(I’m probably going to keep this short because the exhaustion of the funeral and so forth in the last few days has drawn me out. Nonetheless, I intend to keep on track with the challenge as much as possible.)
Some time last week, a friend and his family took me out to go bowling. Naturally, when he put my original name on the electronic scorekeeper readout, I had him change it to Tommy because the discomfort of seeing my old name announced across the entire casino made me want to rip my own guts out. Now, to understand the complexity of the situation, let me explain that my friend is gay, and his parents are very conservative Christians. To say that he’s used to keeping secrets is an understatement- his mom does know but she’s somewhat uncomfortable, and even she had advised him not to let his dad in on it. So when I went to change my name on the readout, my friend almost stopped me. But I told him, “I don’t need a reason not to like my old nickname. Let’s just leave it at that for now.”
Now, I figured the delicacy of the situation would involve him explaining to his mom at a later date when his dad wasn’t around, because even as open as I’ve become about it, his dad does make me a little uncomfortable. But what he told me later bothered me somewhat. He said that his mom had guessed dead on the nose, saying, “Is she becoming a boy?” and he’d “explained” that I just liked the nickname and the barber had screwed up my haircut and made it way shorter and butchier than I wanted. (For some reason, that was a satisfactory answer- I don’t know about you, but I’d still be suspicious.) Maybe a year ago, I would have been grateful for him covering my ass, but now I felt as though he were ashamed of me. I am now at the point where I’m coming out to respected adults and parents of friends in my life and expecting to be taken seriously, and it’s no longer a game to be hidden from the grown-ups.
To be fair, he said that she’d decidedly stated that she didn’t like transsexuals, so I was at the risk of not being welcome in their home if I’d been outed, therefore, he’d taken measures. But damn it, I’ve come to the that place in my transition where, if somebody doesn’t like it, then it’s up to them to decide whether the loss of me as a friend is worth it, because I’m not going to change myself to fill people’s expectations just to keep them around. I spent the first two decades of my life wasting time on that. Frankly, if you don’t know I’m trans by now, then I either don’t respect you or don’t trust you.