This last weekend marked a year since I came out publicly on this blog. I’d intended to do a lot more writing, but it seems life got in the way a bit; in a mostly good way. Still, I wanted to take a few minutes this weekend and put together a video as I reflected on the last year.
This fall has given me the chance to do a little travel. With the exception of spending the weekend with my family in Oregon this last May, I haven’t really traveled much since going full time in April, and certainly not since I came out publicly in July. In October that changed as Samantha and I took a road trip together to visit my family in Northern California, and then later in the month when I went to New York City to speak to two small groups there and see friends.
We had been planning our road trip to California for months. Samantha and I both really like taking road trips, so we had put a lot of positive energy into this one. Although there were unexpected obstacles to us getting started on time, we finally hit the road and before we knew it were hanging out with family.
Transition has brought with it a lot of new experiences; or perhaps more accurately a new way of experiencing familiar things. For the last six months since going full time I’ve experienced a lot of those familiar firsts: going clothes shopping, or to the symphony, or even to the restroom.
When it comes to familiar firsts though, the thing that always makes me the most nervous, and excited, and hopeful all at the same time is when I see a friend for the “first time” again.
It’s really interesting for me the different reactions people have when we get together and we are experiencing each other for the first time with me being female. There’s a variety of responses from laughter and hugs, or a minute or two of awkward conversation that quickly dissipates, or exclamations of happy disbelief and compliments about what I’m wearing. I never know what to expect, but every single episode no matter how it starts quickly feels “normal” within a few minutes of conversation and people see it’s still me. A couple times people even said they felt more comfortable with me as a woman.
I know weddings are supposed to be joyous occasions, but the truth is I’ve got mixed feelings about them. On one hand I do share in the joy of the beginning of a new chapter in life for all involved, but I also know that in weddings there is loss. No more midnight runs to taco bell, or staying up until two in the morning and sleeping over on the couch just for fun. There’s a reason for bachelor and bachelorette parties – these are the last “hurrahs” as one transitions, quite significantly I might add, from single life to marriage.
Note: This post is in response to all the comments and well wishes I received after publishing “The Open Letter” yesterday.
Yesterday I woke up early. I had slept fine the night before (surprisingly), but once 5:45AM rolled around I just couldn’t see myself dozing back off.
I was feeling pretty anxious; well a mix of emotions really. On one hand I was sort of glad that “the day” was finally here, but on the other I was definitely worried about what could be coming.
The moment came, I paused for a minute, and hit the button. I could not have imagined the magnitude of what would transpire over the next few hours.
An open letter to my extended family, colleagues, and friends.
I’m not even really sure how one goes about writing something like this. Even after a lifetime of living with this, and several years of being out to a handful of the closest in my life, I’m still learning how to say what needs to be said. Nonetheless, I will do my best to be both as succinct as possible, and provide enough foundation to hopefully help you understand. I sincerely wish there was a way I could have told you this face to face, and can only hope that my sincerity comes through in what’s written below.
A form sits on my desk. It is titled, “Petition for Adult Change of Name.” I’ve filled it out, and plan to file it sometime in the next couple weeks. Line 5 asks, “This application is made for the following reasons:” I thought of a few lighthearted responses I could put in the box, but opted with a simple “gender change.” Sometime after filing this form I’m told I’ll be called in before a judge to testify that I am not changing my name for purposes of fraud. An ironic question given how it has felt living as a boy my whole life. Nevertheless, it’s all but guaranteed my petition will be granted and my name will be changed without objection.
For me, coming out has been a long process, really starting with coming out to myself some years ago (self-acceptance), then coming out to a therapist when I felt near a mental breakdown, then to my girlfriend, and finally a few years later to my parents, brother and sister, and one family friend. Recently I came out three others; a friend who has only known me for a few months, and to two other friends who have known me for nearly two decades.
I’ve been fortunate in that all the individuals I’ve come out to so far have been supportive, compassionate, and understanding (as much as is possible). This has deeply moved and inspired me.
Tonight I was given the opportunity to be in public in “girl mode”. And like the first time I went out, it was a really nice experience, but I didn’t expect what would happen when I got home. First, some details.
Last week I attended a meeting of the Washington Gender Alliance for the first time. As I wrote previously, that first meeting gave me a lot of courage to go out of my home for the first time this last weekend in “girl mode.” That first experience was so natural, and felt so good to me, that I decided I would attend this week’s WGA meeting also in girl mode.
Yesterday I finally did what I both have had an intense fear of, and a lifelong desire to do. I finally got the courage to go out to dinner and a move in “girl” mode (okay, not really a movie. More on that later.)
I have to say I was surprised.
I’ve spent much of my entire life with deep fears about what might happen if I were to show “the world” the real me, deep fears about my ability to “pass”, and fears of the unknown. I say I was surprised because what I found out was that the world just doesn’t care that much (in a good way).