September 16, 2007

Me in a tux with a red cumberbund and bowtie in June 2007
At the National Building Museum, June 2007

Wow. It’s been a while since i’ve written anything on this page. Between being really busy all the time and, until recently, living in Dial-Up Land, updating my website has taken a backseat to a lot of other things. But i’ve now joined the land of DSL and am moving my website again (to a place not connected to my ISP, so i can hopefully leave my site here indefinitely).

In the last, what?, six years, i’ve continued to try to come out about my genderqueerness to people in my everyday life. And i’ve mostly succeeded. All my current and (recent) past coworkers know. All my friends know. Everyone in Bread & Roses for the last six years has known. My brothers may or may not know, depending on whether or not they’ve ever read my website. I really don’t talk about it with my sister. My mom still struggles but works very hard to be supportive of how i express myself — like buying me a red cummerbund and bow-tie for the tux i bought a year and a half ago.

I’m out to all my coworkers at the National AIDS Fund, and they’re all very supportive and interested. We started a brown bag lunch series about a year ago, which i now organize, and i gave the first brown bag on transgender and genderqueer. And i feel an equal amount of affirmation from both people who are on my “level” in the organization and those who are “higher up” (although with an organization of 12-ish employees, talking about hierarchy can become somewhat ridiculous in some ways).

I continue to give my Trans 101 presentations at any opportunity, and people are consistently very interested in hearing more about genderqueer. My supervisor at my long-standing volunteer organization now knows because i gave her a copy of an essay i got published in a book on transgender and feminism since my piece talks about her organization. She hasn’t given me any reaction at all or ever brought it up. But assuming she read it, she knows.

I’m not yet out to my new neighbors, although i mentioned to one person about not being comfortable in either the “man” or the “woman” box. And it’s still really hard for me to come out to a group of strangers — like this baby shower i was at yesterday, where it ended up there was only one man and me. Unfortunately, almost everyone assumed that i was a woman, too, and several made comments about how great it was that everyone there was a woman except one person. It just doesn’t seem appropriate in a situation like that to come out about my gender identity. Maybe i’m rationalizing my fear of rejection, but i don’t want to make someone else’s baby shower all about me and my identity. Staying silent doesn’t seem right, but neither does shifting the focus from the “guest of honor” to me.

Most importantly, my girlfriend of 4-1/2 years has been fantastic. She totally supports me and embraces my identity at every possible turn. She is constantly affirming who i am and how i see myself, and it’s wonderful.

I’ve also recently begun volunteering at a local program for “children with gender-variant behaviors and their families.” I’ve only had one meeting with the kids so far, but i am so excited about this that i can hardly stand it. There were two children at the first meeting i went to, and i really enjoyed getting to meet them. I am so, so eager to get to meet the other kids who come to the group and to find out about them and what they’re like and the issues they face and how they deal with having non-conforming gender presentations. My dream is to eventually be “hooked up” with one of them as a mentor. But that will probably take some time, as i get to know them and their parents better and as they get to know me.

Oh! And i should mention that my chorus went to another Sister Singers Network festival last summer. They are definitely working on becoming trans-inclusive. I proposed two workshops and had both accepted — Trans 101 and a workshop for choruses who have become, are thinking of becoming, or who have decided not to be inclusive of non-women members. There were only a few people at the former, at least half of whom were in my chorus. But the latter had about 15-20 people in it, with only one or two from my own group. There also was one transwoman there (whom i recognized as trans, at least), and as far as i know, she had a good time. I know that i loved having here there.