Book excerpt: family rejection

“A Roller Through a Hurricane” is far more than my memoir. I use my experience to explore how transgender persons are affected—the internal struggles and the external challenges.

The following section from “Family Rejection” hits home to every trans person. These are the portions of the book where I long to show the reader how profoundly affected we are when we bare our souls and then face the fallout.

It doesn’t get any closer to home than family.

I wanted my old life back.

I bet you know the feeling, when something has happened and you want a time machine to get back to before everything went wrong. Before your spouse left you. Before you lost your job. Before the doctor’s pronouncement of cancer. Before a loved one’s death.

From my reading and getting to know trans folks, I believe one hundred percent of us experience rejections by family. Sometimes, it is stark: “You’re no longer my child.” Often, it is blunt: “I’ll never use your new name.” Regularly, they persist in using the pronouns of our birth sex, no matter how much we appeal to them to correct it. Many times, they set ground rules: “You can attend family functions as you, but not as this person you are pretending to be.” And, in that decree, they show their attitude regarding our transitioning. That they have not truly heard us. Have not grasped our struggle. Our pain. How badly we have been torn apart for so many years. How much we need to figure this out so we can finally experience peace. Wholeness of being.

We suffer the worst rejection from the ones we need the most. We are not respected in the place we most deeply long to be understood, to be valued, to be beloved.

Yes, there are allies. Perhaps one of the two parents will be understanding, even wonderfully so. A sibling or two will hear us and rally to our side. Grandparents often surprise us with their love, their ability to accept our revelation, when we fear their being two generations removed will make that impossible.

We are deeply grateful for the ones who accept us. We rely on them. We cling to their affection. They often go to bat for us. They try to pave inroads with other family members. They are the ones who might be heard when we are no longer given an opportunity to speak.

Sadly, though, we rarely achieve a full round of acceptance. Without the complete support of family, there remain gatherings to which we are quietly not invited, or blatantly unwelcome: “You will in no way go to the funeral.”

These are the stories I have heard firsthand from trans folks. These are the accounts I have read on social media and blogs and in books, and in emails I’ve received. These are the situations of my own experience. These are the matters which plumb the depths of our hearts and the pain we suffer, the aching for love, the longing to be understood. To be included.

When we come out, we often are not allowed in.

For the rest of the story, look for my book to be published soon. I will provide details here and on my Facebook page: “A Roller Coaster Through a Hurricane.”