Showing posts with label family dynamics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label family dynamics. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Would Have, Could Have, Should Have

Photo Courtesy Jessie Hart

The longer we live, I am increasingly convinced we encounter many phases of our life which we can separate down into certain categories. For transgender women and trans men those categories maybe more intense than the normal human being. I have several examples in this post. 

The first I place in the "would have "category. What if I defied all odds and proclaimed to my parents at any early age I wanted to be a girl instead of a boy. I didn't want the boy toys I received for Christmas, I wanted the girl dolls instead and why did I have to wear a hated tie to visit relatives. I so wanted to wear the pretty dresses, tights and shoes my girl cousins were wearing. Of course I couldn't do anything about my situation back in the dark days of the 1950's when a boy wanting to be a girl was considered to be mentally ill. Even though I didn't begin to know anything about my gender questions, I knew I wasn't mentally ill for wondering.  

Perhaps the largest question in the "would have" category is, what if I had the courage and or knowledge to had come out of my gender closet earlier. Looking back now, I see the time after I had completed my military service and my daughter was conceived would have been an extreme possibility of coming out to the world as my feminine self. I had completed my patriotic duty and was indirectly rewarded with the gift of a beloved and highly supportive daughter. It was around this time when I was rapidly beginning to come to grips to who I was and was learning to dress the part. 

The next category is "could have". It was during this period of great gender discovery when of course I had to make a living. I didn't have a potential pension to worry about such as a transsexual friend of mine, nor was I a very educated professional person. Similar to another trans person who was going through genital realignment surgery and moving away to a city where she knew no one. I didn't have the finances or the willpower to under go such a major step so I began to try to outrun my gender dysphoria by moving around and switching jobs.  Most certainly I "could have" cut nearly all the ties of the life I was used to and moved on but I didn't.

This brings me to my last category "should have." Should have I have the courage to live my gender dreams earlier? Most certainly but as is said, it is too late now to cry over spilled milk. Even though I didn't cut ties with my old male self when I should have, I was fortunate to have landed on my feet, I turned "should have" into I did it. But before I try to put myself up on some sort of pedestal, again and again I have to give credit to all the people who accepted me as my true self and allowed me to grow as a fulltime transgender woman.

Maybe I can add another category "did have" because I did have enough help to keep moving until I reached my final goal of leaving my male self behind.


Thursday, January 12, 2023

The First to Know

Do you remember the first person you told you were transgender? Chances are you do because it was such a traumatic experience. I had some sort of experience in the process because back in the day I came out to a group of close friends as a transvestite. The difference being was I was coming out to them as a relatively harmless desire to dress in women's clothes versus the more permanent drive to actually becoming a full fledged transgender woman. The whole process brings to mind the old joke "What's the difference between a cross dresser and a trans woman...approximately three years." Of course you can change the years to fit your own situation. 

Image from Sai de Silva on

The first person I actually came out to as a transgender woman was my daughter. Needless to say I was very nervous. I called her up and scheduled a breakfast with her. After exchanging pleasantries I finally gathered enough courage to blurt out I was transgender. To my amazement, she paused a second and said why was she the last to know. When actually she was the first to know. Of course she mentioned her Mom and I told her Mom knew of my crossdressing desires but never knew I was trans. In all fairness to her Mother, I didn't really know of the depth of my gender dysphoria until later in my life. Also, for some reason, I don't remember any questions concerning my second wife or my daughter's step mom. 

It didn't take long to find out her response was a positive one. In fact, over the years, she has turned out to be a staunch LGBTQ ally and is now dealing with one of her three children coming out as transgender. I guess in many ways I was just a ground breaker in providing her with new gender information. She even went further by offering to take me shopping for women's clothes which I politely turned down because I was doing quite well on my own and was beginning to feel secure in my fashion choices, finally. On the other hand, what I did take her up on was an invitation to have my hair done at her hair salon. The first time I went I was positively scared to death but came out of it knowing I had just gone through one of the most amazing experiences of my life. The estrogen in the room was so thick you could cut it with a knife. 

Sadly the experience of coming out to my daughter was not going to be the norm. In reality because I had waited so long to come out of my gender closet, most of the people close to me (including family) had passed on. Out of the very few remaining was my only slightly younger brother. Deep down I knew coming out to him would not be easy because of his redneck right wing in laws. Would he chose the easy way out and terminate our relationship. The answer was predicable and swift and came around the Thanksgiving holiday. 

When I came out to him, I told him I would respect his wishes if he didn't want me to come to the family holiday dinner as my authentic feminine self. In no time at all, he said no I would not be welcomed. It happened over a decade now ago and we have not spoken sense. If he couldn't look past his in laws and accept me for what I am, I had other options to fall back on. I know as the transgender community as a whole goes, I was very fortunate to have those options and moved on. 

I am sure all of you have your own often dramatic coming out stories. I hope your experiences tend to go towards my daughters acceptance and not my brothers rejection. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Home to see The Parents

From the Jessie Hart

Way back when I was seriously considering dating men as I gender transitioned into a transgender woman, I was stood up (or gaslighted) by approximately half of the men who told me they were going to meet me. One of my requirements was we meet in a public setting of my choosing, which could have been pat of the problem. Who knows, maybe they really did come and secretly took a look at me and were scared off. I always thought the least they could have done was tell me. 

All of this time of being disappointed led me to wonder if the men in question were too afraid to be seen with me in public, what would happen if the relationship became serious enough that I was invited home with them to meet their family or even parents. It turned out I never had to face that terrifying  possibility because I never met and became that serious with a man at all. However, I did meet several women who embraced me for what I was and invited me to family functions. It turned out the transgender attracted men I met were just interested in me as some sort of a fetish object. They probably found out I could not compare to the transgender porn models they were watching who were impossibly beautiful. Before you think I am stereotyping all trans attracted men with a broad stroke, I did meet a couple of men I enjoyed my time with who weren't afraid to meet me in a public place and treat me as a woman. Plus there were a couple men I became friends with and often wondered what would have happened if they had not moved out of town.

Regardless, it was always my cis women friends who took me in and treated me as my authentic self. Often I was terrified and excited when women like Kim insisted I join her and her immediate family for a Monday Night NFL football game. I was so nervous I was sure every camera in the stadium was looking at me. It was one terrific learning experience. Then there was my wife Liz. 

It was not too long after we started seeing each other seriously she invited me on a family birthday party at a local steak house. It was her very conservative elderly fathers birthday and it was the first time I had ever really met him. Plus her brother was there who was not far removed from serving his third term in the Army in the Middle East. I felt I was surrounded and was very ill at ease. Somehow I made it though and even managed to enjoy part of the meal. For the rest of his life, I don't think Liz's Dad ever knew how to take me but at the least he wasn't mean to me. As far as the brother went, I barely see him and he barely talks when I do, so he is very much out of my life. 

I don't have any words of wisdom when it comes to going home with a friend to meet their family. For me. as I said, it was a terrifying experience but one I felt I had to live through to be accepted fully into the world. All part of my learning experience of what being a woman was really all about. I really appreciate those who weren't afraid to include me in their families.  Thanks all for the learning experience. I really needed someone to lean on.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Happy Holidays

 As I sit here warm and safe in what is left of our Artic climate watching "A Christmas Story" my favorite

Happy Holidays from Liz and I

holiday movie, I need to pause a moment and wish all of you a Merry Christmas. Or whatever holiday you celebrate this time of year.

"A Christmas Story" always resonated with me because of several reasons. I suppose the next to biggest one is the fact the movie took place in about the same period of time which I went through growing up. Complete with the festive downtown department store Christmas windows with electric trains and other kids gifts such as dolls and BB Guns. The biggest draw from the movie was even in the earliest days of my existence, something deep down inside told me I would rather have the doll rather than the BB Gun. Ralphie, the young star of the movie was just the opposite and wanted the air gun badly. Unlike Ralphie I was disappointed when I was gifted with the gun. On the other hand I couldn't imagine ever admitting to my parents I wanted anything such as a doll for Christmas. 

The only thing I remember happening with the BB Gun was a couple of sparrows were terrorized and my brother shot me in the arm once. Who knows what would have become of a doll since the only siblings in the family were my brother and I.

I would be remiss if I wrote a Christmas post without mentioning all of you transgender or LGBTQ individuals who may have lost your families for any number of reasons. I have my own point of reference since my brother and his side of the family refused to accept my new feminine authentic self. I quickly moved on and it was their loss. Blood family or not, I hope you have someone to spend the holidays with, or at the least think about you.

Another Holiday photo I would like to share here on the blog is from long time reader and fellow blogger Paula Godwin from the UK. She writes the transgender "Paula's Place" blog.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, April 21, 2022

The Younger Generation

 Connie responded to the "Better Late than Never" post. Here is her well thought out comment:

"The younger generation invalidating their predecessors is as old as humanity, itself. One of the joys of my parenthood has been hearing my grown children spout out with words of wisdom that I had said to them when they were younger (which, of course, they had pooh-poohed at the time). I don't expect it to be any different, as it pertains to gender identity.

Photo Courtesy Connie Malone

As difficult as it was for those of us trans people growing up over 50 years ago, I have mixed emotions when I (not often) consider the "what ifs" of myself growing up now. As wonderful as it would seem to have been to have access to puberty blockers and other hormone therapy at a young age, those things come with a whole different set of problems for a growing (emotionally, even more than physically) child. The social and political climate today must make it so much harder for trans kids, especially those kids who had started a transition, only to have resources taken away - even the threat of it.

Although I came to realize that I could have come out much earlier than I did, I can't allow myself to waste the time I have left by dwelling on that. In fact, I have precious little time left, considering the control I would have to give up, should being confined to a care facility become a reality.

If I had to miss out on the puberty blockers, maybe someone will come up with a geriatric blocker soon - but I don't have time to dwell on that possibility, either. Call me an old lady, just so you call me a lady! :-)"

Thank you for the comment. I also cannot help but wonder how life would have been like if I would have been afforded the luxury of being myself.  I am nearly certain nothing comes without it's consequences, good or bad. 

Recently I had the opportunity to meet a pre teen transgender girl during the Transgender Day of Visibility get together. She was obviously pleased. Here she was with the opportunity to be with an incredible group of accepting people. I felt so good for her. On the other hand though, how intimidating would it be to be looking ahead at a gender journey most certainly to be full of unexpected challenges. Plus, how would I feel if my child faced the same path. I am certainly biased but I would try every thing I knew how to help and protect my child. 

As far as the younger generation goes, I agree all we can do is try to plant a seed and hope it grows. I am a believer too that when you try to brainwash a child into believing only certain ideas, once they are free from your bonds, they will go an opposite  way anyhow. Hopefully all these kids you see with anti LGBTQ signs in far right rallies will follow their own heart  and know it is wrong. 

After all, the future belongs to them.

Friday, October 1, 2021

No Plain Jane

 Amazon Prime Video has announced the new coming-of-age docuseries Always Jane, following transgender teen Jane Noury and her journey to live her most authentic life. Premiering on Friday, November 12, the four-part series will take an intimate look at the Noury family’s lives as they tackle obstacles with unconditional love and support.

The show focuses on Jane Noury who lives with her family in rural New Jersey. Like any teenager, she must balance friends, family, and school. It's not the easiest time to grow up but Jane is able to set her sights on life beyond her family.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Shock and Awe?

 Naturally enough, there are many ways to "come out" to family and friends. I have known many transgender women who have decided to come out gradually. In other words, they decide to tell a few people at a time before they decide to tell more. 

Others rely on the "shock and awe" method which means just showing up as your authentic self  and let the fall out happen. I am far from an expert because I just waited for most of all the people around me to die, so I didn't have many people to tell. For obvious reasons, I don't recommend that method. 

Others (such as Connie) were fortunate to have another person to pave the way for them:

"I have to say that I don't know that I could have made my Thanksgiving "debut" had it not been for my wife's help. She paved the way for me by talking to my daughters well ahead of time, giving them the opportunity to prepare their kids and husbands. I never would have just shown up with a big surprise for everyone, and I would caution anyone who might consider coming out in that way, as well.

There's not a good way to come out - to family, or any other group of people. I would say, though, that there is one bad way to come out. Doing so with the attitude that it's "all about me" is bound to lead to disappointment. From the beginning, I have approached my transition as a responsibility. Every individual relationship from the past is going to change, and it is up to me to do my best to recognize and accept the feelings of each person. How I react to them is what will determine our "new" relationship. Above all, one needs to keep in mind that what has taken maybe years - even decades - for self-acceptance cannot possibly be absorbed instantaneously by another. Even if I've decided that "what you see is what you get," what I get back will always depend on the work I put into each relationship.

The way I've gone about things would probably not make for a great Hallmark production. Nothing can be tightly wrapped up in a two-hour episode; more like The Never Ending Story. "

A reminder, I tried a process similar to Connie's when it came to coming out to him and his extended family and he turned me down. We haven't spoken since. The whole process was and is nothing I am proud of. 

It turns out, the coming out process is as complex as being transgender itself.