Twenty-eight years ago today, I was in a hospital in Oakland, California, with my new baby. Kiddo was three weeks late, after threatening to pop into the world two months early. After two weeks of trying every “home remedy” known to humankind I went into the hospital preparing to be induced, but she didn’t wait for the doctors to do their thing. She still hates to be told what to do. 🙂
Recently, someone at work asked what my daughter’s name is… this gal thought it was strange that I refer to her as Kiddo, or say “my daughter,” when she uses her girl-child’s name all the time. (It wasn’t a conscious decision on my part, but since she asked I’ve realized I did it a lot.) I told her and added that she’d named herself, that I hadn’t named her after myself. (Not sure why I always feel the need to add that, but that’s a tangent for another day.)
My co-worker asked what her name had been before. I gave my standard answer, “She had a boy’s name.” And then my co-worker shocked me. She asked, “Was she born a boy?”
I’ve been saying this for ten years now—almost the exact same lines, to dozens of people—but she was the first one who asked what gender my daughter was assigned at birth.
My response? “We thought so.”
And then this lovely woman nodded matter-of-factly, and went back to the subject we’d been discussing. I can’t remember what that subject was… it was a little while ago and my brain is old.
I tend to leave things “off the page” when I’m writing, but I don’t want to do that here. This rocked my world because for the first time ever, I revealed my daughter is trans and the person sitting across the table didn’t expect it to become a teaching moment. My co-worker didn’t make a face, she didn’t make a judgment, she accepted the fact as though she heard it every day.
I could go on and on, but I won’t. I will say one more thing, though. I don’t mind being a teacher, I’m not shy about fielding questions on gender and sexuality. I’ve been doing it since the 1980s, and once in a while even say something that opens a mind or heart. But sometimes I just need to be accepted. Nobody could be more surprised about that than I am. Nobody could be more grateful.