Without question, I could overuse the word ‘connection.’ It sounds nice as it escapes my lips. It’s a feeling, not in the mind, but gut. My brain is mobbed with thoughts. None intrusive. Bonding thoughts. Like the way glue affixes to wood. My groups, my church family–even my biological family–are with me.
A while back, J. B., the Director of Lifespan Faith Development at our Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, invited me to share a story about living my truth. At the podium in front of our congregation. Okay, so there weren’t umpteen people staring me down but I was confident.
I’d come out to the congregation previously during a sharing of what’s referred to as ‘Joys and Sorrows’ in our order of service. I was so thrilled one day I could hardly contain myself and I gave it up. “I am transgender,” I said. Folks actually clapped when I said, “I’ve never been so happy in my life as I am right now.”
I wrote a few paragraphs and ran them by J.B. On the third draft, we both felt my description of Sam being Sam passed muster. Other than reading it over a bunch of times and changing the font so I could read it without stuttering, I felt good to go. Unlike the first time I’d read my piece from 2013’s anthology, I did not shake as I read.
I’d called my little vignette: “My Authentic Self,” and shared away. I made eye contact. I told myself I was being brave. Part of me felt responsible to educate. When I’d stood during another time of Joys and Sorrows and announced proudly I’d located a group for trans masculine individuals, people questioned G after service. I would put those questions in context.
It began as such: “Now that I am transitioning emotionally, I am more confident than ever yet still afraid. I want folks to know being transgender is not a choice. I’ve come out as a trans masculine person, which in many cases, can be seen by the individual as a man trapped in a woman’s body.”
I continued, “I’ve come to accept all that is me. The physical female parts–though it’s tough–and the emotional male parts, which is easier. Each person is made of both. If I could wave a wand I would transition physically without a second thought. I’ve emerged from a brutal closet and have been living authentically for mere months.”
When finished, I noticed everyone once again clapping. Walking down the aisle back to my seat, I could feel my face a little red, like I was beaming. At coffee hour, following the service, friends hugged me and many shook my hand. A man I’d never met took my hand in both of his and thanked me for being so honest. I’d achieved my effort to inform. I’d given my authentic self and didn’t flinch a bit while doing so.