Saturday, March 6, 2021

Thanks Tonya

 Perhaps you recall the Cyrsti's Condo post I wrote not long ago about the former server/acquaintance I employed years ago before I transitioned.

When I responded to her Facebook friend request, I was almost certain from there she would try to get ahold of me. Early last night, she did. 

Very early in the Facebook Messenger conversation, she was very complimentary as far as my appearance is concerned.  For whatever reason of course, any compliment I receive does wonders for my gender dysphoria. 

Not long into the conversation I asked her if the tavern we used to go to in our hometown was still open. She said she was going to ask me the same question. It turns out she moved from our medium sized city at approximately the same time which was seven years for her and close to that for me. She said the town had become toxic to her.

Even though I had not thought about it, the amount of toxic feedback I received (real or imagined) made it easier for me to move too. Along the way, due to me finally giving up the ruse of leaving my house as my true self , the word finally escaped of my desire to transition to a woman. I faced passive and forced aggression from people I knew. An example was the 4th of July party I went to with my deceased wife when the DJ who used to work for me just "happened" to play "Dude looks Like a Lady" when we arrived. Worse yet was when a long time acquaintance told me my reputation would ruin my business. 

So, Tonya was right, the toxicity got to me too.

My partner Liz even noticed it from our earliest days together when she said I had "sad eyes".

Hell, my very own brother wouldn't even back me up. I was fortunate though when my daughter,  her in-laws, and of course Liz and her family accepted me as a transgender woman. 

In conclusion, here is a picture of me you probably have seen from the toxic days.  Circa 2014.

1 comment:

  1. Even in this very left-leaning city of Seattle, there are pockets of toxicity. One needs only to drive a few miles out of town to find it, as well. I've had my share of "Dude Looks Like a Lady" and "Lola" experiences, myself. Nobody needed to tell me that my business would have suffered, had I come out, as I depended on the patronage of building contractors (not always the most liberal-thinking people). My own dysphoria ended up sabotaging my business, so that (I thought) I could move forward with my transition. Ironically, this caused a great hindrance for me to have the finances with which to do so. Securing any kind of employment as a woman became more difficult, not only because I was trans, but I couldn't even provide references without outing myself to past, present and future business associates in the process. There exists a passive toxicity, in that most employers will consider the possibility of drama that could accompany the hiring of a trans woman - especially for a management position. Basically, I've only been able to find low-paying jobs with no opportunity for advancement. In fact, the only thing advanced about me is my age, and that just makes the whole thing worse.

    I changed my name and gender, legally, in 2015, when I was 63-years-old. I had thought about delaying the changes in order to secure employment, as my male self, with a company that I knew would have accommodated my transition later. I know people who have done this successfully, yet I just felt it to be wrong for me. It felt, to me, like going through the back door, rather than being the honest and straightforward person (woman) I wanted to be. After all, I had been living a lie for so many years, and I was just plain tired playing that game of deception. The game itself is toxic - and of my own creation. Just as transphobia can be internalized, so can the toxicity.

    Sometimes, I think, moving away from toxicity involves more than finding a new location. It can also mean that we have to let go of those internal demons that keep us from moving forward - not only with transitioning, but with life.