“I wish I didn’t have to do this.” I wiped the tears from my eyes and resumed looking at Julie. “It will be okay.”
This was last night, as Julie was kissing me goodnight. She sat on my lap, facing me. I peered into her eyes. Mine welled up with tears. I spoke of the big day that is finally upon me, the legalizing of my female name. “I wish I didn’t have to do this.”
A tear slid down my cheek and landed on my shirt. I removed my glasses and with a tissue soaked up the pools in my eyes. Replacing my glasses, I calmly continued, “It will be okay.”
A strange thing happened on the way to my court date, when my name will be legally changed from Gregory John to Gina Joy: Gina has no joy at the arriving of this landmark day.
As I think back to December, 2014, to the first trans person with whom I spoke about this topic, I recall the triumphant tone in her voice, the unbridled joy in her words. “I left the courthouse and was barely touching the ground as I walked to my car. I finally had my name to go with my authentic self, and I was so happy.”
Two weeks ago, a good trans friend got her name changed. With that, and the receiving of her corrected Social Security card and drivers license, she was just plain giddy. Her reaction is the expected one. This is one of the top steps in the long ladder of transitioning, and the sense of accomplishment is strong.
I am writing this two hours before my court appearance. I have no sense of my authentic self being acknowledged. I know that I am a male, and would be if not for the endocrine disruption which left me feeling female. Thus, this is not a “Yea, the day is finally here!” moment for me. I just want to get it over.
What is going on with me? Do I feel that I am making a mistake? As the ten weeks have elapsed since filing my paperwork, this has weighed on me. The past two weeks have just plain been painful. A week ago, I found myself at the crucial point, asking whether I should do this.
I imagined cancelling today. I remembered what happened to me every time I stopped transitioning, each time I took a step back and tried to resume living as a male. I recalled that not only did I wind up crashing after a matter of days, each crash was worse than the one before.
There simply is nothing in me that can imagine being a male. It’s not in my brain. Why do I keep struggling over it?
I continue to desire it because Greg can move through the world without a care in the world. The recent bathroom debate exemplifies this. Friday evening, I was in a women’s restroom, in a stall, when numerous young women came in. One was showing a new employee how to change the towel dispenser, another took the stall next to me. While I have been in similar situations, with emotions running high over bathrooms I was not eager to approach the sink on this day. Thankfully, the coast was clear for me to wash up and get out.
Greg never has this concern. Greg never has people misgender him because his phone voice doesn’t match his gender. Greg doesn’t have his own people-group—traditional Christians who are politically conservative—the vocal opponents of trans folks in the bathroom debate. Greg doesn’t cost his family a lot of money for doctors, hair removal, and prescriptions. And none of this is to discuss the impact on my family and my Christian family.
Greg had it made, and so I continue to long for his return, and it happens every time I reach a milestone in my transition.
The problem is that I cannot find myself in a spot in which I have any realistic hope of resuming living as a male and not having it work to destroy me.
Despite things like public restrooms, I, Gina, go about my business in the world in relative ease. I am self-confident. I don’t look over my shoulder. When, as Friday evening at the brewery where my son’s band played, I see the stares of people, I don’t wince.
I feel right as Gina. I am happy to see a way-more-female-looking person in the mirror. I find that man, who is in my current drivers license, to be a handsome guy, but I don’t identify as him. He doesn’t feel like me. He has become a foreigner to me. I ponder his life as if looking through a family photo album.
There is no course of action but to continue to transition and I have practical needs, none more practical than having a drivers license which is appropriate to me. And then credit cards which match me. And on down the line so that mail no longer comes to a person who does not reside at this address.
Julie and I will be heading downtown minutes after I post this. I am not nervous. I am neither excited nor upset. I am neither happy nor sad. I am simply resigned. I will be glad when it is done.
Maybe, just maybe, I will even be pleased about it. I suspect I finally will be pleased about it. I certainly want to be. But, I can’t shake that mourning feeling.
As much as Gina needs this, Greg didn’t deserve it.