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.