Sometimes our friends are kind to us. Sometimes they don’t want to because they think it won’t be nice. I’ll take kind anyday. That included being told by my wife when I was dressed particularly badly, feedback on my hair being too light. It also included lots of things I should have listened to more carefully. Such is life.
Yet recently I’ve had a couple of talks with friends and acquaintances about things and it has been very interesting and eye opening.
In three years I went from dressing awkwardly to nicely, with some sense of style. I can’t tell you what that style is, but there you go. I don’t consciously remember doing anything different at the beginning but several people have told me I look put together, my hair’s always nice, and so on. But recently I’ve seen other changes, like wearing nicer clothing on the weekend instead of automatically wearing jeans. Even sometimes putting on some minor makeup going out on the weekend.
A lovely young woman told me that a year ago there was still a question when she looked at me about whether I was trans. She says now there really isn’t – I was having a bad time the other day and I really wanted to know what she thought. I had been referred to as “him” at a local store, which was kind of astonishing.
I get misgendered perhaps twice a year in person (not counting old friends who are running on inertia), but this was particularly odd as I was standing there with a necklace and earrings, carrying a purse and, um ahem, I’m not at all flat chested. She said that she had made the same mistake earlier in the day to another woman.
Whenever I’ve been misgendered in person it sets my mind racing on the why. I am tall, 5′ 9″ without heels, and my voice is a little low for a woman. On the other hand I use the right words and speak with an appropriate cadence. Sometimes I do have gender problems on the phone because of the pitch (or at least that’s my take).
Then there are the negatives, the realities that have taken some years to really become clear to me. There has been, of course, a loss of friendships. Too many really but nothing I could fix. They just drifted away.
I’m in touch with one cousin on my father’s side out of four (well five, but this one guy I’ve never seen in my entire life). I have to say that was disappointing and hurt. I have a connection at some level to a nephew in my wife’s family. I’m not sure how his brother feels.
I did better in my mom’s family. For one thing I have a lot of cousins there, so that left more people to possibly stay connected to. However, there’s not a great deal of communication – understandable since most of them are close to twenty years older than me and I’m not that young anymore.
I’ve had disappointments with work too. There seem to be a surprising number of people who just look at me and stare when I say hello. But I’m silly enough to say hello to people I don’t know and maybe that offends them. Who knows. Yet it doesn’t feel as friendly as before transition knowing that there are people uncomfortable with me. It isn’t a nice feeling.
I’ll finish by repeating what I’ve said elsewhere. Transitioning was a lifesaver for me. I literally do not know what I would have done had I not transitioned. The costs have been very very high, and I’ve had a better situation than many.
I try my best to count my blessings each day and not my losses. I think that’s pretty important. It isn’t generally good to focus on negatives.
When I started participating on an online forum for transsexuals my initial screen name was Rachel2B, then when I transitioned the 2B came away. Rachel is the same person as D was and she isn’t. She listens more, she helps more, she observes more and she’s more willing to stop and wait for someone’s thought to play out. For all that I have a long way to go as a person, I’m further from perfect than I ever was.
I’ll just shoot for happy! Love to everyone.