Before I delve farther into what I mean by the title. let me say Happy Easter to all of you who may celebrate it in their own personal way.
|Photo Courtesy Alex Shute |
Yesterday, my partner Liz and I journeyed slightly North to the metro Dayton area to my daughter's mother in laws to take part in a Jewish Passover Seder. It was mostly all new to me as we prayed, feasted and remembered the exceedingly tragic history of the Jewish people. It was mostly all new to me because I am not Jewish and my daughter converted following her marriage.
This was far from my first visit to her house and usually along the way somewhere I always get mis-gendered or worse yet get called by my dead name. Regardless, I value the time I spend with the only people who knew the old me. It's always a challenge to re-imprint them to my new life as a transgender woman. This time, I was not mis-gendered at all and only called my dead name once and it was only by my first wife's husband who suffered a stroke. So forgiveness was in order.
Yesterday it didn't matter because diversity ended up ruling the dinner. I have a granddaughter who years ago (when she was arguing with my daughter) told her what if she ended up loving another woman. Of course my daughter defused the entire situation by pointing out my status as a transgender woman and she didn't care who she loved as long as she was happy. In addition, my oldest grandson's fourth grade teachers was an out/ gay cis man who also was well known in the community as one of the top drag queens in the city. To make a long story short, the family was immersed in diversity. Even to the point of my first wife, who was also there at the Passover Seder. It turns out her second husband's brother has a transgender man in the family.
For a change I wasn't the only diverse LGBTQ person in the room. My highly androgynous granddaughter brought an equally androgynous friend with her. In addition, my granddaughter carried out a majority of the service by herself. I was so proud! Finally someone else to carry on the LGBT banner in the extended family.
Being in a safe space and being able to celebrate one's diversity can never be taken for granted and never unstated. My extended family's acceptance more than makes up for the lack of acceptance in my own family. I often have written about the reluctance to support my transition by my only remaining brother. Essentially he chose to not support me because of a potential rebuff by his Southern Baptist redneck in laws. All of this occurred way before the rebirth of hate the transgender community is experiencing now, so I am positive my reception would be even worse. It doesn't matter, I don't need them anyhow
The best part is the knowledge of what I have gained versus what I have lost. It all contributes to one of the main reasons I cherish my transgender and/or any LGBT safe spaces I find. With my daughter's in laws I have even been invited to speak a couple times at their temple during my grandkids "Bar Mitzvah" The ultimate in acceptance.
I only wish more transgender or LGBT woman and men could experience a similar feeling.