Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"Waiting" and being transgender

I'm extremely proud of "Waiting," a book of mine that came out a few days ago. One of the characters, Dale, is transgender (female to male) but told only a couple of people. One of the people Dale could NOT tell was his wife. I am not quite sure where the idea for "Waiting" came from. (It's about a lot more than transgender stuff, by the way.) I do know that I was shocked when one of my exes told me that she (he) had had hormones and surgery and was a guy now. And that he'd known he was a guy while he was with me. Before, actually. We were together for three years in college. Did I feel betrayed, even though by the time he told me, we had been off for about ten years and I had been in several other relationships?

Yes, oddly (or perhaps not oddly) I did feel betrayed. I wish he'd told me. I could have used these three years for something else. But, what is done is done. This person was able to admit to others who he really was in his mid-twenties. Dale, my character, is fifty-six when the book opens.

I recently read an article about a child, SEVEN YEARS OLD, who knows he is transgender. SEVEN! Wow. I was shocked, but then I imagine if you know something's off, you're going to know it from a very early age. I am glad that society is opening up more and becoming more accepting of transgenders and of queers.

A couple of weeks ago, my sixteen-year-old child told my wife that he was transgender, that he felt like a woman (a straight woman) in a man's body. I'll call my child Celeste (don't want to use real names, because we are adopting her and DSS doesn't allow real names/pictures to be used in such a public place as this). This blog post is for my child, who asked me to do this. I think more than anything, she wants me to do this to make public my approval for her and that my feelings for her have not changed.

I am extremely proud of my child and glad I am able to provide a safe place for her to be herself. She used to live at a group home (all boys). She was afraid to come out then, to wear makeup and nail polish and such. Now she wears makeup and nail polish. She has a YouTube video blog documenting her self-discoveries and her transition process. She is very open about all this, and I can't help but think of all the people like Dale in my story who, unfortunately, were not able to be true to themselves, for whatever reason. Dale grew up in a different time, but I know that many transgenders today still hide.

And sometimes I wonder why MORE don't hide when stuff like what has happened to my child happens. For example, one of the counselors at her school told her a few days ago: "You won't make a pretty girl." And this is a COUNSELOR! At a school that is supposed to provide a therapeutic environment. Come on folks. Get over yourselves and get a life. It's because of people like the counselor that many people are scared to be true  to themselves.

What was my child's response? An assertive: "It's a good thing I don't need your approval" or something like: "You would know about ugly, because you're so ugly yourself?" I'm not sure what she said actually (I need to nail that down later today), but I think her response was the same as what she told me after school that day.

My child agreed. She said: "You're right. I won't make a pretty girl."

The road is long. Very long.

No comments: