06 March 2010

Training For What's Next, Whatever It Is

More training today. For our "homework" last night, we were given a series of questions people might ask out of a variety of motives. When someone asks a question meant to "bait" the recipient, I have the urge to say something sarcastic. Of course I'll need to suppress that if I'm ever in a position of representing an organization, or even transgendered people.

As an example, one of the questions went like this: A friend of mine says she's bisexual. But I think she's in denial; she's really gay. What should I do? The first response that came to my mind was, Really? She's bi? That means she'd like me now, and she would've liked me then. Sounds OK to me.

And, of course, when someone brings religion--especially if the questioner quotes, out of context, some Bible verse-- I want to say something like, You really think that a book you're reading in English but was written before the English language existed came directly from God? Or, So you really want to run your life by a bunch of warmed-over Late Bronze Age myths?

Here's my favorite question: Why did you cut off your dick? No man would ever do that. Aside from the fact that the operation doesn't involve "cutting off your dick," I always want to point out another, more obvious fact, which I would express thusly: You get it! Of course no man would ever cut off his dick!

Anyone who's known me for a long time (You know who you are!) know that I can be sarcastic to the point of meanness. I almost never use that "weapon" these days; in fact, I find that the more hostile and ignorant someone is, the less I want to bring out the verbal knives. In fact, the only person on whom I've used them lately is someone who actually does know better but uses what he know--especially the good things--against me.

Anyway, I was actually enjoying the training, even though today was a bright, sunny Saturday and a bit warmer than the weather has been. There was a group of people from SAGE Milwaukee which, I learned, is the second-oldest SAGE affiliate. I never, ever would have associated that city with anything gay, lesbian or transgendered. Then again, I've never been there. Nor have I been to Chicago, which also has a SAGE affiliate that was well-represented. Also represented were the Long Island, Hudson Valley and Rocky Mountain affiliates.

I enjoyed being around the people for much the same reasons I enjoy being around older people: They've had all sorts of life experiences, so the possibilities for relating are seemingly endless. Also, as a transgender woman, I am interested in hearing about how they lived as gays, lesbians, bisexuals or transgenders, or what other iteration of gender and sexuality they might embody. There was a woman who "came out" after she had grandchildren; others lived with the unwritten and unspoken "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policies of their workplaces and other communities. A few were fortunate enough to be open about themselves and not suffer consequences. However, as you might expect, there are people who lost jobs, families and much more. An example is a trans man who was harrassed out of his job as a nurse when he transitioned.

Oh, did I mention that I have a crush on him? You'd never know that he was born with XX chromosomes: He is trim and ruggedly handsome in the way of someone who works outdoors--and an absolute sweetheart. Alas, he's married and has kids. All right, I'll be magmaminous and feel good that a woman has a good man and a kid has a good Dad.

I also had a bit of a crush on the trainer, a handsome woman who, as it turns out, lives somewhere between where I live and where I work. At the end of the training, she walked up to me, embraced and exclaimed, "I'm in love with you!"

There were a couple of other people with whom I could imagine spending another weekend, or more. And they weren't all senior citizens: The trans man and the woman I just mentioned don't look like they're past 40. Also present were two straight women who considered themselves "allies." Having parents who've been supportive as well as family members and former friends who've distanced or cut themselves off from me, I understand how important people like those two women are.

Now I have a few business cards and a few more e-mail addresses I didn't have on Thursday, along with invitations. One of those cards came from a cute and very nice gay man who's a retired educator. He took me out to Seven, a dark wood-paneled restaurant with big chandeliers that seemed to diffuse the light that came from them. I very much enjoyed the artichoke and almond soup, roast chicken with potatoes and asparagus we ate--each of us finished a full serving of each--and the creme brulee and mango panecotta we shared.

Even if he hadn't taken me out to dinner, I would've wanted to see him again. You see, he appeals to my ego: He spent half the night, it seemed, telling me how pretty and nice he thinks I am, and the "good energy" he feels coming from me.

Oh, and there's even more intrigue. ;-) The trainer and the director of SAGE have asked me whether I want to go to an advocacy weekend, which will include workshops "having a presence," in Washington, DC next weekend. I agreed to it, even though I have mixed feelings about it for political reasons. I want to help older trans people, and trans people and older people generally. But I'm not a fan of government programs generally or Washington, DC--as a city or what it represents. And I have no idea of what I might do there, save possibly for meeting interesting and possibly unsavory people--and learning something, although I'm not sure of exactly what. Then again, part of me says that's exactly the reason to go. So, that's my plan.