Transgenders. Just saying the word is a taboo in our hypocrite society, let alone befriending and loving one.
Fortunately, there is a significant segment of our society that is not only compassionate but also supportive of transgenders. They understand their plight and accept them as individuals worthy of all rights that you and I are entitled to.
During my fling with fashion industry about two years ago, I met many. From choreographers to designers, makeup artists and fashion coordinators, you will find the industry dominated by transgenders, gays and females. And they are appreciated, respected and judged only on the basis of their port folio. I have made some dear friends and my stylist to date is a transgender, and I love and respect them exactly as I would had they been a flawless male or a female.
Anyway, I read the following at Shine from Yahoo! It was written by Genevra Reid and is a touching piece of writing. Here it is:
In the quiet gray of early morning, it’s easy to see Meredith for who she really is. She’s the little spoon, wrapped tightly in my arms. Her hair smells like lavender and the thin, hazy light of dawn catches the outline of her face. I kiss her on the cheek– gently, so as not to wake her– and savor the softness of her skin. It isn’t until my hand brushes against a patch of chest hair that the illusion is broken.
Have you ever started to get into a car and suddenly realized that it’s the wrong vehicle? That’s the feeling I have almost every day with my partner, when I’m holding her in my arms and suddenly remember that she, at least by appearance, is a he. Meredith is transgender, or, as many might characterize it, “born in the wrong body.” Since her early childhood, she mentally and emotionally identified herself as female, despite the fact that her body didn’t line up with her assessment. Although she sees herself as a woman and I see her as a woman, most of the world sees only the shell she was born in: a man’s body.
Meredith has been undergoing the slow, painstaking, and expensive process of transitioning from male to female for the last six months, and it’s been an emotional roller coaster for both of us. Six months and $2,000 worth of laser hair removal has only eliminated hair from her face, and it will take far more effort to remove hair on her chest and back. I have many times heard her crying quietly as she struggled to wax or shave those characteristic markings that declare her a man.
Other steps in transitioning– those procedures and treatments widely categorized as a “sex change”– are even harder to come by. The side effects of antiandrogens and estrogen therapy are severe, and the medications themselves are hard to get and very expensive. Breast implants cost thousands. Sex reassignment surgery, the final (and usually unattained) step, is extremely expensive, has a high rate of complications, and is associated with a significant amount of pain and discomfort. Counseling, of course, to get through all this, is one more weekly investment that is necessary to this long and intensive process.
Almost no health insurance anywhere in the United States covers the cost of transitioning for people like my partner, who were born with brains and bodies that– for whatever reason– don’t line up correctly. The expense of coping with this problem is astronomical, but necessary considering the suicide rate of transgender people who do not transition. My partner also has virtually no legal protection from discrimination or harassment. Should Meredith’s employer decide tomorrow to fire her for being transgender, she will have absolutely no legal footing to contest their decision. We are, in many ways, in this alone.
Harshly negative opinions toward our situation are the norm, not the exception. We’ve both been threatened with assault and even death. Several people have attempted to report us to Child Protective Services, believing that merely having a transgender parent is a threat to our daughter’s health and safety. Although Meredith’s family is supportive, mine is not; many of my family members were happy to stop speaking to me the moment we came out to them. Meredith has been called a freak by for being transgender; I’ve been called a freak for loving her in spite of it.
Meredith rolls over in her sleep, briefly fluttering her eyes open to meet mine. “Good morning, beautiful,” I whisper quietly. Still more asleep than not, she breathes as if panicked and upset. “I’m not,” she whimpers, “I’m hairy and gross and I look like a man.”
“You must be having a bad dream,” I tell her, hoping that she’s still asleep enough to maintain the malleable reality of the dream-world, “You don’t look like a man. Not even a little. You never have. It’s just a bad dream.” Her breathing slows down to a calm sigh and I run my fingers through her hair, holding her against my chest.
I don’t know why Meredith is transgender, what it will take to make her body match her mind, or whether we’ll ever have the resources we need for Meredith to look in the mirror without feeling a sense of agony and detachment. I do know, however, that she is, and always will be, a woman in my eyes. Love can’t magically transform Meredith’s body into the body of the woman she is inside, but it can, and does, enable me to see the person inside the shell. I know that Meredith is a woman. The biggest problem we face isn’t the cost of transitioning or the side effects of medication, but the bigotry of a world that sees her so differently than I do. Perhaps one day, we can overcome our superficial judgments based on exterior features and we will collectively see people for who they are inside.
More from Genevra on the subject of transgenders and loving them: