05 July 2011

On Trans Men, Cis Women And The Passage Of Time

So...Today I'm another year older.  And the day after tomorrow, two years will have passed since my surgery.

I was reminded of the latter by two things.  One was an e-mail from Danny, a trans man on whom Marci performed bottom surgery a during the same week she did my GRS.  He and his wife--I call her that because he refers to her that way, and I won't dispute it--have been hiking and camping.  As they live in Alaska, I'm not surprised.  

When we were recovering from our surgeries at The Morning After House, I half-jokingly made him promise me that he would call me if he ever split with his wife.  Of course, I could make a joke like that precisely because I knew he would do no such thing--split with his wife, I mean.  

I can honestly say that I haven't met a trans man I didn't like.  (Would Will Rogers have said that if he were a trans woman?)  I'm not talking only about liking them sexually or in a fantasy, although I've felt that way about a few I've met.  I mean that I have never seen another group of people in which such  a large percentage of its members is self-accepting, and accepting of others.  It's no coincidence that Ray, my social worker during the first two years of my transition, is a trans man.  

Also, here's an interesting paradox in my perceptions of Ray and Danny, as well as some other trans men I've met:  While I cannot imagine them with a feminine physical appearance, I have little trouble imagining them having been females.  It may just have to do with their sensitivity and empathy.  I am not saying that they are exclusively female traits, but most of the cisgender people who've understood me in any way were female. 

One cis woman who showed me more understanding than I expected is the other person responsible for making me conscious of the passage of time since my surgery.  She is Joanne, a friend and neighbor of mine and Millie's when we were all living within a couple of houses of each other.  About three and a half years ago, Joanne moved to Florida to be nearer to family members who have since died.  As she never liked Florida (She was near Fort Lauderdale.) , she had no reason to stay, so she returned about three weeks ago.  Yesterday, at Millie's and John's barbecue, I saw her for the first time since she moved--and since my surgery.  So, of course, one of the first things she asked was how that went.

Joanne and Millie both met me during my last days of living (part-time) as Nick.  When I first moved onto the block on which we all lived, I had just split with Tammy but had not yet "come out" to any of my family or friends. It would be nearly a year before I would change my name, and a few more months before I would report to my job as Justine.

The funny thing was that I hadn't thought about any of that yesterday until Joanne and I started to talk.   Not that I minded talking about it:  After all, she'd heard about it, and had been a good friend until she left for Florida.  

Sometimes I think that if relationships do nothing else, they help to shape our perceptions of time.