A week or two ago, I rode my bike past a neighbor's house and saw a friend of mine, who happens to be a trans man. We got to talking, one thing led to another, and the next thing I know I'm shooting off an email to several other trans people friends of mine, saying we all ought to gather for a social event. NOT a support group. I'm talking fun, food, etc. A flurry of emails later, and fourteen or fifteen of us gather at the Q Center for pot luck.
(Here, I can't resist a dig at the DSM-IV: By their criteria, there should be 2.5 trans men in my area; in fact, at least eight of them were present today, and I know of several others; there should be 8.5 trans women in this area, and nearly all of them were present – despite the fact that I can think of at least seven who weren't there. Not only that, but the description the DSM has of us is almost unrecognizable in any meaningful way by anyone present, and it's downright rude and disrespectful the way they use the wrong pronouns throughout.)
To get an idea of the people gathered, one is a polyamorous sex worker (who has been nominated for best feminist porn film). Another is an ordained, celibate Buddhist monk. At least two live in two worlds, gendered female in one and male in the other, switching pronouns depending on company and situation. Several of us are parents. One is the son of a preacher. No one wore a skirt. And the food was pretty damn good.
For over four hours, the conversation never lagged. We caught up with old friends, made new ones, commiserated on the pains and foibles of transition, celebrated honesty and friendship, bashed hypocrites, and laughed – and laughed – and laughed. Genders mixed in a delightful medley as we all allowed our expression free rein.
There is something both validating and empowering in sharing with people who understand your issues, and something wonderfully refreshing in talking with people who (almost) always get your pronouns right. It is a comradeship, a shared experience, a common understanding. In our society, being where you can completely let down your guard, and be yourself in a crowd, for a while makes the world just right. I relaxed. I let myself be, without fear. And it was fun.
Thank you, all my trans friends. Thank you for gathering. And thank you for being you. You are real, and deeply valued.