Friday, we rode up into the North Georgia mountains. It was a perfect day with cool temps, clear skies and no plans other than to spend the day together, listen to some music, look at the changing leaves and maybe visit an old friend along the way.
We had a lovely ride up and met our friend who has lived in the mountains his whole life. He knows every road and “pig trail,” as he calls the barely passable ruts of road that only those with nerves of steel and vehicles with raised bottoms and four-wheel drive would dare to tread.
We climbed into his truck and headed into the hills, climbing higher and higher. At first, the advance in height could barely be felt as the twists and turns seemed to be going nowhere fast. Before long though, we could glance out the window and see nothing but free space between the side of the truck and the land far below. The leaves at first were colorful, then disappeared as they had long since fallen as we climbed towards the heavens.
He told us the land belonged to the forest service and few other cars or trucks were seen, each one requiring a friendly sharing of the narrow road or even backing up precariously to allow the other passage. Occasionally, we stopped and got out, taking pictures that defied the sheer beauty and grandness of a place so close and yet so far from our daily living.Our friend took pictures of Lee and I, something we have little of. He whispered to me how much he liked my Lee and how happy I seemed to him.
Finally, we started down the mountain, stopping only once to admire a small lake with one lone canoe carrying two fishermen in the middle of it. I imagined what it must have been like to travel that trail in a wagon or to have to spend a night stranded on that lonely narrow hint of a road. Our friend said he knew the road had been there in the 1800’s. His grandfather had traveled it often in a wagon, bringing down logs for firewood.
We arrived back in the small town that brings three states together. The powers that be in that little town had declared Friday night the night to Trick or Treat, so as not to interfere with the Saturday night events planned by the neighboring Georgia town eleven miles away. Neither town would ever allow trick or treating on Sunday, October 31st or not. Traffic was backed up with each car full of children in costume, hanging out rolled down windows and shouting greetings at each other.
We settled on a place to eat, a combination American and Chinese buffet. The decor was a combination massive log lodge meets Chinese red dragon. The fare at the buffet was equally blended with the sesame pork side by side with mashed potatoes and fried chicken. Towards the end of our meal, three teenagers came in, all dressed as women out of a Shakespearean play. One of them had a well-trimmed beard. Only one of the three looked to be in a female body.
I have to back track here a little before I continue. Our friend has been my friend for almost thirty years. We see each other a couple of times a year. His friendship with Lee is no doubt not only his only friendship with a trans-anyone, but his only friendship with anyone who identifies as LGBT. In fact, Lee is probably the only one he knows who is L or G or B or T or any combination thereof. He has only been around us together a handful of times. He is from this little pocket of the world where the population is almost entirely white, Baptist and perhaps close to a century behind the rest of the world. I don’t say that to criticize them, only to describe the place and the people who live there.
Back to the story and the three young people who came in. Our friend called over the manager of the restaurant, who he obviously knew and laughed with often. He told him he should guard the bathroom door because there was a crossdresser there. The manager looked confused. Our friend pointed behind him at the table of teenagers. The manager walked away, nodding and laughing.
Later, the young man with the beard walked by. Our friend stopped him and told him someone wanted to meet him. He them called over the manager and the three all introduced themselves to each other.
Our friends and the manager seemed to have e great time during their little encounter and while they had not been vicious or attacking, their intent was clearly to make fun of the boy in the dress. I’m guessing they were all three dressed for a Halloween party. One would have to be incredibly brave to dress that way in that place for any other reason. I’m sure that most have moved away, leaving only the most fearful still hiding in their closets.
When we got out of our friend’s truck to go home, he said to me, “I’m so sorry about what I said about that boy back there. I’ just wasn’t thinking. I hope I didn’t offend Lisa.” I just looked him in the eye and told him not to worry about it.
Perhaps the brave thing would have been to make some sort of scene or at least give my friend a good talking to. Instead, the right thing to do seemed simply to be grateful to be going home; grateful to live where we do; where at least those words and thoughts and jokes are done quietly beyond our ability to hear or see.The bigots are the ones in the closet where we live most of the time.
I also know my friends is kind. He is gentle and loving. He is also ignorant and foolish and at times acts without thought.
I am, too.
I do, too.
Ignorance does not excuse anything though.
One of the amazing things about my friend from the mountains, is how he never met a stranger. He is friends with everyone. He would help anyone. Everyone knows him and though he doesn’t hold any political office or own half the town, he is influential in that he is such a well-known and respected man. He is known for his strength as well as his kindness. Today, he is more aware. Today his ignorance of a world that has passed him and his community by is lessened. He gave us and our relationship a chance. We gave him pause. I’m glad he is still my friend.
November 2, 2010 Posted by New Allie | The Gay Me | Activism, bullying, discrimination, equality, GLBT, human rights, LGBT, North Georgia mountains, Religion and Spirituality, same sex marriage, Trans man, trans-gender, transgender | 4 Comments
Lee doesn’t read my blogs everyday. Sometimes, I read what I’ve written that day to him as he drives home from work. Often, he “catches up,” reading several at a time. On my blog about heart disease, I refer to him more as “her.” That blog is older and I’ve been writing about my heart journey longer than I’ve been specifically writing about being the spouse of a transman.
Very few people refer to the person I call my husband as “him” or “he.” When I began writing about heart disease, I was still referring to him as “her.” I have seldom changed in the way I address him on that site, sometimes still calling him Lisa rather than Lee. Though the transition of Lisa becoming more Lee has been his, it has also been mine. We both move around within the worlds around us, answering and addressing each other as situations and people expect us to and as we react and respond out of habit.
It is not for lack of respect that the pronouns are interchanged. It is because what you witness through these writings is our own journey, acceptance, education, understanding and acts of courage. I know no other woman whose husband is in the body of a woman rather than the body of a man. I know no other man who has had to reside in the body of a girl. I recently reunited with a niece who is MTF and for years worked as a successful drag queen. There, my personal experience in the world of trans ends.
I have however, known gay men and lesbians and wonder at times if some of them were as my Lee. Though “Out,” might they live as the wrong letter of LGBT? Where do I fit in this alphabetical equation? Do I fit and do I even need to?
As Lee was reading through some older entries the other day, he noticed that the more emotional I am as I write, the more likely I am to refer to him as her. Especially when I have written of an event that has angered me, I resort to the default mechanism of our relating to each other. I resort to what is safest in public and was also how we began.
Coming out as trans is not the same as coming out as gay or lesbian (not that coming out as gay or lesbian is in any way less traumatic or difficult!). For many, including Lee, I imagine it means coming out yet again. Lee knew he did not fit in his body. He knew he was not attracted to men. He knew he related more as a male, but he did not know that what he was, was something that anyone besides he was. He came out to family as lesbian. Even when he learned there was another identity, another name, besides simply gay or straight, there was no big light bulb moment of awareness, either. Though he knew as early as age five that he wanted to be a boy, he was also not confident even at forty that it was okay to be who he really was. Perhaps to many, if not most, coming out once is all the pain and rejection they can endure.
I feel as if I simply jumped from a bridge, landing in the river of LGBT, kicking behind the float my love lies on. I will kick and support whatever direction he takes. I will call him by whatever name he is most comfortable. I will respect his decisions and his wishes. And no matter what, he is the most beautiful man I’ve ever known, the most gallant gentleman and my forever hero. No legal, chemical, hormonal or surgical transition will change who he is to me. He is my husband.
Maybe it doesn’t matter if others understand. Maybe it only matters that they allow; that they accept; that they embrace all the many ways we humans show up and especially embrace the many ways love shows up. Here we are, right back at human rights, equal rights, the massive missing piece of the puzzle.
October 27, 2010 Posted by New Allie | The Gay Me | Activism, bullying, discrimination, equality, gay rights, human rights, LGBT, Religion and Spirituality, same sex marriage, Trans man, transgender | 4 Comments
What’s It About?
I know what you are probably thinking, that one doesn’t become suddenly gay. I agree. However, I was thrust headfirst into the gay community, my identity as heterosexual gone, the moment I fell in love with the love of my life.
Lee is a man, living in a female body. I fell in love with the man he really is, but also with the woman the world sees. To that world, we are a same sex couple.
I spent over fifty years as a white heterosexual woman. I lived in that comfortable place of mass acceptance, void of bigotry. The only discrimination I ever felt was as a woman and as a person of short stature. I never feared to walk down a busy street holding my love’s hand, until now.
This blog is about my observations as someone suddenly perceived by the world as gay, as a lesbian. I believe I offer a unique perspective.
Check out my other blog about my journey with heart disease.
I grew up wanting a fairy tale life
and searched for a knight just for me
after kissing whole armies off bullfrogs and toads
I gave up and set my dream free
I focused instead on spiritual things
and thought that my business enough
to keep me content and to fill up my heart
with accolades, letters and stuff
but deep down inside an emptiness grew
and I had no idea I was aching
for the dream long forgotten and then thrown away
leaving my heart slowly breaking
then out of the blue walked right into my life
my knight and my perfect mister
not looking at all like I had imagined
but more like by best girlfriend’s sister
still dressed like a man and so debonair
a hero with intent not at random
and out of my dream rode my prince to my side
as if never had my dream been abandoned
the gender lines blur but forever is he
the love of my life and my living
kind, strong and caring, funny and bright
generous, sensitive, giving
so some call us gay or lesbo or such
and say what we have is not real
some cast us out or don’t let us in
and think they know best how we feel
all that they don’t understand
they just cannot see that love is what’s real
and the genitals don’t make the man
Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.