We are on Christmas Day countdown in which we are out and about trying to get those last minute presents, prepare meals for Christmas dinners, or wondering what gifts are under the Christmas tree for us.
If there is one gift I'd love to have for the 2014 holiday season, it is to be reunited with my trans feminine cousin that I'll call Janet for the purposes of this post.
We lived in the newly developing (and segregated) Crestmont Plaza
subdivision while my cousin Janet and her brother lived in a South Park
whose demographics were rapidly changing due to rapid white flight from
it. Janet and her brother were also one of the few local Roberts cousins I was aware of and grew up with in early childhood.
Besides the trans issue, we are similar in a lot of ways. In addition to her sharing my last name and us being roughly the same age, we are both the firstborn kids of our respective families. My brother and I attended their birthday parties and got to see and play with them on a regular basis until we lost contact with them after their parents divorced in the early 70's.
While from time to time I wondered what was going on in their lives, it began to pale in comparison with me try to navigate growing up transfeminine in 1970's Houston and she and her brother faded from my memory for a while.
That changed one day when I was in my high school health class during my junior year at JJ in 1978. A cisfeminine .sophomore student who had gone to Johnston Jr. High with my cousin asked me in front of the entire class if Janet (and used her old male name while doing so) was my cousin. When I replied yes, she called her the f-word that rhymes with maggot, and I swiftly chewed her ass out for disrespecting my cousin and moi.
I also sarcastically said to the messy cis female when I finished calling her out it bothered her because she was probably attracted to my cuz. We rolled our eyes at each other and moved on.
That was my first clue that something was going on with Janet. I wouldn't get another one until I took a non-rev trip to California in 1992 and ended up visiting the home of Janet's father while accompanied by a then close cisfeminine cousin of mine who was living in Cali at the time.
While we were visiting his expansive house, I noted the pics of his two sons on the wall of his study, but none of Janet. Since I was seriously contemplating getting my own transition party started at the time, I silently sat there and wondered if that was going to be my fate with my own family.
Two years later I was on the verge of beginning my own transition, and sat my parents down in the living room of our home to inform them of my intentions to do so. In their attempt to dissuade me from transitioning, they mentioned the existence of Janet and alluded to how challenging her life was. When I heard I had a trans cousin, all I felt at the time for my parents was anger for keeping that information from me and tuned them out.
The trans historian part of me really wants to know how her life has turned out, especially since she had the guts to transition in the more challenging 1970s and 1980's.
And yes, because she's my blood family and also trans, if Janet is still alive, I want to get reacquainted with her because we are both trans and have a lot of catching up to do.
So if you happen to be reading this Janet, get in touch with your cousin. It's been way too long since we saw and talked to each other, and I'd love to have lunch with you as a starting point especially if you're still living in H-town..
And I hope and pray that Christmas wish is granted..