relationships

Yolanda isssued a new birth announcement because she'd got her baby's sex wrong...

I’m afraid to say the wrong thing. So are you, probably. I don’t want to offend, I don’t want to hurt feelings. I don’t want to slight someone who has already been the brunt of slights from others.

But this kind of hesitance makes a fool of us particularly when we’re dealing with issues around trans people. When we know that the weight of the words we use – those dreaded pronouns – is important, and so we tie ourselves in knots trying to do the right thing, say the right thing. Sometimes, it keeps us silent.

Which is why, when Yolanda Bogert posted this ad about her son Kai back in 2014, the Internet snatched it up and sent it viral in a matter or moments.

It reads: "In 1995 we announced the arrival of our sprogget, Elizabeth Anne, as a daughter. He informs us that we were mistake. Oops! Our bad. We would now like to present, our wonderful son - Kai Bogert. 

Loving you is the easiest thing in the world. Tidy your room."


Hear Yolanda speak to Holly Wainwright and Andrew Daddo on this week's episode of This Glorious Mess. (Post continues after audio.)

That ad just screams of the humour and heart around an issue most of us have no idea how to address.

Now, Yolanda Bogert has written a book about it, How I Met My Son. And still, when Andrew Daddo and I got a chance to talk to her about Kai and about the book, we tied ourselves in knots again.

Andrew ventured, “Did you mourn the loss of your daughter?” and was swiftly told by Yolanda that no, she did not, because she hadn’t lost a thing, her boy is the same kid she’s always had, hasn’t changed at all, only now, “he’s happy”.

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Yolanda with  Kai as a baby. Picture: Supplied. 

And with those words, Andrew and I realised that it was the question that was wrong. The answer was perfect.

For Yolanda and her family, their “issue” is not in having a trans child - Kai is now 21 - but in the way the world insists on making it a big deal. “The important stuff is about your kids' character and their capacity for compassion and kindess," says Yolanda. "These are the things you need to be focusing on,  not what they name themselves or where they wee. These are all benign and petty thing”

The latter point is about the furore - especially in the United States - about public bathrooms, and access for trans people to be able to join the “right” queue.

Yolanda. Sick of talking to fools like us... 

It’s exactly the kind of issue that irritates Yolanda. “Being transgender isn't the problem, it's being transgender in a society that vilifies being transgender.”

Yolanda and Kai are now writing another book - a fictional book about a trans superhero.

They don't have to look far for inspiration.

Listen to the full episode of This Glorious Mess below, where Daddo talks about the time he hosted the Logies, and also about what happened when his teenager said "You'd be disappointed if I was gay...wouldn't you?"

For more episodes of the show, find us on the Mamamia Podcast App, on iTunes, or download it via your favourite podcast app. 

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