Since we moved back into the area, we've been in search of support groups that have trans members. Transsexualism isn't really something you can talk about to just anyone you meet, and even when you can people usually can't relate. First we tried driving an hour to the nearest city, but it was just too inconvenient. Then we realized there's actually a chapter of PFLAG (an LGBT and allies group) just twenty minutes away.
The first meeting we went to (they're monthly) wasn't terribly exciting, but that might have just been because I slept through it. The meetings take place at night, and I forgot to drink caffeine before we left, so by the time announcements were done and it was time to discuss things, I was out in my chair, dozing on my husband's shoulder. I was really annoyed at myself because the people seemed great and the atmosphere safe and friendly. So this time, I went armed with dark chocolate pieces to keep me awake there after drinking the strongest jasmine tea in the house.
It did sort of work, and it was a meeting that was specifically about trans issues with a speaker who had a transman son, so very relevant to us. I mostly didn't zone out, though I ended up pretty whacked out on excess caffeine and sugar. WHY do people meet at night of all times? Thank God the writer's group we go to is in the middle of the day on the weekend...
Well, at least I didn't miss anything this time. I even spoke up at one point because we were talking about the relationship between sexual orientation and gender identity (they are two very distinct and unrelated things, from my point of view) and people were half-convincing themselves that asexuals (who they didn't even know the word for) and androgynous people must be the same. I know multiple asexuals and most of them identify as female so I stood up for them, which everyone, especially this somewhat creepy counselor guy, seemed to be really interested in. It seems weird to me that a roomful of people who deviate from mainstream sexuality/gender wouldn't know that if they exist, surely other variations on the same theme do also. But, I know I have a really different perspective because I know a randomly and accidentally very diverse group of people.
But I thought the best part was as everyone was leaving, because we got to meet and talk to a bunch of people who were really cool and nice and supportive to each other. We met a transman who's in high school who immediately connected with J, J's mom got to talk with another mom for a long time, and I got randomly pounced on by people. The speaker randomly ran over (like, seriously ran) and hugged me for having married a transman because her son had always had a hard time finding a mate. I thought it was sweet, but mystifying, because I honestly can't figure out why I wouldn't be with a transman/J because we're so well-matched emotionally. Then I realized it probably had to do with the fact that I'm not "out" to these people... they don't know about my disability for the most part, and this woman didn't see me asleep last week. Therefore, they don't know that J actually does way more to take care of me than I have to do for him usually. I guess if he was the only "difficult" one lol, it would be harder for most people to stick around. Instead, I probably am harder to live with, through no fault of my own. I'm so grateful to have J that him being trans and all the difficulties that go with it just don't register most of the time.
We also ended up talking to an older transwoman for awhile until J's mom dragged us out because she could see me starting to sway on my feet. We didn't get home until almost 11, and I spent the next 24 hours recovering. I would say I wish the meetings were more frequent, but if they were I would be screwed. Someone should put a meeting during sane hours, just for me.