My social apartheid has to go!
Like many other members I've grown up with what I call a social apartheid - my friends are split between those "who know" and those who don't.
But it is an apatheid that is apparently no longer necessary and a division that constrains our life.
So it has to go!
I have never believed in thrusting my diversity on others - the quest for acceptance isn't best served by shock and confusion.
So I've been dropping the barriers a bit, styling my hair, and letting natural curiosity and seeded conversations do the rest.
But sometimes things can take an unexpected and unplanned course - and last Wednesday night was an example.
Wednesday was the 10th anniversary of Art After Hours at the NSW Art Gallery - always a comfortable venue for a display of gender diversity.
But the special event had a dress prize (best 1930's outfits) - so my partner Megan and I glammed up with plenty of pearls.
On arrival we joined the long queue to buy special tickets - and to our surprise the next people to join the queue were known to us.
Very well known in fact - behind us was Marie, a close friend for over 25 years, and her adult daughter (who grew up with my daughter Annabel).
This situation is the making of many a transgender phobia - "what will I do if I see someone I know?".
But the reality was impossible to avoid - we just turned round and expressed the usual pleasant surprise of running unexpectedly into someone you know well.
There was no moment of confusion, no hesitation, no embarrassment. To be honest I couldn't detect anything awkward about the situation.
After buying our tickets we went our separate ways - running into each other periodically - including once in the ladies toilets!
The next day we received an email - which ended with a note to me
|You looked really lovely. Very sincerely meant. Was that your maiden outing or is the new you for "public" consumption? If not the latter, I will be most discreet.|
So I wrote back, explaining that, although unknown to her, my gender diversity has always been a fact of my, and our family's, life. As I put it
|it was really just “me” you met last night not a “new me” just perhaps new to you!|
I'd like to share Marie's response as it perhaps sums up the pointlessness of hiding what does not need to be hidden:
Dear glamorous one,
What a beautiful email. Many thanks.
You have no problems with me. I'm not easily shocked ... nor is my understanding daughter.
And what a Rhodean distance you've been straddling and with such poise, too ... you Colossus.
I, too, join with Megan and Annabel in supporting and respecting who and what you are.
I love your mind, your wit, your nautical knowledge and great musicianship ... whether clad in a skirt or trousers is an irrelevance.
I'm sure you bring great sensitivity and help to the support group you've founded. Well done.
Every HAPPINESS in the role that gives you comfort and psychological confidence.
P.S. And the highest possible commendation to Megan and Annabel.