Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Why Be Out?

A Neighbor's Son
We grew up together in Virginia
I attend several social events a few weeks back in my childhood hometown.  I wrote about my high school reunion and how positive the response, but this time back in Virginia I extended my outing. I presented to “growing up” neighbors, childhood playmates, and former workmates. This particular area of Virginia, is conservative, Trump red, and rural. Why would I put myself into this situation?
My reasoning was simple. There was nothing to lose and much to gain.  Take a look at a point made in the article” Why Do So Many Folks Hate Transgender People?”.

Most studies say that only 8-11% of people personally know someone who is transgender, yet approximately 75% know someone who is lesbian or gay. Studies also show very strong correlations between knowing an LGBT person, and being supportive of LGBT issues. The transgender community lacks that vital component of acceptance.Transgender people need to be more out. The more people know us, the better it makes it for the rest of the community....

To hate a concept is easy. You just go along with everyone else, and make assumptions that feel safe and intuitive. However hating a person require a conscious choice that involves disrespect and prejudice. 

By definition prejudice is the preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience. Based on the questions I received and answered to the best of my ability, many there have a better or different understanding than before. For many that evening, being transgender is no longer an abstract concept - Being transgender has a face, is a person and is someone they know.

Dinner Out After my Museum Opening  



1 comment:

  1. My 50th HS reunion is another two years away, and I doubt that I will change my mind about not attending. I was not unpopular in high school, but I purposely presented myself as enigmatic, at best. I was a good athlete, but I chose to play a position on the interior line on the football team, where I just did my job (well), but was not in the spotlight. Many times, after fighting off opposing lineman who usually outweighed me by 50 pounds, I would go home and get dressed up to be the woman I really felt I was.

    I played drums in a band - not the more popular band that got most of the gigs at school, but the grittier band made up of misfits. On a high school scale, we were the Rolling Stones to the pretty-boy Beatles. I could have been a pretty-boy, but I was overcompensating, sweating away behind the drums. I could have taken my talents to the drama club, but that would not have, I reasoned, been such a good cover. *Just a few years ago, I finally decided to audition for a community theater musical production, for which I landed a female role! I only perform as myself now, and I enjoy being in the spotlight because I have nothing to hide anymore.

    The most disturbing thing for me in coming out has been that I had worked so hard to deceive people in the past. Aside from my family, though, I don't have the energy to ask for forgiveness for my lie. What purpose would showing up as I am today at a reunion serve? Oh, yes, it would put me in the spotlight - but not for the reason I would want. For people to see that the enigmatic and slightly weird boy from the past is now a confident woman does not seem as much a possibility as them seeing me as still weird and more of a novelty. Reminiscence would be replaced with explanation, neither of which I'm interested in pursuing.

    In my everyday life, now, I do project a face for all to see. More importantly, I can be as honest with others now as I have become with myself. I rarely get questions about being trans anymore; just being myself answers most all of them, and most questions are no more their business than mine would be if I asked them similar ones. The best ambassador I can be for the trans community, I feel, is to be myself - not my trans self. I have no delusions of passing as a woman on the outside, but I can change hearts and minds just by embracing my own heart and mind. I don't need the dichotomy to accomplish that.

    I have no problem with others reconnecting with past relations, unless it is just an attempt at getting the attention. Even then, though, it's really none of my business, so I would never advise anyone against doing so. As far as I've gone is to register on a class reunion site with my current name (last name still the same) and brief profile. There is a messaging app on the site, but I've yet to hear from anyone. Either people don't remember me at all, or they think I had a sister who was even more invisible than I was :-)