You would be surprised at the things people say to parents/loved ones of transgender people. I’m sure trans people also hear their fair share. My most recent head shaking moment occurred at a family member’s funeral.
A cousin put her arm around me and drew me in closer. “I wanted to talk to you. I heard that Kerri is now transgender….”
I should have known that just seconds before sitting down to a funeral service is always the optimal time to have such conversations. “Kerri is now Kris. He identifies as male and has always felt this way.”
She continued with, “It’s a good time to be transgender….with Bruce Jenner. He’s bringing awareness….”
I have to admit that people have said some really odd things to me regarding Kris but this one took the cake. I mean, really. As if Kris had used wise judgment choosing the perfect time to be transgender. And yes, I know there’s so much wrong with that last sentence. (Like it’s not a complete sentence?) It’s a good time….. Okay, in the – it’s a beautiful spring day, it’s 70F degrees out, the sun is shining—it’s a good time to play baseball- way, if it rains, the game can be canceled and rescheduled. It doesn’t matter if it’s 10 years ago and 10 years in the future. Kris doesn’t get to cancel his transgender status and put it on hold until it’s a good time.
I do realize what my cousin was trying to say. Yes, there is a growing awareness outside of the LGBTQ community regarding trans issues. And every little step is one step closer to gaining equality for all transgender people. That’s important and it does make today better than yesterday.
There was so much I wanted to say to my cousin. Like- four years ago, when Kris first came out it wasn’t that good. And from the first time Kris articulated that he was a boy and we spent 16+ years trying to figure out what was going on wasn’t that good. Kris didn’t choose any of this- only to try to live an authentic life.
And that wasn’t even touching on the fact that she used the wrong name and pronouns for Caitlyn Jenner. But I’m pretty sure the next opportunity to have this conversation complete with all the corrections is right around the corner!