If your friend told you he was trans, what would you say? How would you react?
Most of us can easily say that we’d be okay with it (hey, it’s the GLBTQ community participating in this blog hop, plus those reading my backlist after all) but it’s one thing to enjoy hot gay sex between the pages, and watch characters like my beloved Ash come out as trans to his friends, and an entirely different thing to experience it first hand with a living, breathing human being.
Three years ago, I experienced just that.
Three years ago, Vy (yes, the same Vy I dedicated Change of Skin to earlier this week) was just Al. He was just one of the guys that my husband had brought home to game together in our basement. Now, she’s my best friend, and most days, more girl than I’ll ever be.
Her journey is far from completed. There are still a few people who don’t know what she’s going through, and there are a couple that aren’t coping well with the announcement that she’s transgender. Overall, however, she has some wonderfully supportive people in her life to more than make up for the couple of small-minded blinder-wearing acquaintances.
As we sat in my living room sipping apple ice wine last Friday, we talked – as we often do when we’re alone together – of her journey. One friend curses himself out when he accidentally says “dude” or “man” even though Vy doesn’t mind. Another doesn’t want Vy “exposed” to her kids. As Vy tries to stay positive about the latter (and positively glows over the support of the former) I study her. Her cheeks are sharper, her hair shiny and curly. She’s painted her toes, and she tells me about the cream she’s found for her cuticles. She complains about the pains of growing breasts, while I tell her it’s time she bought a pretty lace bra. But most of all, she’s happy. Though she still has to face the challenge of revealing her truth to a few important people, she’s improved her life by sharing what had always been – until a couple of years ago – a shameful secret. She’s shedding her male mask and stepping into her female skin. Damn soft and smooth skin, too, not that I’m jealous at all. I can’t be. Not when she’s finally becoming who she wants – no, needs – to be.
May 17th is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, and while I write this for the Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia, I also write this for the person who – once I truly met her – has become my best girlfriend. Each and every time Vy musters the courage to tell someone she’s transgender, she’s full of fear and uncertainty. She’s received a ton of support, and yet, the hatred, the confusion, the close-minded ignorance is still out there. She’s faced it. She’s felt it. When she tells me of these conversations, I want to scream. I want to run over to that hateful person and spray paint my distaste on their walls. I’d say this: She’s still the same person you became friends with, but now you know more of her.
I’m not that agile with a paint can, so instead I’m there for her. Often I don’t need to say a word. Just listen. She knows I don’t judge, and she knows I do my best to understand. Of course I do. Any one of you would do the same for your best girl.
Let me know how you address homo- and transphobia. Are you the supportive shoulder to lean on? Are you the activist, lobbying for anti-discrimination laws? What do you do to help the Vy’s of your life?
Tell me about one of your experiences, and I’ll draw a name at the end of the hop to win a book off my back list. Check back here June 1st to claim your prize. In the meantime keep up the good fight, and stand up for your gay and trans friends whenever possible.
With love to all my gay, straight, bi, trans, and cis friends.
PS Click the badge for a list of other Hoppers. Each one has something to say about these disappointing phobias, and each one is giving away a prize to thank you for reading.