We are told that we should always look on the bright side, right? I am a firm believer in reality. I like to live in the real world. I don’t see the point in burying my head in the sand. If there’s something out there that I need to know, then let me know. Until recently, when I made a conscious decision to focus on having a positive attitude, I tended to take my realistic outlook to a more pessimistic extreme. I dwelled on all of the bad things that could happen. I tended to hold on to the negative things that happened. It has been a challenge to change my way of thinking. Especially because I have some folks in my life who are the polar opposite of who I was. They float around on these little clouds in a state of oblivion, really just wearing gigantic blinders to everything- not just the bad stuff but plain old reality. If I can be completely honest, they kinda bug me sometimes. But I’m not going to waste any time on my thoughts about them. That’s not the point of this post.
I was recently contacted by an acquaintance about a PFLAG meeting which will be taking place next month in a nearby town.
From the PFLAG website-
Founded in 1972 with the simple act of a mother publicly supporting her gay son, PFLAG is the nation’s largest family and ally organization. Uniting people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) with families, friends, and allies, PFLAG is committed to advancing equality and full societal affirmation of LGBTQ people through its threefold mission of support, education, and advocacy.
I found myself confronted with a challenge. Let me tell you a little about our experience overall. Kris is the first (and only) transgender person that 99.99999999% of the people in our lives have known. The closest thing to support offered at the high school is an extra-curricular group- called “the Alliance” (formerly the Gay Straight Alliance). If there was a transgender student in the high school in the last 10 years, it’s news to everyone. While many people are supportive, they don’t even know what they are supporting. There are no support groups or medical personnel who are truly knowledgeable in the area of transgender anywhere near us.
We have found our “people” online through websites such as Laura’s Playground or Facebook groups. We share our stories, ask advice, compare experiences and give virtual hugs all around. In these conversations “real” groups have been brought up- PFLAG being the one brought up most often. For the chapters that have members falling into the transgender/family and friends of transgender people category, it is fantastic. For the groups that don’t, that mom of the transgender kid often finds herself as the only one. While everyone is still supportive, if they don’t get it, they don’t get it. Having a gay person in your life and supporting them is quite a bit different than having a transgender person. I’ve heard both sides of the PFLAG experience repeatedly over the past 3 years.
Ya know how you get a feeling because you keep hearing the same thing consistently? Well, that’s how I find myself walking a fine line.
There’s a great chance that a support group is starting in a town near me. That’s exciting and scary but more exciting for me! But, what if I go and I’m the only one with a transgender kid? What if everyone there has a child who is gay or a lesbian and that’s all they talk about? What if there is no place for me and my family even in the place there’s supposed to be?
That’s where my thoughts kept wandering. I could feel the battle within. Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader. But I heard Obi Wan’s voice, “Use the force!” (It wasn’t Alec Guinness but Ewan McGregor and who can resist him?) So, I gathered up all my inner strength and wrestled control of all the fears and uncertainty and chose positive.
Maybe I will walk into that meeting and I won’t be the only one representing the T. And if I am, maybe that’s a sign that I need to get involved. Maybe this is where my voice is needed. Whatever happens, this is a good thing! It’s a sign. Worst case scenario- I will be meeting people from other chapters and maybe they can point me in the direction of others like me and mine.
This entire exercise was a reminder to me that regardless of the outcome, everything boils down to how you choose to look at it and what you do with that. I believe that you reap what you sow. And this PFLAG meeting has the potential to be wonderful!
Fun fact: When we were in Disney World last year, we were at Hollywood Studios on a Star Wars Weekend. Mark Hammill (Luke Skywalker) was there and I suddenly became an overly excited fan (and I’m a lifetime member of Team Han) jumping up and down and waving.