My future ex-sister-in-law threw herself a 50th birthday party this last Saturday night and I went as myself. It was a humdinger of a coming out for me, and I still have a smile on my face. The party was widely attended by many people who’ve known for months I’m trans, but that I haven’t officially come out to.
When I arrived, the party was in full swing and a handful of people were already boisterously drunk and the kids were having tons of fun on Rock Band. It was also very loud, and these two things allowed me to slip in without too much notice and make a beeline to the kitchen to prepare some food for the potluck.
There was a mix of arched eyebrows, wide eyes, averted glances, and smiles as I passed though the scrum of people. Two things I’ve noticed about my transition were brought into sharper relief in the wake of my entrance.
The first is that people continue to surprise me in their reactions to me. While most treat me the way I’d expect them to treat me based on their past behavior, some people who I didn’t expect to be sympathetic were and vice versa.
The second is that in general, the women I know are less overtly squirrelly about my transition than the men.
Case in point was a woman at the party I’ve known socially for about two and a half years. She’s always been friendly to me, and in the last year or so I sensed a discomfort on her part when we talked. I knew she probably knew about me and I had assumed I made her uncomfortable. Was I wrong!
She was one of the first people to seek me out and talk to me, and she was kind and supportive. She expressed relief at seeing me as I am and finally being able to talk to me about it. We chatted for quite a while and I answered many questions for her. It meant a lot to me to feel so accepted.
At the other end of the spectrum, several of the men there that I’m friendly with were visibly uncomfortable talking with me or avoided me completely. So instead of talking to them, I hung out with and mostly talked with the women. Which is pretty much exactly what I’ve mostly done at parties before, but this time the conversations were much more heartfelt, so…yay!
To underscore some of the guys’ discomfort, I received a text on Monday from the husband of a couple who are great allies to me and who was used as a go-between:
“Thought I’d let you know, in case you catch wind of it, that you’ve officially been banned from guys night out. [Organizer] asked me at the party if we should still invite you to ‘guys night out’, and I replied, “yeah, probably not.” [Organizer] seemed relieved of his apparent etiquette conundrum. So, it’s not you as a person that “we” are rejecting but rather your gender. (That just doesn’t sound good, does it?) [My wife’s] not allowed, now you aren’t allowed…oh well.”
I laughed when I read this. I knew it was coming. I think it’s a shame the organizer didn’t talk to me directly about it, but I have hopes he’ll come around eventually and speak with me.
All in all, it was a great evening. I got to be myself with zero compromises, no one got in my face, I think I picked up a couple new allies, and my future ex even texted me the next day to tell me that I looked great. 🙂
The adults-only birthday dinner and show afterwards is this coming Saturday night and I’m hoping it goes as well!