Three things happened yesterday that made me think perhaps the universe is trying to tell me something. Two affirming personal interactions and one profoundly moving presidential address all occurring on the same day. All of them with a common message that speaks loudly and clearly to my heart, making me more committed than ever to continue telling you about my life with Carli and the love that we share.
There was a retirement party at work yesterday so there were quite a few people on campus who I don’t get to see very often. We shared stories and laughed and enjoyed each other’s company. As one person was walking out the door I shouted to him, I needed to give him something to take back to his office but I never get to see him. Great timing! While he was in my office he asked if he could talk to me about something personal. Of course, let’s close the door and chat. He asked if Carli would be open to speaking with his church congregation about her experiences as a transgender woman. They are a small congregation and want to know how to support the transgender community, but they have no transgender members. They have no transgender members. But they want to gain understanding, and help and support anyway. This request touched me deeply. These people have no dog in this fight, but they still care and they still love.
Another person in attendance was a colleague who retired a couple of years, before Carli came out to me. I haven’t seen this person since he retired but he was a great mentor and friend while we worked together. He would often tell me, when seeing me frustrated or angry and ready to hang it all up, “Hang in there just six more months. Whatever it is, it will have passed by then.” He was always right, 100% of the time and I use his calm perseverance as a model of how I want to live my life. The first words he said to me yesterday were “you look so happy.” Of course, I had to tell him WHY I was happy. He assumed it was something at work and he was fairly stunned when I revealed the real reason I am happier now is because I have a transgender wife in place of a sullen, sad, sometimes angry husband. We spoke at length, he asked logical questions, and I provided the usual responses. I told him Carli and I had briefly considered leaving the state for a more trans-friendly place, but we quickly dismissed this idea. If we left, ran away, we could no longer be part of change. We felt then, and even more so now, like we have a responsibility to tell the transgender story in order to open hearts and minds but much of the time we simply don’t know how to do it. My dear friend said had he read this story somewhere in a magazine or online, or watched a program about it, it would have been easy to brush it aside with little thought. But because I looked him in the eye and told him the story personally it touched him deeply, it touched his heart.
Then, last night Carli and I watched President Obama’s farewell address. Yes, friends, I cried a little but not because I will miss his presidential presence (although I will), but rather because he said some things that spoke directly to my heart, reinforcing what my friends said earlier in the day. If you have something to say, say it. In person. Face to face with friends, acquaintances, and total strangers. Run for office. Be involved. Care for one another. As a citizen of this country we are obligated to continue on the path toward true equality. It is fundamental concept that our country was built upon. These three events colliding on one day so completely overwhelmed me with the possibilities at hand, the evidence of a loving society right outside my door, how could I possibly ignore this sign? So today my energy is renewed, my faith in humanity once again inching upwards, and my storytelling has just begun.
Much love, friends. We’ll talk again soon.