Small name victories
This week has been pretty tough for me emotionally –I encountered one or more gender-related problems every single day– but a few nice things happened, too.
One of my teachers is extraordinarily gay-friendly. She’s married to a man, but she keeps bringing up gay issues and addressing homophobia. This week we had to turn in a group paper for her class; everyone in my group had written their full name, but I had just signed my last name, so at the end of the period she called me aside. “Why didn’t you include your first name?” I panicked: “I don’t know. No reason.” She left it at that, but I saw her in the hallway later on and I apologized for being so blunt and defensive. I told her that I do not like my first name at all and I don’t use it.
I didn’t think it was necessary or wise to explain any further; not all gay-friendly people are trans-friendly. She probably figured me out, though. In any case, she won’t call me by my first name; that’s a relief. It might seem an insignificant detail, but hearing my legal name over and over again gets stressful; if it weren’t, I might not have decided to transition socially.
I also started an extracurricular class this week. I almost didn’t sign up because I didn’t know what name to use –what if I had to show my ID?– and because I already knew the instructor from another course I attended as a female. I ended up sending him an email explaining, very briefly, that I had changed my name.
I decided that if he didn’t accept my new name, I wouldn’t attend these classes; I wouldn’t voluntarily go somewhere where I have to endure female treatment (except for school, which is worth it). I remembered this teacher as a nice guy, but some apparently open people don’t understand trans issues at all. It turns out that I worried uselessly: he sent me an even briefer email saying “Ok, see you!” and from the minute he stepped into the class he called me “he” and my new name.
Moments like these make me hopeful about the future.