This series features first person narratives about personal LGBT-related issues and experiences.
LGBT Perspectives columnist
OTTAWA — haven’t been writing too much lately, partly because I spent five days in St. John’s, Newfoundland, at my Engineering class’s 25th anniversary reunion.
I was slightly nervous about the reunion: My class was overwhelmingly male, and the Memorial University engineering students have a reputation for being hard drinkers and hard partiers. I wasn’t sure how they’d react to me. Although pretty much everyone knew about me because of the reunion Facebook page, meeting a transsexual in person is not something most people have experienced.
As it turned out, the reunion was an absolutely wonderful experience. Even the first day I arrived was amazing; it was (relatively) warm and sunny and I reacquainted myself with the natural beauty of St. John’s, driving up Signal Hill and then hiking the trails there for about 45 minutes.
The next day was the first reunion event — a meet-and-greet at the Engineering building followed by a party. Everyone was extremely welcoming
and I heard many comments about courage and bravery. I certainly don’t view my transition as either courageous or brave; to me it was simply a medical necessity.
And one of my former classmates who seemed to have quite a few drinks in him even at the start of the evening saw me and his jaw dropped. “Holy
crap, Dianne, you look great! I’m gonna be hitting on you all night!”
The four other female graduates who showed up unhesitatingly adopted me into their group, making me one of the girls of the class of ’90. And the non-Engineering friends I visited were uniformly welcoming and gracious also.
All of this leads me to wonder: Where are all the trolls? Why no negative or snide comments? Am I just extremely lucky or are people that much nicer in person than in anonymous Internet comments?
Either way, this was a wonderful and affirming experience for me and I feel immense gratitude toward my classmates.