Recently I was asked about how I approach sexual orientation while transitioning. It is a hard thing to think about because so much else is changing in my life. Specifically, I was asked: “So do you date lesbians, straight girls, bi girls, or what?” My original response was: “I just like women.”
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about pronouns and my name change. I understand it is hard at first to change those things in your mind when I’ve spent my whole life being one person, and all of the sudden, I’m another. It’s confusing, and no matter how supportive you are, there will be slip-ups. How do people approach this change though?
I have written before about societal expectations and how they affect the way gender is interpreted. Now that I present as a male, though, what is expected of me has changed. I do not visibly reside outside the lines of normal anymore, so I must think about what society wants to require of me as a male.
A friend recently suggested I write about hate. It’s such a hard topic, something we as LGBTQ people encounter on an almost daily basis. The level of hate one encounters, though, varies by location. Places with laws protecting the community such as California and much of the Northeast tend to be more accepting. People also vary in their acceptance of the community based on their level of education (generally those who have experienced higher education are less likely to harbor prejudice), their religious beliefs, and their social class.
Recently I went to help out at a camp one of my friends works at, demonstrating horse care. When she was proposing that I come to help out, she told her boss my name was Cael and used male pronouns. But she did know me before I started to transition, so she is still getting used to the pronoun change. She slipped up, using she instead of he, and her boss caught the slip up and proceeded to ask her what the deal was.
She told her boss about transitioning and FTM and transgender and all of these different subjects to which she had never been introduced. Her boss then brought up several different questions: Will the kids be able to tell? What do we tell them? And a few others. So I went to the camp, taught the campers a bit more about horses as they continually asked my friend if I was her boyfriend, having no clue of my transition. None of them knew the difference.