Ok, so I have to confess that one of my dirty pleasures is watching Dr. Phil. I mostly like watching his show becasue he generally gets the issue of personal responsitiblity and can be quite hard on men who are abusive to women etc. He seems to demand that people respect one another and their relationships. Well not so today.

Where to start? He was interviewing a family (2 daughters and 2 ex-wives) and Kyla (the children’s father who is in the process of transitioning. In the beginning segment he referred to Kyla as she and her. Once they got on the stage and he brought out her daughters – Kyla became he and their father. This went on an on. Kyla faced a barrage of hurt feelings from her daughters and, in my opinion, remained remarkably calm and in control. Dr. Phil read this as Kyla not caring about her daughter and he even asked her how she could hear the poem that one of her daughter’s wrote and not get emotional!!! I tell you how – she is a strong woman,who has been through adversity in coming to terms with her own gender issues. He then asked her if she did not want to just go over and hug them and she said of course but she was not sure it would be welcomed. Then the question came up about her maintaining a relationship with her daughters. Kyla said her daughters did not want to have a relationship with them so why would she push it? She was giving them time and space to come to it on their own. I thought she was being quite respectful of their feelings.

By way of explanation – Kyla related that she had always felt like a woman trapped in a man’s body and really did not have a choice in transition. As a male, she had engaged in all sorts of macho activities like being in the army and being a police officer. One of her daughters actually said that Kyla had kileed their father. The same daughter also asked if Kyla was happier as a woman than when she was with her family. Kyla responded that she was somewhat happier as a person but wished she could have a relationship with her daughters.

All through the program, Dr. Phil seemed to be attacking Kyla in addition to referring to her with male pronouns. It was insulting and disrespectful. The daughters were also insulting saying that Kyla looked gross etc. Oh, and then they had to get on the topic of child support. Kyla does not have as much income as she once did and is behind in her child support – she freely admits this fact. But they were all very quick to point out that Kyla’s hair and nails were done.

No wonder Kyla was stoic and seemed like this was not fazing her. She had to in order to protect her dignity and sanity. Having Kyla breakdown would not have helped the situation. She was constantly under attack and did little to defend herself as I suspect it would have made her way to vulnerable in that cesspool.

Now, a word about pronouns. I am of the opinion that we must address people by the pronoun with which they primarily identify. It is a matter of respect and dignity.

4 thoughts on “Trans

  1. Wow. Poor Kyla. I would not have wanted to be in such a situation. It’s amazing she bore up under it all.

    If this is still new, then it’s not surprising that the daughters feel things such as that their father is dead. That’s part of the process of grief and loss that many people go through what a person close to them transitions. It sounds very similar to what my spouse went through — and came through — and what my mother is going through right now.

    I have never watched Dr. Phil and know about him only because you’d have to live under a rock not to, but I should have thought he’d have been more on the ball than you describe. Male pronouns? That did nothing to respect Kyla’s family but everything to disrespect Kyla. If I had been in Kyla’s place, I think I would have dealt with that one aspect, if only to say on national TV that a trans woman is a “she” and trans man is a “he.” If he continued to call me “he” and “him,” I think I would have walked off the set.

    I hope Kyla is OK after this. What a terrible situation for all of them, family included. Their lives, but I think they should not have agreed to such a thing. The wounds are obviously too fresh.

  2. One has to wonder why anybody would expect anything more of some one-named yahoo from Texas when it comes to a topic as serious and delicate as transitioning. How has this man earned any more credibility than some side-show fortune teller?

    Shows like “Dr Phil” need ratings in order to sell advertizing to sponsors. The mental health of a woman who is experiencing transition and dealing with all of the issues this raises, are not their greatest concern. Which “sells” more? A woman who is trying hard to get her life together under intensely difficult circumstances or “She used to be my Daddy?”

    I didn’t watch this train wreck. I don’t have the patience or the desire to see people pimped for consumption by voracious hordes of people who live for nothing more than this kind of assault. “Dr. Phil”, Sally Jessy Raphael, Jerry Springer, Montel Williams, Maurie Povitch, even the Queen of the Cult of Personality, Oprah Winfrey herself, all have one real goal, and it’s not to be humanitarians. Kyla was a sacrifice on the alter of celebrity. It appears she paid a huge price….and to what end?

  3. Though my heart goes out to Kyla, I do have to wonder why she even went on the show.

    Her kids are going through the mourning and anger process right now, so their behaviour though harsh is understandable. But I think it would have been better for Kyla and the kids to have gone to a private therapist instead of airing their “laundry” on national television.

    With regards to the outstanding child support, again, that could have been done privately and not on television.

    This makes me wonder as to who was pushing to air this issue on television – Kyla or the kids.

  4. My understanding is that her oldest daughter contacted the show and she did it in order to try and have a relationship with her and the other daughter.

    I agree with you that a private therapist would have been a better idea. What I also found interesting is that Dr. Phil usually offers resources to help families come to terms with issues and he did not do that in this case.

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