I have gone through the course of this semester trying my hardest to find things to talk about for these blogs. This week however, the only thing I can think of is the some of the issues I am currently facing a queer trans* man of color. There are few things worse than false hope. For the past few months, in terms of my family, this is what I’ve gotten. For those of you who are less familiar with my family background/my own background, I came out to my family as a trans* man in October of 2010. Since then, it has been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to navigate.
My parents cut me off financially as a result of their transphobia, ignorance, and religious beliefs that were more important than their son. I spent an entire year of my life homeless, working upwards of 30 hours a week, and taking a full load of classes. I couch surfaced, cried a lot, and spent a great deal of my time hungry. After realizing the strain this put on our relationship, a year later, my parents decided to reach out to me. We briefly reconciled, but that didn’t mean they understood anything, were trying to, or were about to start using my pronouns.
So they purposely misgendered me up until Christmas when my parents saw me completely break down emotionally and cry in a room full of “family” (my step dad’s family) who misgendered me. When my mom saw this, she asked me why I didn’t just tell them that I was trans*. I remember saying, “you’re my parents...if you don’t accept me and you won’t use my pronouns, how can I expect anyone else to?”. It took all of that for my parents just to get that maybe they should call me Joey and use my pronouns. But things started getting better. Or so I thought.
This past weekend, I went to visit them and my mom told my partner while I was in a separate room that she thought being transgender was a choice. That she hated how I was “hurting” my body. She said she disapproved of my sexual relationship with my partner. To be honest, I can’t remember the rest of what she said. But it’s enough for me to get the point. She doesn’t get it. And she never will. I’ve basically given up talking with my parents about it and my life. I’m tired of fighting to validate every fucking facet of my identity. If I get up and say I’m trans* I have to explain it. I have to educate every person around me about it. I have to listen to cisgender people talk about MY experience and the experience of my trans* siblings. If I call someone out on their racism. I have to PROVE it. I have to prove myself all the time and I am fucking done.
It’s become clear that my parents are no longer my family. We just happen to be related. I’m lucky though, because I have an amazing created family full of queer friends and allies who really understand me, support me, and stand by me. But even that doesn’t help to get rid of the sting of being rejected by the people who you were taught from birth were supposed to stand by you no matter what. But, it’ll be okay. Someday, I will graduate. I will get married. I will have my own family. And we will all be happier than I ever thought possible.