Friday, June 13, 2008


I wonder how long it will be- or if it will always be?- until I stop assuming every sensitive or touchy comment and question is about my transness.
Example 1: Yesterday, Rochelle and I were headed out to dinner with a friend of hers from high school and the friend's husband. A double date with someone you haven't seen in 8-10 years is always an adventure, particularly when you're both bringing along your menfolk to introduce as well. Rochelle was talking, and then said "...and of course, I'll have to decide whether or not to out you."

My heart didn't quite stop, but that sentence definitely gave me pause, of the WTF variety. We've talked about this before, both casually and specifically. I don't consider myself stealth, and am perfectly amenable to discussing my trans experience with others when it's a relevant topic, or when a certain level of intimacy has been reached. I have given Ro my blessing to discuss it at her complete discretion with anyone and everyone, particularly if she feels like there's something about my transition that she needs to process with someone who isn't me.

But it's not my preference to disclose to total strangers first thing- I much prefer to be outted as queer first, then trans if/when necessary. And Rochelle knows and supports this.

Rochelle continued, while these thoughts tumbled through my mind "Because I might not be able to help myself."

Where was this coming from? Why on earth would she feel a sudden need to bring up my transness at the dinner table with this couple whom I've never met, and she is no longer close with? Is there some backstory that I'm missing her, something she told me about this woman that I'm forgetting? Maybe this woman has some sort of trans connection (family member?) and so Ro wants to be able to fully discuss our connection to trans issues as well?

At which point Rochelle must've noticed the odd look on my face because she said "And when I say out you, I mean out you as being twenty-two, of course. You know that, right?"

Ha! Of course! The 5+ years between us is a much more relevant and potentially interesting 'secret' to reveal to n old friend from high school. I immediately felt much better, and more than a little foolish for jumping to such unlikely conclusions.
Example 2: My father is visiting, and today, during a lull in the conversation, he looked at me and asked "Now, you're not going to get arrested while using the men's bathroom, are you?"

I paused carefully, not quite sure what to do with such a question. Was this a sudden outburst of concern for my safety and wellbeing? Trans folks do get harassed in bathrooms, all the time. It was a pretty major concern for me when I first transitioned, though fortunately, one that was never realized. But folks have been arrested before, and maybe Dad just wanted to make sure that such indignity was not going to be visited upon me. But why such a question now, when my stubble, etc have kept me safe from the (gender)police for a while?

"Umm, it hasn't happened yet!" I responded cautiously.

"Because that was George Michael's thing, you know," Dad said, waving at my hair.

And it all becomes clear! An hour or so previously, when we'd met up, he'd exclaimed with surprise to find me bleach-bright blonde and clean shaven. I'd said that I was going for the surfer aesthetic with the advent of summer and had decided to shave because a dark beard with my blonde hair would be "too George Michael."

Just your ordinary, run of the mill reference to an earlier conversation about 80s pop icons. Nothing to see here, folks.

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