Shortly before Mother’s Day, my sister called and granted me a ten minute visit with Mom who, I learned, had been hospitalized for a month with pneumonia.
After I gently “came-out” to her in a letter last autumn, Mom did not want to see me again nor speak with me. Earlier this year, she relented and called me for a quick chat, specifically prohibiting any talk of my transition and new life as a woman.
A few days ago I called, casually saying that I was passing-by and would she be up to my giving her a Mother’s Day hug? I had driven two hours so that I could “pass-by.” No answer; there were cars at her home with my sister. Mom never got my messages; I learned my sister’s husband prevented that.
Unexpectedly, my sister called Judi (my spouse) at the urging of my aunt who is close to each of us. I was asked not to wear “dangle” earrings, which I took to mean that they did not want me to appear looking like a sex-worker. In the aforementioned letter, I had told Mom that I “blend-in” with other middle-aged women: imagine the leap.
Mother’s Day, at the appointed time, me, Judi and our son arrived moments before five more members of the family: My sister, her husband, his son, wife and 15 month old daughter. So my little sister is a grandmother: that’s news to me too.
I was dressed nicely in a cheerful new blouse with jeans, sandals, a slender silver necklace, almost no makeup, hair pulled-back and yes, I wore my pearl-stud earrings — really quite typical of how I dress all the time.
There was just enough time to greet Mom and hug her before the tiny room filled with family and a nurse. She is so frail that my gentle hug hurt her, but she looked glad to see me, relieved even.
Moments later, my sister made introductions, informing everyone that I was her brother, “Brett:” I was totally unfazed by this, seeing irony in the fact that I was in appearance, manner and speech every bit a woman as the five other females present — and nothing like the three men! They seemed totally unfazed by the apparent incongruity.
The great surprise (I think) was that the visit went so normally — I am so comfortable and ordinary as a woman that everyone simply relaxed and we chatted about things, with Mom and the little-one being the center of it all. Knowing I am transsexual, I think they were all expecting me to be like a lumberjack-in-a-dress or like a flamboyant gay-guy in drag. I was not the “freak show” they apparently feared…
…The vibes I received felt like “Oh, it’s just Brett. He’s fine after all, apart from being a woman now, of course.”
Like Judi and our son, I strongly suspect they see me as a man who is also a woman. They do not understand my womanhood but they cannot deny the reality of it, and they did not seem threatened by it. I have come to expect this reaction from people who knew me before, at times verbalized like: “I can’t see how a man can be a woman, but somehow it just works for you.”
So, my family and I “passed the test,” and even my sister’s husband warmed-up to me, and we waved and shouted enthusiastic “good-byes!!” in the parking lot, just as other close families do. How refreshing, and what a great blessing from God!