“No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.”
~ Ansel Adams
You may have read a recent FB post of mine, reading as:
“Have you ever had one of those days where—while phone chatting to your cousin and she’s asks for the name of your book—you accidentally text “Living with Crossdressing: Defining a New Normal” to your gf’s youngest daughter as a reveal? Asking for a friend…”
it all happened so fast!
I was petrified! Not because I didn’t want this special young woman to know but because it was “outing” Savannah to someone inside the family before my girlfriend, Judy, said it was okay to do so. Revealing to a family member that your partner is a male-to-female crossdresser is still something that is laced with the worry of rejection and the fear of being ostracized from continued interaction with those you love most.
It all started with the accidental text, “Living with Crossdressing: Defining a New Normal”, sent to Judy’s youngest daughter, Michele, instead of to my cousin, Merida (who knows about Savannah and had asked for the name of the book “she” wrote).
The texts went like this…
S: Living with Crossdressing: Defining a New Normal
M: WHAT LOL
M: Do you have something you’d like to confess?
S: Maybe I’m on drugs
M: did someone take your phone!
S: At Starbucks.
S: Meant to send that to my cousin dealing with the issue
M: I’m sorry I didn’t mean to make a joke out of it
S: No worries
M: nothing wrong with cross dressing!!
M: and I mean that! Lol
M: honestly people are born into who they are and that’s that. Hell when I was a preteen I only wanted dad to buy me boy clothes lol… I know it’s not truly comparable but I could literally care less what people choose to do or dress like or identify as. Good for your cousin, honestly.
S: It’s a brave new world
We continued to text about the acceptance of transgender people and the status of her recovery after a recent surgery. All the while, Michele was also texting her mother about my initial message. I was texting with Judy about what the heck we should do next. Judy took this as ‘a sign’… an opportunity to finally come clean about her being in a five-year relationship with a man who has a gender duality. She has three daughters and has wrestled from the beginning about whether to share my crossdressing with her daughters (and, by extension, their partners). I got a message with a screenshot from Judy (that she had sent to Michele) that said, “Here goes nothing… he IS a crossdresser.” My heart skipped a beat and my stomach flipped for a moment before I realized that Michele had not missed a beat in her conversation with me, in spite of this new information about me. Because of that fact, I broached the topic with her with:
S: Sooooooo… Mom told you
S: You still love me?
M: um is that even a question
M: of course I do
M: you’re even cooler now hello
M: that’s actually inspiring all the stuff mom said about the books and stuff too (GF told her about the “Living with Crossdressing” book, our community involvement, our workshop at the Keystone conference)
S: Your mom and I have worried about how the people we loved most would react ever since we got together
M: I understand that completely. I’d be scared too! Just know you have my support and I don’t think differently of you at all!
From there, I sent Michele pictures of Savannah, talked about the struggles and successes Judy and I had faced, and answered general questions about my feminine presentation. She commented that it now made sense why I was “so good at cosplay.” We chatted about the book, how our move to South Carolina ended up being a positive one, and how Michele wanted to learn all she could about my experience and where I was on the transgender spectrum. She couldn’t have been more accepting, and Judy and I couldn’t have been happier with the outcome.
Michele was adamant that she felt we should tell the rest of her sisters, and that she was fairly sure that each would quickly accept Savannah as part of the family. If they didn’t have acceptance in their hearts and minds, Michele said she would have a stern talking-to prepared for them. As Judy put it, Michele had become an accidental advocate for the transgender cause. This is, many times, the case for cis-folks. They have no reason to champion a cause for transgender education until they find that someone close to them fits that bill.
A week later, as a heartwarming gift, Michele sent me a small manila envelope. When I opened it, I was nearly brought to happy tears. Inside was a cache of brand new makeup that Michele had intended to sell. Instead, she had sent them to me with a beautiful note that said,
I was going to sell some of these items, but I thought they deserved a better home. I guess this is my silly way of showing you that I love and support you exactly as you are. Enjoy!!
I love you,
While this story seems too good to be true, it did happen. I was initially filled with terror that I had inadvertently revealed myself to someone without the proper clearance to do so or with the proper preparation to deal with the possible negative fallout. Once that genie is out of the bottle and the words have been spoken, there is no way to tamp them back into the lamp. While I freaked out because I didn’t have a moment to run through a risk assessment of whether or not Michele knowing was going to be problematic, all immediately worked out in the best way.
Now, one lasts thing… they say that when one person knows a secret, twenty people know that secret. After Michele was told, she mentioned that she wanted to tell her boyfriend. She cited that she knew that he would be just as accepting as she was. In this case, we told Michele that we were fine with her instincts on how her boyfriend would react to the news. Michele told her boyfriend of the struggles and achievements that Savannah and Michele’s mom had gone through. He, as she predicted, was fine with me as Savannah. Michele had become an accidental advocate for me as a crossdresser and for the transgender community because I was a part of it.
I have mentioned many times that crossdressers need to start journeying into the light of day; that we need to be the educators and positive examples to let people know that the slur of “tranny” doesn’t apply anymore. We need to let people know that we are not all just a sordid collection of fetish dressers or men who are denying that we want to be women!
I guess, for me, I will start the teaching close to home.