Trystan Reese and his husband Biff Chaplow recently returned from Paris where they were interviewed for a TV show called "Les Terriens du Dimanche" ("Sunday Earthlings") They were on the show because Trystan is a trans dad and he carried his own child, Leo, who was born mid 2017. This wasn't Trystan and Biff's first television show, it probably won't be their last.
In an open and candid post, Trystan shared his feelings via Instagram as he reflected on the recent interview, and what it means to him and his family every time they share their lives with the media. The backlash, the questions, the prying in his and his husband's personal life... It takes an enormous toll.
Thank you, Trystan for your bravery. We love watching your family grow, and the fantastic dads that you and Biff are to your kids. Thanks for being part of our community, and thank you for your ongoing work to educate people. We know that it's necessary, but some day we hope it won't be.
"You've got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down." - Ray Bradbury
I'm feeling the familiar sting and stress that comes with a new media interview. More opportunities for the public to weigh in on me and my family, which never ends well. More opportunities for people to pick on everything the outlet said about me, even though of course I have little control over how they pitch us in promos. (Of course I'm not the first pregnant man and never said I was. No need to come at me for that, people.)
More opportunities for people to speculate about my genitalia and my sex life. More opportunities for me to practice my avoidance of comments sections, though every part of me wants to weigh in and defend myself. And more opportunities to be used as click-bait when the show wants to call me a "mother" even though I'm a man (I guess it's funnier that way).
Sure it's fun to go to Paris. And I hope all of this is somehow helpful in the bigger picture. But the toll it takes on me is enormous. To put myself out there time and time again, for the education and amusement of straight people, is hard. At times I feel like a sell-out, compromising critical parts of myself for the palatability of the mainstream. I can't ever be angry or frustrated, can't critique the very premise of their questions because then people will get offended and I'll miss out on the chance to do some good.
I'm just tired, I guess. I know I signed up for this so there's not much I can do about it now, but the constant performance is a bit like a death by a thousand cuts. Every time I'm asked how Leo was conceived, why I didn't ever get bottom surgery, how Biff and I have sex, what my birth name was, if I'll share photos of me pre-transition... every question makes it a little harder to bounce back and answer with a smile and a laugh and a gentle redirection.
I do feel everything, and sometimes... that's not a good thing.