When my wife first came out to me as transgender I had many questions. Most people would; it is human nature. First, because I knew nothing about the transgender community and second I had no idea what transition for her and our family would entail. As a rule, asking questions when learning something new is imperative. It deepens our understanding of the subject matter and helps us to relate. So, what are you supposed to do with a family member who refuses to talk to you about your spouse and their transition but who wants to talk to other family members about it? This is a question that I have been trying to answer for a few years now.
"LET US FOR ONE MINUTE GO BACK TO THE DAY THAT I TOLD MY PARENTS THAT MY WIFE OF ALMOST TEN YEARS AT THE TIME, WAS TRANSGENDER."
Let us for one minute go back to the day that I told my parents that my wife of almost ten years at the time, was transgender. My parents live in a different state, so this conversation had to happen over the phone. Not the way that I wanted to do it, but the distance between us, and the infrequency that we saw them, I no longer wanted to wait. Unbeknownst to me, my younger sister had already shared my life changing news with them, so I was walking into a lion’s den. I didn’t prepare a speech or write down any talking points; I simply spoke from the heart. Well I can’t even tell you what exactly my mother said because she was screaming at decibels that were inaudible.
Now let’s fast forward three plus years since I told my parents about my wife. I have seen them a total of three times and spoke with them on the phone maybe twice. Our relationship over the last few years is nonexistent. Just recently my sister tells me about this new show on TLC called “Lost in Transition” that my mother is currently watching and told her that she should watch it too. I can’t even put into words the strange way I felt hearing that. The last thing that my mother said to me on the phone, after hanging up on me then calling me back was, “I don’t ever want to talk about this again.”
"THIS IS A WOMAN WHO SHUT HERSELF OFF FROM LEARNING ABOUT TRANSGENDER FOLKS FROM A FAMILY MEMBER WHO IS TRANSGENDER."
To say that I am slightly confused about this development is an understatement. This is a woman who shut herself off from learning about transgender folks from a family member who is transgender. Who is now watching this horrible TV show representation of what couples go through after one of them comes out as transgender. Are you as confused as I am? Full disclosure, I have been watching this show since it started. It’s like a car accident that I can’t turn away from. Every week I sit there and yell at the TV like a football fan whose favorite team keeps losing. So is my mother comparing me to these women? Does she think that our journey is similar to theirs? Well I certainly hope not. We are all unique individuals walking on our own path.
I was under the impression that I was an approachable person. I told just about everyone I knew that they could ask me anything about transition. So I must be defective. For some reason, my mother is more comfortable learning about the transgender community from a television show that does nothing to correct the language of the characters that float on and off the screen. That must be better than asking her own daughter.