It is incredibly rare that any transsexual ever gets to keep
the love and friendship of anyone from their pre-transition past.
However, occasionally this does happen, and your author is one
such fortunate. My spouse Stephen was my friend in high school,
and knew me before my transition. Amazingly, he has remained part
of my life to this day. Here is the essay of this noble man
on what his experiences have been, in dealing with a
transsexual woman over the years.
A rare treat, the voice of someone who is greater than bigotry or narrowness...
Know a Transsexual
It has been over twenty years since that encounter in the arcade, where I rounded a video machine and bumped into Jennifer. Jennifer garbed in a dress and most definitely not looking like what I last remembered her. You see, I knew Jennifer before her transition. We met in high school, neither of us can remember exactly when. We became very close friends very quickly and, as far as we can tell, our friendship was of the kind that always has been which might explain why we cant remember the first time we met.
During that time at school, I always knew Jennifer-before-she-was-Jennifer was... well... weird. Okay, lets face it, all of us in the Science Fiction Society were weird. But before-Jennifer was just that little bit more out there than the rest. Willing to fight for what she wanted. I remember a time when she and I went to a science fiction convention up north of where we lived. She had brought along a number of paintings because there was to be an auction held there for fan artwork. Well, it rained. Since the auction was to be held outdoors, the auction was cancelled. Before-Jennifer tried very hard to organize an impromptu auction just of her stuff, standing in the middle of the exhibition floor and getting all mad that the auction was cancelled and would someone please buy one of her works. Unfortunately, nothing came of that but it is indicative of the kind of spirit she exhibited even back then.
Before-Jennifer was a year ahead of me in school and when she graduated, she went off to college and we drifted apart. The last I saw of Jennifer in her former role was at a D&D party all of us held after school let out for the year.
About a year, year and a half after that D&D party, some friends and I were at the local video arcade, something we did every weekend. This weekend was no different than any other, warm day outside, air conditioning and the latest video machines inside. I was looking for the newest machine when I encountered Jennifer as Jennifer.
I was startled, to say the least. Here was someone I had known for almost five years as a male now looking thoroughly female. However, I really wasnt surprised for some reason, which could be considered unusual considering that the term transsexual was just another rarely used word in my vocabulary. I had no idea what it truly meant. Boy, did I get an education after that!
We exchanged phone numbers and I tried to keep in touch. She was seemingly reluctant at that time (I found out only later her hesitation was largely due to her imminent surgery and her fear of what her former friends would think of her) but she agreed to keep in touch as well. So I phoned her and eventually visited her several times in her one room apartment in the city. Thats when I found out she liked to be hugged. Anyway, she then dropped out of sight rather suddenly and I lost track of her. About a year after that, I stopped in at a McDonalds for lunch and there she was, behind the counter! She had moved and found a new home (I had no idea of the trauma she had undergone with her father since we last met). I tried to call her a few weeks later but I couldnt reach her. I went back to that McDonalds and found she had stopped working there some time ago. Once again, I had lost track of her.
I told myself that we were destined to meet again and not to worry. Lo and behold, less than a year later, in another video arcade quite a long ways from the first arcade, I ran into her again. That was 16 years ago and we have been together ever since.
As I said before, transsexual was just a word with no real meaning behind it. It was a label, like tennis player. Jennifer did her best to explain what it was she was going through, getting rather clinical about it at times but I learned. I wasnt shocked or horrified. I found it intriguing that such a condition could exist and that there were ways for it to be treated, drastic though they may sound. I have learned many things about transsexualism in the years I have known Jennifer. One of the trickiest things, for me, was getting the pronouns right. It took me over a year to stop thinking in terms of him and he and use her and she. Not because I wanted her be the way she was back in school, but because I had spent more than five years thinking of her in that other role. Pure habit. However, it still took me many years after that to look on Jennifer as a sexually attractive partner, but thats another story about my own hang-ups which I wont go into here.
Through Jennifer, I was shown a whole new world, the world of the transsexual. I met a fair number of transsexuals, most struggling to make their lives work in their new (and proper) role, each with varying degrees of success. They worked to make ends meet and dreamed dreams of success or happiness. Some of them even achieved those dreams to some degree. Others were too damaged emotionally to ever rise above the trials and tribulations of everyday life.
The single greatest lesson I learned was that transsexuals are people. Just humans with a genetic condition that caused the right brain type to be matched with the wrong body. Just because they have taken corrective actions doesnt make them any less human. They still have feelings and emotions. They still want to be loved, have relationships, have families of one form or another. Theyss jus folks.
Stephen P. Lepisto
President of Accursed Toys, Inc. (http://atoys.com/)