I realized even before I started to transition that the minute others learn about my unique "situation" is one of those moments when I become more vulnerable than I had been minutes before. There's no way to gauge the impact, and in fact in my life there's no way to gauge when that moment occurs - when others "find out". As I've said before - it's not a general topic of discussion and in the day-to-day mechanics of life it really doesn't creep in all that often.
But sometimes, you can surmise things that defy explanation. When you make a new friend who suddenly stops contact for no specific good reason life experience has demonstrated that there's a better than even chance that they've Google'd me and what they learned made them uncomfortable. That's a shame but that's reality. All is well one moment - people freaked out the next.
I can point to one other time in my life when my history has significantly impacted my career. I'm absolutely certain that there are more and I suppose I'm glad I don't know more than I do. Regardless, I believe a second of these "events" happened this past week. I really don't want to go into detail but back to my original statement when things happen that are contrary to things that happened recently before and have no discernable reason for changing it becomes a suspect tilt point.
Although I've said this, I've bristled at the notion of being a victim. Do I believe we're treated unfairly as transpeople? Absolutely. But it becomes way too easy to use this as the scapegoat for anything and everything that goes wrong in your life. It's certainly not nothing, but it's not everything either.
This, in fact, is the crux of my activism. I've learned that there are two things I can do about this continuing negative impact on my life and on the lives of other trans-people when they arrive at a similar tipping point with people in their lives. One is to hide and hope others don't notice. To fade into society...to go stealth...to try to become "just a".
The other is to simply live your life and when these moments happen, to bring them to light.
Just this past week, at the Miss USA pageant, there are reports that one of the contestants is giving up her state crown because of a recent decision to allow trans-women to compete (story here). This, following the eventual winner's very well-said, courageous, answer to an on-air question about trans contestants (details here). If Miss PA had been asked that same question, on air, it would have been interesting to see what came out of her mouth.
There's certainly no way for me to become invisible even if I wanted. The fact that I not only renewed my website for another 5 years but have already started updating it make is a statement specifically about that - I refuse to hide. But all it takes is for any employer, internet "pen pal", or other to learn personal stuff about me is to type my name into a Google search.
I work for the military. It's got a unique culture to it....and one that's not necessarily supportive of anything that challenges a certain machismo. One of the guys I work with confided in me a few weeks a go that he'd seen my CNN interview on the Miss Universe controversy and wanted to share his support. I really appreciated that.
Well - after what happened at work this week he texted me:
"After the CNN interview I looked you up because I think you're cool as shit. I saw the pictures of you when you were young and of you wrestling. Whether its people or situations....you're a winner. Don't go away. I have very few people to look up to."
I'm not going to go into more detail than that now. It's a beautiful Saturday morning and I can hear the weekend calling me....
Oh - one more thing. We went to see Prometheus 3D at the IMAX theater yesterday. Special effects were amazing, and the usual IMAX "Experience" was overwhelming as usual. There's a scene where this spacecraft lands and honest to God the sound is so good it makes your chair vibrate just like you were there. But the story itself was "odd" at best, and was full of holes that just didn't make sense. That's not to say we didn't enjoy it because we both did. But after going to see a substantive movie last week this was a sensatory blast without much filling....
Onwards. The day is a-calling. And I'm a-coming...