Please consider this excerpt from The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown (pages 289-290):
Sudden revelation paid Bobby Moch a visit as well. His came as he sat, in the shade under a tree in a wide-open field on Travers Island, opening an envelope. The envelope contained a letter from his father, the letter Bobby had requested, listing the addresses of the relatives he hoped to visit in Europe. but the envelope also contained a second, sealed, enveloped labeled, “Read this in a private place.” Now, alarmed, sitting under the tree, Moch opened the second envelope and read its contents. By the time he had finished reading, tears were running down his face.
The news was innocuous enough by twenty-first-century standards, but in the context of social attitudes in America in the 1930s it came as a profound shock. When he met his relatives in Europe, Gaston Moch told his son, he was going to learn for the first time that he and his family were Jewish.
Bobby sat under the tree, brooding for a long while, not because he suddenly found himself a member of what was then still a much discriminated against minority, but because as he absorbed the news he realized for the first time the terrible pain his father must have carried silently within him for so many years. For decades, his father had felt that in order to make it in America it was necessary to conceal an essential element of his identity from his friends, his neighbors, and even his own children. Bobby had been brought up to believe that everyone should be treated according to his actions and his character, not according to stereotypes. It was his father himself who had taught him that. Not it came as a searing revelation that his father had not felt safe enough to live by that same simple proposition, that he had kept his heritage hidden painfully away, a secret to be ashamed of, even in America, even from his own beloved son.
What the Jews have faced over the centuries is hideous and inexcusable. The scale is beyond comprehension, and anti-Semitic sentiments have regrettably lingered. I am not Jewish, and cannot know what that is like.
But this excerpt also describes how it feels to be trans, to realize that I am someone who feels it “necessary to conceal an essential element of his identity from his friends, his neighbors, and even his own children.” I recoil at the certainty that my children will one day be faced with finding out “the terrible pain [their] father must have carried silently within him for so many years.”