Dark Clouds

After a nice stretch of sunny hot weather, Vancouver, true to form, is back to cloudy and cool with an ever present chance for rain. For anyone who is not familiar with this city, it is never as gloomy as it sounds.  It is a vibrant city that is as alive as any city I have lived in.  Despite the almost prohibitive cost of living, the city still draws people to it.  That says a lot for it.

In one day, my journey has gone from bright and sunny to a bit overcast, as well.  Funding for a major undertaking at work was cut by two thirds yesterday.  Now it is going to be a scramble to see how the company can make it.  Closing the doors is a very real possibility right now.  That has me worried about what i will do.  

Vancouver is a very open minded city, but looking for work as a trans person is still a daunting task.  I am weeks away from going full time, but still have considerable expenses to get there.  I can still pass as a cis male, for sure, but do I want to?  Will i be able to find a job that will pay enough for me to remain in this expensive city?

I am really quite worried, but nothing I can really do at the moment except go into work and see if this job can be salvaged.  Fingers crossed.

Are You Laughing at Me?

Today was the first time I experienced hearing for myself someone laughing at me for my gender.  Later, I realized that the reason for the laughter was probably not at all what I had thought.  How I experienced it in the moment was very real though, and it was the first chance I have had to see my reaction.

My initial reaction was anger and if truth be told, some of that old shame creeping back in.  I considered both, and neither felt right to me.  Just having the presence to recognize and test my reactions is pretty new and really cool for me.

I thought about the reaction I would want to have.  I am normally a nice person and people react well to that, for the most part, so I thought, just be myself and they will probably react well. Maybe they will see that being trans changes nothing and maybe their opinion of trans people could change because of their interactions with me.  

I am quite proud of this reasoning and very proud that I stuck to it the rest of the day.  I will probably never know for sure if the laughter was because of my transition, and I may never know if being myself changed any opinions, but I am happy I didn’t react with anger or hide with shame.  I am becoming happier and happier to just be me.

Hate the Sin, Not the Sinner

This is a phrase I have often heard as a stance of the Christian Church.  I don’t think this phrase is actually in the Bible, in which case it is something people have added to a faith that is supposed to listen to God’s word and not add anything to the Bible.  While this phrase looks virtuous at first glance, is it really?

With all of the violence around the world, I personally think hate is too strong a word to throw around lightly. Isn’t the word sin just another label to put in people you don’t agree with?  When you hear about the latest violence in the world, and you will anytime you access a news source, listen closely to see if that violence was directed at a person or a label.  How many of the violent acts are directed at policeman, insurgents, rebels, extremists, women, homosexuals and the list of labels goes on and on. We don’t hear of nearly as much violence directed at an individual.

If the Orlando shooter had personally known the individuals, would he have killed 49 of them? We will never know of course, but what we do know is that he hated a label, or sin, and expressed that hate by hurting individuals.

There is an amazing mother of a very young transgender child that I recently connected with online.  It is very heartwarming for me to have that opportunity in this ever shrinking world, but the same tools that make that possible isolates us also.  A majority of days I do not communicate at all with the people on tranait with me.  People I see everyday are so engrossed in their online world, that we do not even share a good morning, and yet we can have social supports on another continent.  There must be a happy medium here.  Would the world be such an angry place if we took the time to know individuals?

How many times did Jesus show compassion to individuals who did things he did not agree with?  Instead of condemning them as a label, he met the individual.  I don’t think hating the labels we put on people is a healthy attitude.  Growing up in a Christian Church makes it easier for me to use that perspective, but this is certainly not limited to them.  It is an epidemic that affects nearly everyone. Maybe it’s time we took a break from hatred.  Next time you are tempted to hate a certain sin or label, get to know an individual within that label before condemning a whole group of people.  You might be surprised how much we all have in common and how hard it is to truly hate when you see past the label.

Good Times

I haven’t been writing much lately because not much has been happening to write about.  This past week was pretty exciting for me, though.

The biggest thing was a trip to the doctor.  I have to say again how kind and understanding all the health care professionals I have come in contact with have been.  I am fortunate enough to have a family doctor now that is not only kind and very talented in explaining everything to me, but also experienced in providing trans care.  I have to include the entire clinic staff with all the other professionals, also.  The staff is welcoming, helpful, and always careful with names and pronouns even though they are extremely busy.

My doctor visit this week resulted in me walking out with my prescription for hormones.  It feels so great to know the wait is over.  Even after a few days, I am still so excited I don’t have many words for it, just a huge smile!

The other thing going on this weekend is a volunteer job.  This is my second year volunteering at the Vancouver Queer Film Festival.  It is such an amazing time.  The people who come to this festival are so friendly and so fun.  The organizers seem to go out of their way to accommodate the entire community and present an incredible selection of films.  Anyone who is unsure about the LGBTQ community needs to come to this festival.  They will see that we are just people,too and they will have a great time as well.  While I am there, I feel so relaxed, I can be myself and have a great time.  I always leave so happy! Thanks to the organizers for putting on the festival and giving me the opportunity to volunteer.  Oh yeah, one more huge bonus, I get free tickets for some of the films, too.

So all in all, this has been a banner week.  I am looking forward to the changes that are on their way and I have one more shift at the festival tonight.  Hopefully you are all having a great time, too.  Talk to you again soon.

Transitions

No, it’s not a typo, I have realized that my transition is plural.  I think bra shopping helped me realize this.

Last weekend I went to a lingerie store and bought a bra that actually fits well.  The big thing about that was just going into the store and explaining what I needed.  At the time, it really wasn’t a big deal, but that is what makes it such a big deal.  Four or five months ago, I wouldn’t have gone into the store, and if I had, there is no way I could have asked for what I needed.

When I realized that, I thought about why.  The store staff is probably no different, I wouldn’t know but I can assume I would have had the same service.  It is entirely me that has changed.  In the last several months I have gone through a very important transition.  This one wasn’t physical, but the transition I have been focused on couldn’t happen without this one.

Months ago, I was ashamed of who I am.  That had been the case for years.  I wouldn’t have gone into the lingerie store because I would think the staff and other patrons would be just as ashamed of me as I was of myself.  

With a lot of help, some pretty scary moments, and paying attention to myself, I see that my shame was not earned or warranted.  I spent years not doing things I wanted to do or being who I am because I felt I was wrong somehow.  I really did build a prison for myself and made sure I stayed locked in it. Transitioning from that to where I am today has been freeing. No wonder I feel lighter now.  I figured everyone would feel the same about me as I felt about myself if they knew.  I never gave them or myself a chance. 

I am so happy I took the leap and made that transition.  In a way, that was a bigger change than the physical will be.  It was definitely more personal, it is not something anyone else can really see.  Maybe they can see some indications, but not really the magnitude of this change.  

One transition down (even though there is probably still to do), I wonder how many I have left to go through?