Last evening I had the very good fortune of being with my sister, her husband and my brother, his wife, and two of their children, one of whom had his new wife with him. So essentially, my closest family members. Anywho, to say it was a lovely time does them a great disservice. We had a great meal and really good conversation. This was the first time I have had the opportunity to meet my nephew’s wife. And I must say she is adorable ! Not unexpectedly, the conversation turned to questions as to how I am doing. And I am always touched and appreciative that they care enough to ask. I could see that my nephews wife had lots of questions, mostly because she is not from our culture and most likely has never even thought about what being transgendered means, let alone actually meet someone who is trans. But full credit to her, she did listen, and absorb, and asked a few questions as she tried to wrap her head around the entire concept. I think it will be a bit of a journey for her, but at least she is willing to go along for the ride?
I’m sure she felt like she was drinking from a fire hose! I tried my best to reduce the stream of information to a digestible stream, but it’s too early to tell. It will take time. But I must admit, I do get the sense she is trying and that is all I can ask/hope for. But I don’t know how helpful I was. I wasn’t the most articulate of individuals, that’s for sure. Sometimes I find it hard to organize my thoughts to be able to communicate clearly, as my brain tends to get side tracked and do the “squirrel!” thing (reference to the movie “UP”) every now and again.
I realize that I have to take more time to better describe many aspects of transitioning and being transgendered. As an example, we were discussing why there is (but shouldn’t be) a need for many forms and surveys to ask our “gender”, when it really doesn’t provide any benefit to the application in question. For many of us, and by that I mean trans people, that very simply question on a form can be a trigger for gender dysphoria. Many are still trying to figure that out. Many in fact do know, but are not in a position to publicly state it, at least not yet. So they lie. They put down the gender that corresponds to their physical sex assigned at birth then have to stare at the wrong gender beside there name. See? Confusing isn’t it? That’s why conversations are so important. It is a much better way to provide the information and answer all questions to hopefully provide the best possible environment for a meaningful exchange of information and to educate.
I sometimes struggle to find the right words. As example, I personally have no issues when I see the gender question on a form now. That’s because I am a woman, so I simply check that box and move on. However, prior to “coming out” I would have wanted to indicate “woman/female”, but wasn’t ready/able to so and it would have killed me to put “man/male”. There are also those that are very early in their journey, and may not even have had a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria, etc. and still trying to figure it all out. So there it is, thrown in their face again. More pain.
So I need to work on this. I need to find my words and discover a way to better articulate both my thoughts and medical theories etc. That is my task, which I willing accept. I only hope that I have more opportunities to continue our discussion, to have everyone feel confortable with asking me questions and simply enjoy each other’s company.
Use your words, my new mantra…