What We Have in Common

Diana, a male to female transsexual, a fellow Nutmeg State resident and the director of a local support group, maintains an important web site chock full of information about trans issues. I asked her if she would submit a piece for this blog. Please welcome Diana…

Peterson asked me to do a guest column. He told me that many Lesbians and Gays read his site as well as progressive straight folks. I considered it for a while trying to think of a topic. I tried to imagine the things we have in common, and it brought back to mind conversations that I have had with Gays and Lesbians.

In these conversations when the question comes up, “What do we have in common?” I start out by asking, “Have you ever come out to a parent, family member or friend?”

I remember the first time I ever told anyone; it was my brother. I had rehearsed and rehearsed what I was going to tell him, but I couldn’t do it. As he was leaving, he turned to me and asked if there was something on my mind. I quickly blurted out, “I’m a transsexual!” (So much for all the practicing.)

The “coming-outs” haven’t gotten any easier, but I have gotten better at doing it. There always seems to be one more person who needs to know. Another family member, another friend, another doctor and the lists just goes on and on.

What else do we have in common? Well, have you ever walked down a street holding your partner’s hand and gotten stares and comments? How do you feel? Imagine how it is for a person who is Trans. Whenever we go out in public, even without a partner at our side, we get the stares, the comments, the little nods in our direction, the giggles, the whispers, “That’s really a guy!”

We also share the internal shame of being different; we share the stigma of being who we are, of being ourselves. And I am sure we all have heard some comment about our “Lifestyle choice.” Yeah, right some choice.

But we can also have something else in common; we can share education. Peterson performs his plays; I go into high schools and college classes sharing my story on panels with other LGBT people. We can all educate others. I don’t believe my brother would have ever accepted me so quickly if it weren’t for the fact that his minister at the time was a lesbian. She was the first person he ever knew that was homosexual. Because of her, and the good work of educating that she did, my brother was able to put a face on the abstract.

Every time I walk down a street, my life says, “I am here, I am out and I am proud! I will not hide any more.” Neither should you.

This post has 5 Comments

  1. Scott on January 11, 2006 at 11:55 pm Reply

    Thanks so much for the column. It is really important to try to understand eachother.

    I work extremely part time at a local gay watering hole and we got a phone call from a woman who was going through the same changes Diana is.

    She knew it was a gay place but was worried about coming in, if the crowd would be nice to her, etc.

    We told her to come in and have fun and she did. I’d hope she’d have the same experience everywhere she went but apparently a lot of gay places aren’t as tolerant as we’d hope they’d be.

    I really enjoyed her company.

  2. Christine on January 12, 2006 at 3:53 am Reply

    Diana,

    Thanks so much for guest blogging here.

    It’s very good to read your thoughts and I hope you share more of them in the future.

    Powerful stuff….

    Christine

  3. Jennifer on January 12, 2006 at 4:36 am Reply

    I’m actually reading a book right now with book excerpts written by transsexuals, both male-to-female and female-to-male. It’s called “Sexual Metamorphosis” and it is edited by Jonathan Ames. I found it in my college library. It’s quite an interesting read.

  4. Contemplative Activist on January 12, 2006 at 9:37 am Reply

    Thanks for you thoughts Diana.

    I think you are right in what you say, about people needing to put a face on the abstract. My partner’s mum is working on a project relating to hate crimes with the police, including crime against transgendered people. There then ensued over dinner a conversation that went along the lines of, ‘That’s really wierd, that’s really freaky’ while I squirmed in my seat wondering whether I should say anything.

    So I said, ‘How many transgendered people to you know?’ I wasn’t surprised when everyone said none. So I said, ‘We have friends who are transsexuals. I think if you met them, you wouldn’t think it was so wierd or freaky after all.’ Which they did admit, was probably true.

    I think in standing up and being who you are, not hiding away, but in living publically, you show people your humanity and challenge their prejudices. I think you not only liberate yourself by being proud of who you are, you liberate other people and society from their prejudice and discomfort.

    CA

  5. Peterson Toscano on January 12, 2006 at 5:57 pm Reply

    Diana just sent me a link to a super article about the trans community in Hartford. I jappeared in this week’s Hartford Advocate. Check it out here

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