It’s difficult to keep up with all the questions being generated by so many people. I have created this note as a way of: a) disseminating information faster and 2) freeing up some of my question answering time to pursue my interests and hobbies. If I refereed you to this note in an email, please don’t take it personally. It just gets repetitive typing the same thing over and over.
1. Is this a joke?
No, it’s not a joke nor is it a phase. I have always known I was female, but was too afraid to share that with anyone. This is me finally being me.
2. How did your family react?
Immediate family? Amazingly well. They don’t really understand the condition but they accept me for who I am and that means accepting me as a daughter/sister. The family member who has been the most supportive is my brother, Luke. He is brilliant!
Extended family? The relatives on my Mom’s side have also been wonderful. They have offered their support and compassion. Both of which are deeply appreciated. Grandma had the coolest reaction. We don’t think of ninety-two year old women as progressive but she’s that and so much more. She knew what I was going to say before I could finish and her reaction was, “Now we have one of everything in the family and the love for you won’t change.” As for my Dad’s side of the family, my Grandparents are accepting and say they don’t love me any less as a granddaughter. (Grandpa was very accepting before he passed and I am thankful he saw me as me before passing. Grandma was also accepting but her ability to remember depends on how good the day is for her.) With the rest of the family, a couple of cousins are accepting but most of the family has either cut ties or been religiously superior.
3. Have your friends been supportive?
Yes and no. It depends on the friend and their particular point of view. The best and closest of friends have taken it all in stride. They see this as an extension of who I always was (me becoming me) and they are happy for me and supportive even if they don’t really understand it.
There have been other reactions, also. Some have been disgusted and outright shunned me. Others have been a bit overly enthusiastic. One female friend began to treat me like her personal Barbie doll. When I made it clear I didn’t appreciate being treated like a living doll she stopped associating with me; apparently she saw the whole thing as a chance to revert to her childhood and to bring her favorite toy to life. There have been others who have seen this as a chance to reclaim something of their childhood also. Those relationships always take a strange twist and either come to maturity or gradually fade away.
I have far more female friends than male friends, now. I think this is harder for men to come to terms with. There is the issue of my “betraying” my birth gender, mixed with worry about how being my friend will reflect on their masculinity, and concern (and this is the amazing male ego coming through) that I will spontaneously develop the hots for them. Sorry guys, not happening. Oddly, however, the reverse occurred. One male friend wrote me with this nugget: “So does that mean you’re available? It doesn’t bother me that you used to be a guy.” Umm . . . thank you?
The most varied reactions have come from Christian friends. They fall on one end or another of a distinctive dichotomy. Either they truly embody Christ-like love and compassion or they bring out the Hell fire and damnation lectures. Despite the disparity in these reactions both seem to come from genuine concern. The latter I have had to excise from my life. Though I appreciate their concern, I cannot have people set on working against me close to me.
The worst experience has been the two-faced friends; the ones who act supportive to me then discuss how “crazy” and “certifiable” I am with each other and anyone who will listen. Those folks are gone permanently. Thankfully, they are far out numbered by the forth right and honest friends who are either supportive or not.
One thing I wish to remind everyone of: I do not expect you all to understand this. In fact, I’ve given up on the idea that I can convince people or clarify this for them. I’m not here to try to sway your thinking; I’m just trying to be me the best I know how. If we continue our friendship or develop a deeper one then that’s fantastic.
4. Do you always present as a woman?
Yes, because I am a woman. I present publicly as who I am. I have legally changed my name and gender marker.
5. Which bathroom do you use?
The women’s room.
6. Have you had or do you plan on having “The Surgery”?
I don’t answer that question because it is no one’s business but my own. The only person I would reveal this to would be a lover, when/if I choose to take one.
7. Are you dating men or women?
I am panromantic, so I don’t see gender identity as a criteria for dating. I am also on the asexual spectrum.
8. Are you the same person?
Again, yes and no. The core fundamental me is the same. My essential values, morals, and personality have not changed. If anything those qualities are enhanced because I can now be them to the fullest range possible.
That being said, I have to acknowledge I am different also. Certain tastes and preferences have changed, some radically so. Also, new interests, hobbies, likes, and dislikes have cropped up. A person can’t flood their body with hormones and not expect the mental landscape to alter as the physical does. In some ways I am a different person. New hormones, new rules. I think of this as similar to how regeneration is pictured in Doctor Who. The next incarnation looks, sounds, and acts different but the core truth of the character doesn’t change. Same here. The presentation changes but my true character remains the same.
Ultimately, I was always me and the me-ness will always be inherent no matter what period in my life is being examined.