I sit alone at home today and no, I won’t be invited anywhere. I do have friends but they are all away for the holiday or live far enough away that going to their homes was not practical this year. But this doesn’t upset me.
My daughter and her family are visiting elsewhere, or they’d likely have me over. My sons? No, of course not. I am a pariah to them.
And yet today I am amused. I wonder how I could have raised such a gracious and loving daughter yet have raised such vindictive and hateful sons. But friends have reminded me that neither of them grew up that way. One, who was a long time friend of my eldest son, and simply let that friendship slide away, and did so because he watched my son go from being an open-minded, accepting person early in college, to the close-minded, spiteful, angry creature he’s become today after he married into a rigid Southern Baptist clan. So I take solace in the fact that no, I didn’t do that. They did.
My daughter did have me over for dinner the night before last. She wanted to do something for me before she and her family went to visit in-laws for Thanksgiving. It was a wonderful dinner and I got to chat with her, enjoy her hot-lemon-honey-cinnamon drink that she’s created from the lemons from the tree in her backyard, and chat with my eldest granddaughter.
But then I had to excuse myself and went outside and cried. She came out and consoled me, hugged me, and just stood with me. You see, my eldest son is playing a game. He’s threatening to cut off contact with my daughter and my daughter’s children if she lets her children know about my transition. Since my granddaughter by my daughter and my granddaughter by my eldest son are just one year apart, they are close friends. Thus, she’s having to make a choice. And right now she wants to protect that childhood relationship between her daughter and his daughter, which I understand. She doesn’t like this and she has promised that it won’t stay this way, but this is what she’ll have to do soon and for the immediate future. It’s not right now but it’s coming, as I move further along with my transition and things become more and more obvious.
As I told her, this is not an act of love. It’s an act of raw hatred, anger, power. An opportunity for my son to further split our family against me, or at least he believes so. We discussed my eldest son’s wife, a woman who has been jealous of me for years because of the close relationship I once had with my eldest son. She’s done everything she can to break that up and this was the ultimate chance – cut off that competition. And now that she’s done so? She hardly includes my son in anything other than to just let him babysit their two girls. And her? She’s off running with her friends, or visiting her side of the family. She’s ignored my daughter and not been friendly or open to her either.
I had my cry. I was consoled. And I got over it. Today I’m writing about it and I am sadly amused. Sad for obvious reasons but amused because my son’s close-mindedness would deny his daughters a loving grandparent solely for his “superior moral view”.
Let me relay a story about the reality of my son’s hatred. I’ve seen my older granddaughter by my son just once in the last 16 months. It was last spring, the spring of 2013. We had gone to Denny’s for Sunday breakfast because we enjoy Denny’s pancakes, french toast, etc. And it was busy, as usual on a Sunday morning so we were waiting in the lobby. And who walked up to the cash register? My eldest son, who looked at me, grunted a hello then turned to the cashier. Right behind him, I heard a squeal. “Grandpa!” She ran to me and hugged me, saying, “I miss you so much. I love you.” I smiled down at her and replied, “I miss you too, honey. I love you.” And at that moment, her mother snatched her by the collar, dragging her out the door, with everyone staring and my granddaughter having this frightened, hurt look on her face as she was dragged away from me.
That is the reality of my life. That is the reality of my eldest son and his open bigotry, all in the name of Southern Baptist fundamentalist evangelical hatred. So those who wonder why I take a dim view of fundamentalist Christians, this is why. When you and yours openly scorn me, do not expect me to embrace your bigotry. Tolerance does not mean accepting someone else’s bigotry. That is not an act of Christ. That is an act of a Pharisee.
Thus I sit home alone today, debating what to make for myself for Thanksgiving. I have a few ideas and we’ll see what I decide. And I do give thanks, for my daughter, for my close friends, for my siblings, and for my transgender friends, all of whom have stood beside me.
Finally, just for further reading and viewing about trans experiences, here are two links. Neither is what I would call a perfect instance of journalism. The Rolling Stone piece is laced with binary gender assumptions despite its attempt to be generally positive but they do document different aspects of life as a trans person. The video is one trans person’s experience and is valid for her but each of us is unique and though we share so much, we also walk different paths in certain respects.
Enjoy and may each of you have a happy Thanksgiving and joyous Hanukkah.