Adjusting to the realities of male, female and other
By Cheryl Lavin September 15, 2013 4:08PM
The recent column about Jackie who was born a male but always felt she was a female has started a discussion about transgenders. Your thoughts ...
MACI: My tween daughter signed up for a computer course which asked for her gender. The choices were Male, Female, and Other, with a space to specify the Other. I thought that was very telling of progress in this area, and it was an excellent opportunity to have the transgender conversation with both my kids.
For many in the current young-adult generation and the generations coming up, this will become more and more of a non-issue and people will finally be able to live authentic lives from the get-go. But, man, what a long journey. Count two more kids in the “acceptance” category. One by one we’ll get there.
JACKIE: While I just don’t “get it” — I can’t understand what they’re feeling that makes this necessary — that’s beside the point. Acceptance, not understanding, is the goal.
That said, I have so much awe and respect for them. The courage of these people, to deal with their feelings, and to live openly, is awe-inspiring. I know how difficult it is for gay men and women to come out of the closet. Well, multiply that by 1,000 and you have a transgendered person’s lot in life. I applaud them all.
TALIA: What’s there to “get?” How difficult is it to imagine yourself born one sex and always feeling you were the other? It sounds like hell.
STEVE: This happened in the ’80s at a large company I was working at. One of my co-workers, I’ll call him Andy, very subtly started to change his appearance. He let his hair grow and wore a little rouge and eyebrow pencil. There were all kinds of rumors, but no one said anything to him.
Then his clothing changed. He started wearing women’s blouses instead of shirts. His face softened and he had small breasts. One day he showed up in a skirt and heels.
The manager of the department called him in. Andy told him he’d been undergoing hormone treatment before his sex change operation.
The manager shared the information with all of us. It was awkward at first, but he made it easier by answering our questions and keeping a sense of humor. He took a leave for a month or so. When he came back, he, now she, Andi with an i, started using the woman’s bathroom.
Even though we knew it was going to happen, it was still a shock for a day or two. After that, nothing.
CLAUDIA: I was reading this month’s Vanity Fair. They have a section in the front called Contributors. One of them was Jan Morris, and she was identified as an esteemed travel writer and award-winning historian who had made the trek with Sir Edmund Hillary to the summit of Mt. Everest.
The name sounded familiar so I Googled Jan Morris. Sure enough, it was who I thought. Jan Morris had been James Morris and had a sex change operation. I thought it was so interesting that her little bio didn’t even include that fact.
We really have come a long way if a sex change is no longer considered news!
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