Several months back, I met a gay couple during the Christmas program at my son’s preschool. Lovely couple. They have a daughter who attends the same class as Bear. I talked to *Anne (names and other personal information changed for privacy) and she was very pleasant. I found out she’s a teacher and her wife works as well.
Fast-forward a few months later, I see Anne as I’m picking Bear up from school. This time, Anne looked different.
Anne had facial hair. She had a full-blown goatee.
I tried not to stare at it while my mind when a mile a minute. In addition to the goatee, Anne also had arm and leg hair.
Was she transitioning?
You see, I grew up tomboyish. I wore baggy pants, combat boots, shopped in the mens’ section for a good two years until I started wearing skirts and dresses. You would not believe the relief on my mother’s face when I told her I wanted to wear a spaghetti strap dress.
Back then, I would just be considered a tomboy. Nowadays, I might be considered non-binary. Funny how time changes a lot of things.
In terms of Anne, I was confused. Not that it’s any of my business, but I wondered how long had she been transitioning? What the process was like?
Most importantly, what pronouns should I use?
I consulted with several friends on Facebook about it and asked them to speak to me privately so I didn’t get arguments from my leftist and rightist friends in the comments. They all agreed I needed to approach her in a friendly manner and ask what pronouns she preferred to use.
The next time I saw Anne, I did just that. I cornered her (not really, but I did pull her to the side) and I asked her what pronouns did she want me to use?
‘Oh no, I’m not transitioning,’ she explained, ‘I just have a lot of hair and I just got tired of shaving it.’
After we had a good laugh, we did have a serious conversation about sexuality, gender identity, and the like. It then occurred me that while I might share a seat with a gay couple or another interracial couple, I never thought about the possibility of being in the same vicinity of a transgendered couple.
I’ve known transgendered people all of my life. One of my hairstylists when I was younger, was a transgendered woman. I knew him as Sean before he transitioned and was still Sean, LOL. But she could do some good hair.
A former classmate of mine, named Willie, was probably the first transgendered person I knew. Back then, we didn’t have a name for what he was because no one really knew other than he liked wearing dresses and makeup. We all knew he was gay, but there was little something extra. He was bullied (though I never did bully him; I just talked to him as a regular person, though I wondered what shade of lipstick he always wore), but most importantly, he stayed true to himself. I don’t know what has come of him these days.
Now, I’m not proud of this but I have to explain this to prove a point – as recently as seven years ago, I was against transgenderism for my child. I vehemently would not have accepted him.
And then Ethan happened. When you lose a child, you tend to change your point of view on a lot of shit.
I’m not an expert on trans issues nor will I pretend to be. I’m still pretty ignorant when it comes to LGBTQ issues, though I am trying to learn and understand, being a supportive ally. I’ve always supported gay marriage, gay adoption, and gay rights. Honestly, I don’t care if anyone’s gay, just don’t be an asshole.
So, when it came to transgenderism and gender identity, I had to take a step back. And I have a ton of questions. When did you know you were born in the wrong body? What’s really the difference between an effeminate gay man and one who believes he’s trans? Are trans men accepted as men? I don’t really care about the sex part but I’m more interested in the emotional and mental aspect.
Coming from a religious background, it forced me to ask a question – if transgenderism is a real thing, does this mean God makes mistakes?
Honestly, it’s a question I’m still struggling with. I was taught, tattooed, had it on my brain, that God doesn’t make mistakes. Everything happens according to God’s will. But transgenderism is telling me, telling the world, no, this was a mistake.
And according to a recent study, there might be some truth to that.
Mental battles aside, I also have to consider the real possibility of what Bear will encounter as he gets older. You see, I may share a bench with a transgendered parent as we’re cheering our kids from the sidelines but Bear will most likely have a transgendered classmate. He’ll probably have a classmate that is non-binary. In fact, it’s almost guaranteed he’ll have one.
Until that day comes, however quickly it might appear, I will continue to have an open mind, be open about LGBTQ rights, and still be an ally for them. I know where my lane is and I’m gladly staying put there. However, it doesn’t hurt to pull over and read the directions on where I’m going in case I get lost.
To learn more about gender identity, please click here.