today my lovely daughter got to play with her cousins over at my mother’s house, a rare enough treat between the busy schedules and the only once a week visits that my mom has “the kids”. (her great-grandchildren). it is always fun for ziona to play with lexi and mikey. i cared for both these kids in our home for a couple of years while their mom, my niece, was struggling with expenditures after her divorce.
today was a rather rainy day and so they all played indoors. a million different kinds of toys littered my mom’s living room floor by the time we arrived. there were big dolls and barbie dolls in various degrees of disrobe, there were toy trucks and stuffed animal toys, parts of games and puzzles strewn about, in short, a regal mess.
my youngest sister, patsy, was also there. she was one of the siblings that was having trouble seeing her way clear to speak to me, largely because of the way i support ziona, allowing her to be the girl she is. my mother had cautioned me before NOT to try to broach the subject with her, she warned that no amount of information about transgender issues would be appreciated by patsy. that was weeks ago, and my sister and i have had a couple of ‘sharing space’ moments since then. mostly because since her divorce she is staying at mom’s and i go there often enough that it seemed logistically silly to try to absent herself from there on the occasions of my visits.
there has never been a feeling of animosity in my heart toward patsy. not even when i learned that one of the calls to the children’s protective services had been hers. so it wasn’t difficult in the slightest for me to habit the same environs as her, and strike up conversations. my mother’s warning wasn’t the reason for not bringing up the subject of transgender with my sister. it’s just that for ziona and i, her being a girl and my support for her are as natural as her blue eyes or my wrinkles and grey hair…we don’t feel compelled to go on and on about the natural stuff.
so my point is that my sister quietly accepts the situation, and is not these days so inclined to let it interfere with our conversations and time in one another’s company.
after all, there are many other things we share in common that we can speak about. she’s an intelligent woman, so am i. we both have lupus so there’s that. and tho i’m not into sports like she and my mom are, i know my way around the lingo and can participate in the excitement of an interception leading to a touchdown, with the best of sports fans.
my mother doesn’t like to think about the transgender stuff either. and i don’t feel inclined to bring up subjects merely for the purpose of controversy. so altho we are able to occupy the same general space and time, there is a rather large two-tonne elephant in the room, (a pink one) that everyone is content to ignore.
i’m am so grateful that this is the case. that my mom, my younger sister, the cousins, my brother thom and the folk who live next door to us have seen fit to ignore the thing that they aren’t prepared to understand. isn’t that strange?
the alternative to quiet acceptance is often ostracism. many families can’t bear to overlook that elephant and won’t embrace it. they disown their members, judge or outright condemn. many people have lost whole cadres of lifelong friends when they’ve come out as transgender, after transitioning, or just for supporting someone’s self-definition and self-determination. when it comes to this issue there is seldom a middle ground.
but when there is a middle ground, it looks just like our situation. we aren’t supported exactly in the ‘path’ we are on, but we haven’t been ‘outcast’ either. we maintain our relationships, albeit with caveats, and no one seems to mind the elephant in the room. and that is okay by me.