Sunday, April 24, 2016

On the Importance of Familial Acceptance

Most trans people by now are aware of the many recent studies that show fairly conclusively that trans children are much more emotionally healthy when their parents are accepting and supportive.

Apparently, that also holds true for middle age trans children.

Today I drove over to my elderly parents house with their new computer, because that's just the kind of good daughter I am. When I was about halfway done getting everything transferred over from their old pc, my younger sister came over with her daughter. Up to that point my dad had sat with me, like he was trying to hang out or something, talking about basketball or whatever game was one. It was less than comfortable for both of us, but it is all he knows. Yeah, I know my dad is clueless, but he tries. He's having a hard time letting go. When my sister arrived though, he took his granddaughter into the back bedroom to watch some animated action series she loves. From that point on my sister, mom and I had a wonderful time chatting about everything from relationships to purses and buying clothes online. My sister has started showing me little tips and hints she had decades to pick up, like where to adjust the straps on a purse so it sits just at your hip - that tiny adjustment makes a huge difference! And my mom needed some comfort about a problem she was having with her brother. It was all just...really nice.

On my way back home it hit me - this is what it feels like to have your family (of origin) accept you.  It may not happen next time, with my family it is probably going to be somewhat random, but it will slowly shift over time until it's consistent. But it's so incredibly important, even to us late transitioners. I started out the weekend not knowing if I could even come out of my work-induced male shell again - it's been getting harder and harder to shift back and forth. But after today with my mom & sister, I just felt so incredibly secure and grounded and happy.  At some level I need people to recognize me as the woman I am, but it means so much more when it is the people who know me best. And I know how very rare this is, but I'm not going to feel guilty about it tonight.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Is it really happening?

So, I picked up my oldest child from school at 2pm today, and following our tradition for such days we swung by their favorite deli/sandwich place. I'd come from work and had just had a short meeting with one of their teachers so I was dressed "IT Guy Casual". Jeans,causal mocks, <chest binder> and a men's cotton sweater. Hair was just pulled back into an appropriate pony tail.

A new person was behind the counter.

He ma'am'd me through the entire transaction.

This was an amazing confidence boost. As in, "noooo, this can't happening to ME. I'm not pretty".

As in, "Gee, maybe this is why when I spend the day out and about as myself, I feel invisible (in a good way) - I'm just another woman".

As in, "I am transitioning, and I'm not failing at it".

It's a good day.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Well, what do you know...

So, I took my oldest child to a doctor's appointment in the city today. Because it was a new doctor, a specialist, and because I didn't want to make them uncomfortable I wore my male office clothes. I figure a year from now that won't be an option and so I might was well do so while I can if it might make a difference in my child's care. And yes, I sometimes lie awake at night thinking of the correlation to that, and my transitioning. Anyway, I thought I was prepared to be away from work and still wearing a binder & collared shirt (I've worn carefully chosen women's jeans & semi-athletic shoes to work for years b/c they fit, keep me this side of sane and no one noticed). I thought I was mentally ready and could compartmentalize it away just like going to work.

We ended up going to the wrong building. Then the wrong building again. Finally, we found the right building, checked in and had the appointment. I dealt with the people who directed us to the 'correct' building, the office staff, the doctor and nurses.

Everyone called me "Mrs. (lastname)" and referred to me to my child as, "your mom". There was no hesitation, no awkwardness. No second or lingering glances. Nothing. It was really...weird, but also really nice. I've still not processed it in my head. These weren't necessarily trans-aware people. They certainly didn't know my preferred pronouns and had not seen my I.D.. And I was wearing 'mens' clothes with no makeup, just my hair in a ponytail. I figured I just looked like a middle aged, not-super-masculine tech geek...

Kinda makes me wonder how my coworkers see me.