First Person: On such a winter’s day

800px-Snow_falling_over_Botley_(2391203561)In From the Cold – a Brief Outing

Brettany Renée Blatchley
LGBT Perspectives columnist

ASHEVILLE, North Carolina — It is snowing in Asheville tonight (January 2015) and the convenience store has what I need. This store is special: it has seen me transition over the last six years …

… My turn, the sole customer: I put a few goodies on the counter, and smiled at the “new” clerk — she has seen me over the course of several weeks as I frequently shop here … then for some reason, I sweetly told her that I was shopping for my spouse, Judi, who was staying-up all night to watch the snow. Her eyes grew wide: she suddenly connected “Judi” and “spouse” and me together…

… I casually told her that Judi and I were into our 25th year of marriage, and that we had married when I lived as a man …

Surely she knew I was trans, didn’t she? Maybe I was testing her; maybe testing myself? I assume people can “tell,” yet so much of the time, it seems they cannot. What is *really* happening? Does it *really* matter?

… Then time seemed to stop as her face formed a question: *how* had we managed *so long* and with *this* challenge? With the gentle voice of a woman I answered, and she then mentioned she had a friend: *He* wants to go somewhere in Asia to change *his* bits. This led into a wonderful bit of Trans 101, and as we finished, she, too, was using female pronouns for her friend …

… I left my contact information for them both, and after my name, I wrote “a woman of transgender experience.” Cheerfully saying “goodbye,” I asked her what she thought about me, and with a genuine smile she replied: “I always thought you were a natural woman.”

Then time resumed, we both realized that a line of people had formed, men and women, and they were smiling nicely, as-if with us: I don’t know how long they had been listening to me share, a transgender woman claiming her *full* identity, openly, cheerfully, with feminine self-assurance, comfortable in her skin. Yes, this is *normal*; this is *human* … some people change their sex and *become* themselves!

(Photo: Wikimedia commons)

  • This series features first person narratives about personal LGBT-related issues and experiences.

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