‘What was your name then?’
If you’ve changed your name, this question pops up now and again. I deflected.
‘That isn’t relevant.’
It isn’t in my trans job description to educate every person who asks me an inappropriate question about a facet of my trans-ness. But some people are persistent, and need schooling.
‘It is, because I want to address that child.’
My current therapist is not a gender specialist. I sought her out because I was looking for someone to help me process the grief I experienced around my mom’s death. She sometimes blunders about in gender stuff, but I course correct her and we keep going.
‘It’s rude to ask a trans person their old name. We call it deadnaming.’
Often I’ll give her more context, but last week I was on week six of either processing and moving the contents of my mom’s condo to prepare the property for sale or being a full-time mom to two kids on vacation, and one of them is special needs. I was tired. And worn down. And had fragile emotions from all of that work and the previous thirty minutes of intense talk therapy about all the emotions stirred up by selling the family home.
‘But I want to talk to the you you used to be.’
When she’s been confused in the past I’ve set her straight. This is the first time she’s pushed back. I’m at an ebb. I’m not getting paid to educate her when I’m vulnerable; I’m paying her.
‘Call her Heather.’
She attempted to generalize.
‘I don’t care if people call me by my maiden name or don’t call me doctor, even though I earned my Ph.D.’
I stared at her. She tried again.
‘But I want to talk to the person who was born a boy…’
The phrase stuck in my mind. It bothered me, but I couldn’t remember why right then. I was too tired, too sad, too wrung out.
‘Just call me Heather.’
She looked somewhat put out. My recalcitrance threw her off, and the conversation shifted.
Much later, at home, I remembered I wasn’t born a boy. I was assigned male at birth. I’ve always been Heather; me and others around me just didn’t know until a few years ago. It bothered me I couldn’t remember during the appointment.
‘I don’t owe anyone an explanation of or justification for my existence,’ I thought to myself. ‘Fuck her.’
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