Tuesday, November 20, 2012

It has come...

Well it has certainly been quite a month! When we last left our intrepid heroine she had been revealed to her 112 co-workers as a Transgender Woman who was going to transition at the office. The days of "he" would be left behind and days of "she" would begin after a week of reflection and adjustment. And now we rejoin Dianne as the curtain rises on another episode of "Big Changes!"

It has finally really actually happened. I am living my life as Dianne and moving into a new world of my own making! My first day at work was thrilling with not one trace of the anxiety I had anticipated. The preceding week of post-announce pre-transition had been very healthy for everyone. I was able to be open and honest with my coworkers and they were able to see that this was actually going to happen and ask questions.

I made a point on the first day to dress in office proper attire but just a touch spiffier than an average Monday would warrant. This wasn't my first day at a new job, but it was my first day as a new me at the old job. So it was just about the same. Black and print dress, hose, heels, little black open weave cardigan. It is certainly what I would wear to an interview.

My manager and our HR director had arranged a meeting at 9:30 to "make sure we were all on the same page." I had joked that they wanted to make sure my stocking seams were straight but I knew that they really wanted to make sure I was presentable. This was reinforced as they each repeatedly commented, "Wow, you look pretty darn good!" I think they were a bit taken aback that the rumpled dumpy guy who had worn khakis and plaid shirts non-stop for 13 years had suddenly blossomed into a classy middle aged, manicured, well coiffed lady ready for a day at the office! I was presented with a new box of business cards with my new name and off I went to engage the world.

I made a point during the first week to frequently leave my little cube on the remote floor below and get out with people and interact. A very few people became suddenly fascinated with the baseboards when they passed me in the halls but I was chin up and shoulders back! Mainly what I got was acceptance. People made a point to tell me that they cared, that they could see that this was a me that had been hiding in the back shadows and that had finally come out in the open. They were happy for me and I was flutteringly ecstatic!

The thing that has touched me the most, that has made the biggest change in my life, is a thing that I am finding the hardest to absorb. It's something that I rarely dared to dream of and that I was worried might not happen. Something that seemed to be a hope as tenuous and delicate as a dewy spider web in the crisp morning light. Something that has come to me far sooner than I had imagined possible. I feel that people are accepting me as a woman. The women that I work with have begun to welcome me into their culture and make me a sister. It has brought me to tears more than once.

I have had lunches out with my gal friends and confiding chats in the hallways. I've been told about hormone issues and parenting problems and marital frustrations. After 52 years as some sort of a guy I can confidently say, "Men just don't understand. That's why I left the club!" I've been  told by a new friend that it is very important that I vote because of the number of women who soldiered on in the suffrage movement. I've been told by an old friend that I was always one of her favorites and now she knows why. I've had our resident "Once a Marine, Always a Marine" gal stand up, come toe to toe with me, look me in the eye and say, "I'm proud of you." I've gone to a city council meeting regarding a nondiscrimination ordinance and had my picture on the front page of the local paper and had people tell me they were proud that I was there. I've had a friend tell me that my dealing with my nature has changed her perspective on life.

I am amazingly more engaged with the people in my life. I'm not "tolerating" the Holidays as in the past, I am relishing them because I will be spending time with people I enjoy and who enjoy me "as me." Not people who need me to be in a role, but people who know me for who I am and love me for it, not in spite of it. I LOVE the people in my life.

It is an amazing irony that there are only two people in my life who have vowed to have nothing to do with me. My son and daughter in law have stated emphatically that they will not allow "Dianne" to have any contact with my two year old grandson because they feel it will damage him. They will not "act like this is OK." In a startlingly blunt last email from the daughter in law she commented that I "must be so lonely" because of this and then hopes I " learn to embrace who I am." I am incredibly far from lonely and am relishing an amazing sense of embracing who I am. I am finally finishing my adolescence. I am growing up to be who I have felt I was inside and finding an unexpectedly rich and rewarding life. I had no idea how simply depressed and limited I have been for so many years.

I feel like a month ago, the day I was transparently honest with everyone in my life, I was born.

It's my new Birthday!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

From the Land of Potatoes

I live in Idaho and our voting law states that you are "requested" to provide a government issued photo ID when you vote. With all the talk about Voting While Trans and the potential issues that T voters could face I decided to do my research. I had begun my full time transition an entire week before election day and, thus, had a photo ID that didn't look very much like "Me" anymore.

I learned that my ID might be refused, and that I could then sign an affidavit stating that I was, indeed, me and that I lived at my address and that I was registered to vote. I printed out some web pages about the laws. I printed out pages from the ACLU and wrote their phone numbers on the pages. I printed out the affidavit and filled out all but the signature and witness lines. I took these prepared truths and these ready facts and put them in a file folder, with a file folder label, and tucked it under my arm and went in to vote at my appointed polling place. I proudly walked up, stated my legal name and handed the volunteer my ID.

She took a look at it, looked at me... and handed me a ballot and pointed to an empty booth.

"But, Don't you, but..."

I was all prepared to defend my right to exercise my franchise and demonstrate my preparedness, all she did was look at my license and look at me and send me on in.

Hmm, does that picture really look like me? I mean, people I know fairly well have walked right past me without a hint of recognition, even with eye contact. Am I just one of the many trans gals who voted there that day? Or is it just no big deal? Was it just another opportunity for me to see that I am taking this whole transition and change thing just a bit more seriously than people around me?

Dunno! I voted and went back to work and then went home to watch the results. And I didn't even get to show off all my fancy papers and my diligent research...

Saturday, November 3, 2012