Saturday, November 30, 2019
I am going to try this post and see how it goes. My mission is to try and retell the events, without making too much of a judgement. That is going to be hard, as I am clearly judging this person, and what happened, however I'd really prefer for it to be a learning experience instead of a ripping experience. I honestly don't know if that is going to be possible. So then why try? Well, I am an educator and this is an opportunity to try and educate. I am wishing myself luck.
Recently I have connected with someone on Facebook that lived in the same town I grew up in, and he went to my wife's high school, and happened to be in her same graduating class. So, if you, that person, happen to ever actually read my blog posts, then you are now probably aware that this post is going to be about you. Yup, this is happening.
I was happy enough to send out a friend request to this person, even though I had never met them. Which is something I generally rarely if ever do. I tend to be very picky about who I am FB friends with. Sorry if you have sent me a request and I have deleted it. I don't accept all requests and frequently find myself un-friending people often. As I said, I'm picky about FB. However, I am not picky about you choosing to follow my on Instagram. That feed is fully public and anyone can follow me if they chose.
Okay, so I sent a friend request, they accepted, and we exchanged a few DMs. We discovered how we had the collection of mutual friends that we had. It was actually very unexciting truth be told. Super boring, and I didn't think much of it. I did see them in person actually a little bit after that. One of those times is what prompted this post.
We had an event for our local LGBT+ center. Both this guy and I happened to go. It was a fairly small event. An activity was occurring and there were some vendor booths around. I began to peruse the booths when this gentleman approached me and started up a conversation. I found the conversation interesting for a bit. We chatted about our lives growing up in Danville. We chatted about a bit of bullshit as well and things turned boring for me.
This is around the time that this guy turned to me and said something along these lines:
"I finally realized who you were while growing up, before your transition, and I must say that truly, I am shocked and amazed, at how absolutely wonderful your wife is."
How does that sound to you? Innocuous? Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.
And that is what I have been debating ever since. I totally understand where he was coming from. I think I understand the intent, however, it is a nagging feeling and one that I am not clear about in the least. As well..... how often, as a trans person, do I make people aware of how they have made me feel when they have hurt me? Generally never. Wanna know why? The few times I have told people how their statements have made me feel, caused those people to respond by showing me that I am too much trouble for them to figure out. They have stopped talking to me. I basically lost friends by telling them how they have made me feel. Which has been bothersome, but also, not. If it is too troublesome for some to care about how I feel, how much of a friend were they to begin with? Not much of one actually.
So..... how did that statement make me feel in that moment? As though I was a super freak.
First off, who I was before my transition is irrelevant to who I am now. To think that somehow who I was pretending to be in the past could somehow help one to understand who I am now is absurd. It is called a dead name for a reason, that person is irrelevant and I am not interested in the least about being connected with them.
Secondly, and more importantly, I do indeed understand just how wonderful my wife is. However, when you are expressing that to me, you need to be aware of the corollary statement you are making. When you tell me just how wonderful you think my wife is, you are also saying how freakish you think I am. Why? Because often in expressing how great my wife is, your example is that she has stayed with me. Not because she is a fabulous teacher who can interest any human in her subject matter. Not because she is a talented artist who paints from her heart. Not because she is an amazing animal lover who rescues animals all of the time. Nope, none of those things are why you are saying that my wife is amazing. You are saying she is amazing in relation to staying with me.
My friend talks often about normalizing the trans experience. Hearing people go on and on about how amazing my wife is for staying with me through my transition certainly does not make me feel normal. In fact it makes me think that you feel I am totally abnormal.
Trust me, I get it, my wife is great. She is a super amazing person. She impresses me every single day. But she is a great person all on her own, not because she has chosen to stay with me. Imagine going up to any married couple you know and saying to one of them how amazing you think they are for staying with the other one. That is pretty darn clear how you view the situation. So..... please be careful when you express just how amazing you think it is for someone to stay married to a trans person. On occasion we trans people also actually offer up some things to our relationships. We are not just massive burdens and drains upon our partners.
Really what most are missing is how amazing my wife is for staying with me prior to my transition. That was truly the crazy part of my life. Now it's actually fun and enjoyable.
I know the person who said that statement had no ill intent. And I know they are an ally to the community. I do appreciate the support this guy gives to our local LGBT+ community, even though they are a cis-het human. We within the community would not have anything if it was not for straight ally support. So, I do appreciate the support. I hope that you can appreciate a trans perspective and I truly hope that I have been able to be educational and not confrontational.
Appreciate what you have!