I am always looking for new article ideas. This past weekend I was talking to a friend of mine, who happens to be transgender, and I mentioned needing an idea for this upcoming week. She suggested interviewing myself of 20 years ago. It kind of made my brain flip over in curiosity, and I started thinking back to that time in my life. What was I doing with my life? Where was I living (since I have moved about a dozen times)? What did I know about transgender folks or the community I have found myself immersed in? I was intrigued to hear the answers and go on a new journey. So I would like to give a shout out to “J” for the idea! Thank you and I love you.
Q- Tell us a little bit about yourself first.
A- I have been married for 6 years. I am a stay at home mother of two beautiful little girls, a 17-month-old and a 5-year-old. I am a former ballet dancer, teacher, and choreographer. I come from a big, mostly crazy, Italian family in New York, who I miss like crazy. We currently live in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania and are homeowners.
Q- Do you have any friends that identify with the LGBTQ+ community?
A- I had a friend growing up in my neighborhood who was a lesbian. I haven’t seen her in years.
Q- What do you know about LGBTQ+ folks?
A- I know that these are people who are attracted to the same sex and bisexual people are attracted to both, but I have no idea what the T and the Q are.
Q- Do you know what it means to be transgender?
Q- Have you ever heard of a person who was assigned one gender at birth but didn’t identify with that gender, so they transitioned.
A- Yes, but I had no idea what it was called.
Q- What do you know about it?
A- Just that there are people in the world born to one gender but that they don’t identify with that gender in their head, so they decided to live and dress the way they feel comfortable.
Q- Did you know that the LGBTQ+ community does not have the same basic rights that you have as a cisgender woman?
I am in awe that I knew so little about this community 20 years ago, but thankful that I have evolved as a human being. I was living a self-absorbed life just like my parents taught me. “Worry about your family and other people worry about theirs.” How on earth did I ever become such an empathetic caregiver? I have no real answer for that, but I am glad that I am who I am. This is just another reason I have to be grateful to my wife for being so brave and coming out to me as transgender. Her need to live life as her authentic self has opened my world up to all these amazing things, experiences, and wonderful people. It has given me the opportunity for self-discovery and the courage to be who I was always meant to be.
This silly little exercise has also reminded me why it is so important for the LGBTQ+ community to be visible. Living stealth and hiding out among the “normal” cisgender folks will not further our cause or gain us civil rights. We are your neighbors, your banker, your teachers, and store greeter. They need to know that we exist, we are just like them, and that we aren’t going anywhere. We need to continue to fight for the rights of the community so that the younger generation has what we do not. We need to be visible in magazines, on TV, and down runways, so that the 8-year-old assigned female who knows in their heart or hearts that he is a boy can find his voice. We need to talk to one another so that we can educate each other. We need to listen with an open heart, and most of all we need to love our fellow humans.