Julie and I sat across from the rep. He needed some info from us that we didn’t have in hand. We could get it online. So that Julie could use his computer, he stood and Julie took his chair.
She logged into our account. When she saw the wrong name, she naturally reacted, “Shoot. They still have you as Gina.”
“Gina???” the rep asked in a what on earth are you talking about way.
My elbows on his desk, I dropped my face into my hands. My mind raced. How should I respond?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I am now one and two/thirds years into feeling exclusively male. Things continue to go smoothly.
In April, I got my name legally returned to Greg. Between Julie and me, we undid everything we changed to Gina in 2016—drivers license, Social Security, credit cards, doctors and dentist, and the like.
The only visibly out-of-place thing about me remains my too-large breasts. I hide them as much as I can. I am hoping to have them removed in the near future … or not. That’s a ball that could come down soon or remain in the air for awhile.
I’ve tired of juggling it.
I now carry in my wallet forms of ID that are exclusively GREGORY. Though it’s been this way since May, I still find myself hesitating to use a credit card or show my drivers license, remembering the long months when I was presenting myself as a guy yet those things read GINA.
I can only figure that I had been so uncomfortable that it’s taken this long to subside. When I remember that the item in question now reads GREGORY, I sigh with relief.
Many places I go, they knew me as Gina. The places I go, where they didn’t know me as Gina, there’s no need for it to come up.
There was no need for it to come up last week. And it never would have, if not for the glitch online, with the business where Julie had gotten my name changed but their online info didn’t reflect it.
So, there I was. My face in my hands. With one confused rep.
I needed to address it.
Thankfully, both Julie and I had found the man likeable. Friendly. Professional. Helpful. Shoot, he even enjoyed my silly sense of humor—and I was in one of those moods where goofy things come easily to me and then they spew from my lips.
But at Julie’s, “They still have you as Gina,” his reaction grabbed me hard. This was the first time my being transgender was exposed without my deciding when it would be brought up.
That the rep was taken aback, and expressed it with the laugh of a person who couldn’t believe his ears, was, unquestionably, the to-be-expected reaction.
Always expect the unexpected, we were taught back in the 1970s by those TV commercials, so that we would be defensive drivers. But I wasn’t expecting this particular unexpected, and I was blindsided.
I removed my face from my hands and looked at the man. My silly goofiness was erased. Soberly, I said, “Yes, my name was Gina. I used to be transgender.”
Though clearly surprised, he received my news with grace. The rest of our time with him, I filled in a few of the blanks. Though he didn’t say, it seemed he had no experience with a trans person.
I told him I had published my memoir. On my phone, I brought up my book page on Amazon. He said he would enjoy reading it, and he would gladly pass it on for others to read. Julie beat me to the punch, offering to drop off a book. Our gift.
As our business with him worked toward its conclusion, the gray clouds parted and my sunny disposition returned. I was back to zinging wacky one-liners. He reacted and treated me exactly as before the revelation.
A few minutes earlier, I was telling him of some of the challenges of being transgender, the common hurdles and hardships. He said, “My parents always told me to treat others the way I want to be treated.”
Amen, friend. And you did exactly that for me. Thank you.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I look forward to seeing him this week, when I drop off my book.
I don’t look forward to being caught off guard like that again.
Though it has now happened, I don’t know if I would be able to react any differently.