'Becoming Us:' 'Carly' as 'Dad'

ABC Family's “Becoming Us” backtracked last night to revisit a theme they laid the foundation for weeks ago: Ben and his emotional despair over his man-turned-woman father "Carly" refusing to allow Ben to call him “dad.” You see, "Carly" is so obsessed with becoming female, that he will not permit any mention or reference to him as a man in any capacity. Even by his own son.

This point was driven home over a month ago, during one of those touching father-and-son catch sessions, where a boy and his dad have those traditional heart-to-heart discussions over the topics that dominate the life of every boy and man. Things like, “Why can’t I call you dad? Why do you suddenly want to remove your twig and berries?” And that rite of passage subject that every boy and father have discussed for centuries: “What dress are you going to wear tonight?”

Last night, in the episode "The Letter," Ben reopened the topic by confronting his sister Sutton, telling her that he wants to refer to their dad as…you know…his dad. Sutton then confronted Carly with this massively sensitive topic during a visit to the spa, on the massage table in front of the two masseuses who must have been wondering what I have wondered so many times when watching this show: “What the heck is wrong with these people?”

Here’s Sutton’s highly commendable, yet ultimately doomed attempt to penetrate the double-reinforced “me-first” layer of her dad/mom/Carly:

- There was something I wanted to ask you about, and it has to do with Ben wanting to call you "Dad".

- Did you just feel my shoulders just totally tighten up?

- Oh, yeah. Ha ha, sorry.

- I'm sorry. Just keep going, it's fine.

- I want you to think about maybe allowing him to do that or just, I don't know.

- So let's back up for a minute. It just doesn't fit for me, it doesn't work, so...

- Sure.

- It makes me really pretty horribly uncomfortable and that, maybe that's just my issue.

- Yeah

Yeah, you don’t get to erase your life. There existed this whole thing called the first 40-some-odd years of your life, and it effected real people like your son. Nowhere does Carly’s massive lack of awareness and complete dismissal of the feelings and emotions of other humans come through more than in this scene, specifically, when "Carly" is talking about how Ben calling him dad “just doesn’t fit" for him and makes him feel “horribly uncomfortable.”

Seriously? Did "Carly" ever ask his son whether or not trying to become a woman fit for him before he did it? Or did he just do it? For the answer, look to the latter, not the former. Did he ever ask Ben if he felt horribly uncomfortable by his father’s “self-identification?” Ben has, but like every point during this show when the son tries to voice his concerns, he gets shut down and told by "Carly" that he just needs to deal with it. Which is exactly why, this time around, the kid decided to go to his sister with his concerns instead of going to his dad.

But of course, a show that glorifies the transgendered cannot end with the transgendered made to look like what they are, which is consumed with self, and completely insecure. So, just before the end of the show, Ben, Sutton, and Sutton’s fiancée Kevin go to Carly’s house for a little heart-to-heart:

- So anyway, one of the reasons why I asked you guys to come tonight is, I wrote a letter awhile back for you and Ben and I guess now Kevin, too, that I was gonna mail but I just, I don't know, I wanted to read it to you, so... All right. Dear kids, this letter is long overdue. Since I was a kid, I have spent a life always wanting and trying to fit in, just like so many other kids. It was always difficult for me to do so, because I never felt right but could never put my finger on it. The fact is, I never felt okay in my skin. I always lacked confidence to survive in the world as I was. I tried all kinds of things growing up. Having girlfriends, hanging with the guys, getting married, having kids, coaching sports. You name it, the list goes on. Still, I was never okay with me and it's all I've ever wanted. For myself and many other human beings, gender is not only dictated by the medical standard definition, but more so what one believes in their mind and feels in their heart. I don't ever wanna hurt you kids and this was a life or death decision for me. There were periods of time as early as 10 or 11 when I would sneak fashion magazines upstairs to my bathroom and fantasize about what it would be like if only. I would put on my sister's clothes in the bathroom and makeup and take it all off and put it all away. Or later in life, hide everything in bags or throw it all away, only later to buy more and do it all over again. For me, it's not about dressing as a woman either. It's about my living as and being a woman. I'm a beautiful woman, and my insides are beginning to match my outsides for the first time in my life. I also understand fully that I will never, ever be a biological female. And that knowledge does hurt but I will be allowed to move gracefully through the rest of my life in the way I always dreamed and wanted for myself, and that feels right and good and so it is. I love you guys, Carly. That's it. You okay? I know you've struggled with this.

- It was just so hard.

- What was hard?

- Just like, switching and calling you this and that and this and that. Whenever I would say "Dad" and you ignored me.

- Yeah.

- I just felt abandoned.

- Well you're not, not by any means.

- That just changed my life.

- Oh, Ben.

- Just for that, that makes you the most beautiful human being. I don't even care about calling you "Dad" anymore, like... I will call you whatever the ---- you want me to call you. You got me and I will be here by your side, no matter the circumstance. And I love you.

- I love you.

- I love you, Carly. Thank you for telling me all that.

- You're welcome.

- I love you, Ben.

- I love all of you.

- We love you, Kevin.

- We all love you, Kevin.

- I love you too.

Credit must be given to "Carly" here for admitting publicly the very thing that Zoey Tur threatened to send Ben Shapiro home in an ambulance for saying, which is that it is scientifically impossible for one to biologically change genders. No matter how bad one “feels it” on the inside.

Other than that, this is terrible. Absolutely no mention made of the kid’s feelings in any of this. Just another opportunity for "Carly" to make it all about himself, and to overwhelm the concerns/criticisms of anyone around him by blinding us with the inner-glow of the “peace” he feels inside him. Or something.

I thought parenting - especially of a teenager - was about listening to your kids, and putting yourself aside for the advancement and betterment of your child. Guess, I’ve been doing it wrong.