Monday, May 31, 2010

What are our rights and obligations after we Transition?

This was my answer to a question posed by Laura on her blogg,

Two Auntees said...
"I Love the look of your blog, beautiful. The question, 'Where do we go once we transitioned?" is very hard to answer because there are so many different answers.The idea of just how much we involve ourselves with the gay and transgendered community depends on several factors, our age when we transitioned, our need to be employable, the number of other trans people who we associate with on various levels, or the number of straight neighbor and friends who do or do not know about us. I believe all these factors, or reasons why we are so willing or so reluctant to attach our star to the movement promoting the lgbt issues.

But for me, as someone who transitioned late in life, is retired from several positions where I controlled some of the management responsibility; I am out and involved because it can't hurt me, I don't need to get a job in today's society. At the age of 58 I when I was beginning to transition, the company I worked for closed our store and repair shop where I was working. On the same day I lost my job, I had just made an appointment for my mastectomy; as I had developed breast cancer after taking hormones for 15 months. So I felt that I couldn't start job hunting until I was medically cleared, and because I couldn't actively search for a job with the unemployment office, I couldn't draw unemployment until I was medically cleared to job search.

So I am involved with the lgbt community to advocate and educate and support anyway that I can, because I have nothing to lose as the younger people have. I am married to a wonderful woman and when people look at us they assume we are sisters, as we have the same last name, others think of as the two older, gray hair lesbian who lives on their street. It's just who we are when we talk with college classed on gender issues, telling our lives (that) we are living as a trans woman who is a lesbian and married to a straight woman. Life is fun, so have a ball when you can, and enjoy each other all the time."

In what context are we obligated to speak up for the rights of individuals within the community, I most certainly can't speak for my trans community and I would never presume to know all the answers, but I can speak for myself. I will fight for equality and fairness for all those who are pushed and bullied where ever I see it happening. But my life, is my life of the hows and why, and what happened as I stayed within the community of my transition. I am most certainly not in the larger "public eye", so to speak, but my transition life was not as secret as I thought.

I do not criticize anyone who is younger and must make a career and life for themselves to want to go stealth, to leave their "transness" behind them and move forward as the person they are. It is a lot easier if they have not established a strong work history in their other name, as that might be a red flag for employers to practice "stealth discrimination". We must make our own choices as it relates to our lives. Some people have a lot to lose, I don't really, except for my physical live and heaven forbid we ever become targets of the "haters", but for the 6 years we have lived together we have lived our lives in 'stealth', because see what they want to see, and they see us as the two gray-hair ladies who live together.

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