I’ve been having a slow conversation through Facebook with a friend from high school. Hopefully she will show up here eventually. But she’s a little busy training to be a Peace Corps volunteer, so we’ll se.
In one of her messages she wrote:
You have an original voice. I know that transgender issues are understandably important to you, but I also find your posts on other subjects to be fascinating. You write with passion and are able to reduce the macrocosm down to the infinitely human microcosm.
Also, everyone changes as they live their lives. Most of us don’t want to be judged, but if we are, we want to be judged by who we are now. As an old high school friend, I would like to see you address this type of issue in relationship to transgender politics.
I’ll try to do that tonight…with a little bit of other stuff mixed in.
No, I don’t want to be judged by who I was, though I am not ashamed of that person. I led a fairly good life up until the point where I could not do it any longer. But, my oh my, do I wish I had been able to live a life like Oak Reed or Andy Moreno.
Truth is that I was too afraid…afraid of what my classmates would have said or would have done. I was not strong enough to face that. So I waited…and slowly matured. And I learned about who I was, slowly and surreptitiously, to be sure. When I was much younger, this sort of information did not exist…or was so well hidden as to be virtually nonexistent.
And perhaps more than I should have, I’ve divorced myself from most of my friends I grew up with, under the assumption that it is just to hard for them to understand. I mean, I did attend my 30th high school reunion in 1996, a couple of years after my surgery, but that really didn’t go so well, all in all. A few people talked with me for a little bit, but it certainly wasn’t necessarily the people with whom I would have preferred to spend time (with a couple of exceptions). Then again, most of them had no idea I’d had a sex change, so perhaps the space between us shouldn’t have been unexpected.
I shouldn’t judge them based on that encounter, if only for the fact that it was 14 years ago. It may be somewhat ironic that as a teacher, it’s my job to judge, if not the students themselves, at the very least, the quality of their work. I strive mightily to make sure it doesn’t go beyond that. People shouldn’t be judged…as people…by how well they do in a mathematics class.
And the person a student is when he or she takes a class from me is not the same as the person they will eventually become. These are, after all, young adults.
Who would want to be judged by who they were as a young adult…or a high school student…or a grade school student…or a child in preschool?
And for those of us who are transgender and/or transsexual, why should we be judged by how we were labeled when we were born? How would you like that if it were you who were so judged?
As a transwoman I am not ashamed of the man I was until I was 44 years old…but I am not that person now. I’d rather be measured by the woman I have been for the past 18 years.