Save the Date!

July 21, 2011

WHOA, WOW, I do apologize for my nasty tone yesterday.  Allow me to make up for it:

I have an appointment/consultation scheduled with an endocrinologist in the area…ON AUGUST 15TH! As in 3.5 weeks away, 26 days, as in the most perfect timing ever, as in I must have some seriously great karma (or more likely I was just looking in the very wrong place for doctors yesterday).  I am beyond excited!  When I got off the phone with the scheduling person, I realized I wasn’t breathing, I mean, this is the beginning of a new life.  I’m not sure if I will actually start testosterone on the 15th (it might just be an initial consultation visit), but August 15th could potentially be my new birthday (of course, I will still celebrate the actual day of my birth, but now I’ll have two birthdays to celebrate!).  This timing couldn’t be more perfect.  I was worried before because I am most likely moving locations in the Spring and I wanted to be on testosterone long enough that when I got to my new location I would be passing (passing: in my case, this means being socially seen as a man), you know, with a low voice and everything.  A lot of changes happen within the first 3-6 months, so it would be ideal to transition for those months here, in Chapel Hill, where I have friends and a supportive community.  I just didn’t want to move somewhere new and have my voice cracking as a 21-year-old adult.  Also-this is perfect because I teach marching band at a local high school and I was initially worried that if I started transitioning too soon then I would have to explain to the teachers, to all of my students, AND all of their parents, that I was trans.  I have yet to lose a job because of my gender identity, but I feel like if there is one job that is super strict on things like that it would be grade school education.  Which, of course, is completely fucked up.  I WISH I had a trans teacher in high school, it would have saved me a lot of confusion, but unfortunately not all parents share my same views.  And since I am moving away and this will be my last season working with this specific school then I’ve decided that I would like to avoid any potential bullshit, start testosterone during the season, but time it so that I am just beginning to see major changes a the very end of the season, then move away and get another teaching job as male-identified (because I started this job three years ago, when I was female-identified, this is a sticky situation).  Of course, I realize that this may seem like a cop-out, and in some ways I suppose it is, BUT I feel okay about it because I have never been a secret keeper about my identity.  My students know I go by Peter (although most of them still call me by my birth name, which is how they met me when I started the job), they know I date women, they know I don’t shave my legs or my armpits, and they know that I’m really fucking cool (I’ve never had a problem with any of my students disagreeing with my identity).  It is not my place to educate them on gender identities, that is not my job, but if I am approached by a student of mine (and I have been several times) and they are seeking support then I would absolutely be there to help in any way that I can.

Basically, today was a complete turn-around from yesterday’s lull in excitement!

Another great GREAT GREAT thing happened today:  My mom called me, we talked about some trans stuff, and it went fantastically!  I haven’t really said much about my relationship with my parents mostly because I’ve spent a lot of time recounting my history and during that time I was very distant from them.  I’ve actually been distant from them for years (I used the term distant loosely, they always helped me when I needed it, I always came home for vacations, holidays, birthdays, and what not, but we were distant in the fact that I never talked to them about personal details of my life.  I am willing to take the blame for half of that.  I didn’t talk about my life because I knew they didn’t approve, so why would I start a conversation that I knew would end in argument?  I think they are also a little to blame, though, because they never dared to ask me about my personal life.  They probably thought the same thing I did, why try when you know it will just end badly?)  HOWEVER, after my conversation with my mom today, I have the highest hopes that things between us can be restored.  Last night I got an email saying that I had a new subscriber and when I looked at the email address I immediately recognized it as my moms.  I panicked.  I got scared, I got really scared, I hadn’t told my parents yet about the blog because I was planning on waiting to tell them in person when I see them this weekend, but I knew the risk I was taking.  It’s all over Facebook and I am friends with my family so its pretty obvious that I wasn’t trying to hide anything.  I just got a major flashback to when my parents found out I was a lesbian before I had the chance to tell them myself.  Scared the shit out of me.  I talked to her briefly last night about logistics for my coming home this weekend and she barely mentioned the blog.  She said that she’d read it, and that she sent it to my dad, and that she was confused and concerned (concerned is a scary word for me because in my experience it usually indicates that someone has already formed uneducated opinions around the situation).  We resolved to talk about it when I come home. 

Today she called me again and we talked for probably half an hour.  It was the most productive conversation that I’ve had with her about my gender identity in several years.  She wanted to know how to introduce me?  Does she have a son now or a transgendered daughter?  Was I really sure that I wanted to be called Peter (because the word “peter” reminds her of a penis, haha)?  Can I send her some resources for parents with transchildren?  Can I introduce her to anybody that may be able to relate?  Am I gonna grow facial hair?  Am I going to have surgery?  You know that surgery isn’t covered by insurance, right?  How are you paying for it?  When do you hear back from the job interview you just had?  Have you looked into doing any transgender medical studies?  I bet you can make some money doing that…it was incredible.  Her tone was of genuine curiosity and confusion.  She wasn’t angry or sad or overwhelmingly unsupportive.  She did mention that she struggles with the moral aspect of this situation, but honestly, that is something that only time can change.  I almost cried with joy when I got off the phone with her.  I was so happy to have a conversation about the progression of my life without feeling completely defensive and misunderstood.  I think we both realized tonight that my transition is a huge opportunity for bonding.  I mean, this has the potential to bring me closer to my parents than I’ve ever been, or it could push us apart forever.  I am paralyzed with happiness knowing that my parents are willing to give this a shot.

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2 Responses to “Save the Date!”

  1. Lil' Bro said

    I love you big bro. Im so happy for you.

  2. maddox said

    Hey Peter – just found your blog and I’ve been reading up on some of the posts. You have an interesting story and your “transcription” keeps it real. I was quite happy to get to this one and read that your mom is finally supportive. Hopefully I’ll get to read more of your journey!

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