Back at last. Not hiding. But definitely tired – which may have been connected ever so slightly to the media froth of the last week or so. 🙂
But not directly, for those who see karma as infusing most everyday activity.
No. A lot of work in the run-up to doing interviews last week, which meant cramming everything into the wee small hours before heading off for a full day elsewhere. Fun but exhausting.
And contemplating how relationships change on the back of such events. With friends. With family. With communities.
More of that later. In the meantime,a mix of emotions on my part.
First, genuinely pleased at the various who have come back to me over the last few days to say our TV stuff has helped. The trans woman who used it as a means to open some dialogue with her wife. The trans teenager who felt it gave them enough courage to speak to their GP for the first time. And a few more besides.
That is all gain.
Its also opened up a slightly less happy dialogue, about the nature of support on offer. I was going to insert “partner” there – in the sense of “support for partner” – but I’d say it goes a lot wider. Out to family and friends too, in some instances. And workplace.
What’s to be done? In one sense, my immediate response is “so what?” and “get over it”. There are a fair few folk around who treat someone close to them transitioning as the end of the world, near as. Bu-ut…why? Once upon a time…no: still…some folk took that approach to others coming out as gay.
Do we still sympathise with that – or do we mostly go: its their sexuality. Get over it. And if you think that the “shame” such a fact brings on the family is sufficient to merit support, maybe you need to re-calibrate your values.
Still, I think there is a need for some family members: partners especially. Andrea talks of my transition as being “bereavement” – and she has a point. Her blog (in case you hadn’t noticed) is called “Challenging Changeling”. I have wondered how deliberate that was: whether she just went for the “Change” word, or whether she had folk tales in mind when she wrote it.
Because, of course, a changeling is a child left late at night by the fairies. He or she looks just like your own, but isn’t. Whether intended or not, it’s a very neat metaphor. Doubly so, in my case, because I opted, very deliberately, to become a “Fae” which yes, was linked to my love of all things faerie.
One thing we said at the outset is that transition didn’t change the fundamental basis for relationship. Actually, it does.
And while change doesn’t automatically, inevitably mean end, it does mean change. And therefore renegotiation and re-establishing of boundaries and all that goes with it. So there definitely needs to be partner support.
Where is the support?
Which feels, at present, to be very lacking. One individual wrote to me suggesting that Women of the Beaumont Soc might do it. I have to say, that’s been the sole e-mail putting that view, with very many – plus our own experience – suggesting the diametric opposite.
So I am curious. Maybe the answer is to sub-contract the whole thing outside of the trans community: to get Relate to do it. Because in loads of ways, this is not about the trans thing: its about the relationship thing.
As for other family, its been a mixed bag. I will be eternally jealous of Michelle, with whom we shared the documentary. She came out while her mum and dad are still alive and is now recognised as a beautiful woman by her mum. That’s something I can never have. Both parents are gone ..and even if they weren’t, I remain unsure what the reaction would have been. Could I have transitioned while my mum was alive?
I hope I could. I don’t know.
The boy…is mostly cool. For daughter it has been gain and loss: gaining someone happier, more open with whom I think she has the chance of a real relationship; but still losing the certainties of a paternal figure, no matter how boring.
So it goes. The fall out continues.