and on. What was the headline today? Violence in shows DOES affect kids. IT CONDITIONS THEIR BEHAVIOR.

Now look at homosexuality. There is too much of it on TV. The characters are made out to be cute and appealable. Having a homosexual experience for women is being promoted as "cool". Homosexual men are characterized as witty and funny. There is a strong lobby to include the behavior in the children's text books. And yes, it does say "Suzy has two moms". All of this CONDITIONS CHILDREN'S BEHAVIOR.

What are we to do as parents? It is the same thing we do with our faith or culture or customs or anything else that is different from what others subscribe to. For instance, we easily explain to kids that we, assuming we are not Jewish, do not celebrate Hanukkah. It doesn't tell them they should not have Jewish friends. doesn't teach them prejudice. It teaches them to acknowledge and accept differences. We teach them that we celebrate Nowrooz. It doesn't mean that we deny other celebrations and must hate those who don't. We take a stand for our faith and our culture. Our children are much smarter than what we give them credit for. They live in a diverse society and they know it. What they need is a value system that is inclusive yet is very clear as to where they fit in that complex arena. They put a lot more value in what they see and hear at home than at school or any where else. The foundation is set at home. We teach them about our family values, customs, religion or faith and other cultural values. We do not leave these issues open for them to explore and find on their own. We guide them and teach them what is best according to our values. And we teach them to be open minded and respectful of other ways of life. We do it because if we don't, someone else will. The same goes for sexual behavior.


40 (madar # 3)

Thank you all for participating and sharing your views I personnaly am not advocating anything!

I just wanted to learn from a "madar's" experience.

I just wonder What if it happens to my child? What would I do? What should I do?

WHAT wOULD YOU ALL DO?


41 (madar # 1)

basalaam,

I am behind with my email messages,sorry!

Pedar#1, if I come across as someone who's correcting, I am sorry.It's very difficult to convey the intended message when you're writing and the tone of voice and facial expressions, etc are absent.

However,this is not about semantics; rather I am "trying" to say what this is all about. Because I've come to the conclusion that a lot of opposition and fear comes from the unknown.

As I said at the beginning, my intention is to raise awareness and help people like my child live safely and happily.

I thank all who kindly participated in the discussion and gave me my some hope that there are some who are prepared to listen, view their concerns, discuss, and even support.

Thanks gain,


Please send your replies and/or opinions regarding this subject to madar-pedar@surya.eecs.berkeley.edu.

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