My friend Teri agreed to accompany me and to hold my hands when needed as well as to share her perspective with my sister and her husband Ron. Unfortunately my friend Tammy was unable to make it, I know she would have loved to have been there to hold my hand as well but it wasn't to be. Teri and I got to the motel a couple hours before Karen was due to arrive so we checked out all the great antiques at West End Antiques Mall just off of Staples Mill road in Richmond Va. I shouldn't be sharing this as it is an incredible shopping experience and I don't need the competition from other shoppers!
Here are a couple pictures of us goofing around while checking out this incredible antique mall.
We had a blast there but we were here on a mission so lets get back to our meeting.
It's one thing to say that you accept someone over the phone but quite another thing to meet them face to face and I was scared to death going into this meeting but nothing ventured nothing gained. I had thought that we would meet at around 5ish then go eat and chat then go to the meeting which starts at seven. As soon as I saw them coming up the driveway I met my sister and she gave me a big hug and a kiss on the cheek, my brother-in-law was a bit reserved but he was there to support his wife. I was so relieved that she didn't start lecturing me or any other nonsense instead they wanted to go to my room and get acquainted with their new sister. After introducing my good friend Teri Tainot to them went to my room and chatted about what I had been covering up all these many years, I told them about my earliest memories were of praying to God to fix me or to let me awaken as a female. Needless to say praying didn't work out for me and me and I felt God and I weren't on good terms when I was a small child. I tried to explain the many different forms that we express our gender identity and explained the differences in Drag queens, Cross Dressers, Transgender and those of us with such severe dysphoria that we need to transition in order to be happy with our lives. I have to say my sister made her self comfortable and flaked out on the bed right beside Teri and within an hour or two she actually rubbed Teri's leg to feel how smooth the hormones had made them and she said they were smoother than hers. I have to say Teri does have some fabulous skin.
Shortly before seven we decided to go ahead and go to the meeting, I hadn't been sure that they would be up for it or not as they had known nothing what so ever about trans issues other than what you hear on the news and that is usually false information. When we got to the new building several ladies were out front so we were able to chat with Donna, Laura and several others before the meeting. As usual the meeting seemed to be more about non issues than talking about what it means to be trans but we did have about an hour worth of good support. I think that several things happened that really made an impression on them. The first was "mom" the mother of one of the other ladies who is 100% in our corner and offers great advice. Another great thing was a young trans girl there with her mother and all of us offered her great advice. You could see the poor girl trembling but she did well and her mother is a rock. I can't say enough good about her mother she is one incredible lady and she is going to make sure that she raises an incredible young lady, shucks she already has and they are just getting started. Then one of my friends mentioned that she had apologized for being trans and Keri jumped up and told us that we shouldn't be apologizing for being "US"! Keri was absolutely right, we are who we are and if someone can't accept us for us then they didn't love you to start with and who needs people like that in our lives. She also commented that when you come out to someone that it should be done on a positive note and not that you regret having to tell someone, instead tell them "hey I've got some great news" then tell them. That way you have put a positive spin on your coming out, it is yours to do and how you do it is up to you but being positive is usually a good thing.
When the meeting was over Karen, her husband Ron, Teri and I all went to Ruby Tuesdays to eat a late supper as well as to discuss what all we had seen and heard at the meeting. We had a great chat and the food was pretty good as well but the main thing was that both my sister and her husband were absolutely fine with both of us. Once we were done eating and just enjoying our meals Karen gave me a Card that said that things were rough now but they would get better, she also gave my a small gift wrapped package and when I opened it up they had given my a set of Black Diamond earrings! Wow, I can't tell you how much I value those earrings; but, they aren't so much earrings as they are a representation of acceptance and love to me, she had even used a pink ribbon to wrap them in. I learned once again that my memories of being dressed as a girl by my mother when I was a small child were true memories not something I had imagined.
Both Karen and Ron were moved and shocked to learn that many parents and siblings can not accept us for who we are, my sister told both Teri and I that she accepts us for who we are and even gave Teri a big hug while telling her that "I accept you". Both Karen and Ron told Teri that she should look out for "our girl"! Teri agreed to look after me. I should also mention that Karen several times used the wrong name for me and more than once she used the wrong pronoun, I gently pointed these out to her and she agreed that it would take time but that she would get it right, this is where we have to exercise some patience as she is trying to adjust to our new relationship she has to transition right along with me. I asked her if she could see any changes in me and she said she could see a difference in my face, she seemed to think my face was thinner where I was thinking hormones would round my face out. She also said my "aura" was different I was calmer and at peace with myself and that I seem happier and smile a lot more than I used to. Its nice to hear these things from someone that I know would tell it like it is.
I also learned that my brother Joe who lives in the Mid-West who told me nothing would change in our relationship is actually 100% supportive of me. Turns out when he got my email he mentioned it to a friend of his who has a PhD and this friend had actually done a dissertation on transgendered people in college, this friend set my brother down and explained what I have been going through and my brother is now an advocate for me. I hope that with this knowledge that he will reevaluate his relationship with one of his daughters who he had rejected when she came out as a lesbian, one can only hope that he will now accept her as well. What are the odds of my brother having a friend with a PhD who understands and advocates for transgendered people. I didn't even think my brother could spell PhD much less have a friend who has one! :)
All in all I don't think this could have gone any better and I would like to thank my friend Teri Tainot, Keri Abrams and all of the ladies of the James River Transgender Society who shared their experience and great advice to both my sister and myself, I can't thank you ladies enough. Laura sat right next to my brother in law and regaled him with her wit and humor through out the meeting. Thank you ladies