Friday, December 24, 2010

Pam's Interesting Holiday Season

TransGriot Note: Y'all asked for her, and here she is again, author Pamela Hayes

I've been super busy lately.  I baked several batches of cookies--chocolate chip, peanut butter, shortbreads, butter cookies, Heath bar crunch, sugar cookies, which I sprinkled with red and green sugar. After they cooled, I lined several canisters with parchment paper and filled Christmas-themed paper muffin cups with four cookies each. Each canister contains three tiers of cookies.

I give them out to select neighbors, elderly people, a gay couple who last year gave me a pair of diamond hoop earrings (wow) and some folks in my age group.

Look, don’t go thinking I’m materialistic, because I’m not, but I enjoy receiving gifts and recently, I cleaned up at the dialysis center, where I‘m a patient. Nate gave me Beyonce’s perfume gift set. His mother is a patient and sometimes his work schedule precludes him from picking her up. And he doesn’t like her using medical transportation, so I give her rides home. Sometimes, she has dinner with us.

Also, I received gift cards to restaurants, supermarkets and department stores. Miss Branch, another patient, a healthy-looking septuagenarian baked me a sweet potato pie. “I ain’t got no money to buy you nothin‘,” she said. “But you’re such a sweet lady. I said, ’I got to do something for her.’ So, I made you a potato pie.”

Not sweet potato pie, mind you, but potato pie. “Thank you, Miss Branch. I really appreciate it,” I said honestly.

“You welcome, baby. You and your family have a Merry Christmas.” We hugged and she gave me a kiss on the cheek. She’s going out of town for the holidays. “Have a safe trip,” I said.

Also, because of my presence on the Internet, namely Black Planet and Face Book, I believe I’m losing a friend of over twenty years. We’ll call her Diana. Well, Diana is trans. Years ago, she and I met in a gay bar and I was like a role model for her. We had long conversations about being a transsexual, respecting yourself and achieving a good life as a female.

Diana is twelve years younger than I am and her husband is a wildly successful medical specialist. She and I would go to lunch; go shopping. She’s 5’11 and many times, we took trips to a city, seventy five miles away and shopped for tall clothes. Sometimes, we’d buy one another outfits.

She has severed all ties with her family. She lives in the same town as her parents, siblings and other family members and she shuns them all. She said they treated her horrendously when she was young, that they did not accept her new persona. She said they refer to her by her old name and use inappropriate pronouns and intentionally try to embarrass her. So, she wants nothing to do with them.

I’m beginning to think she feels the same about me because I mentioned my gender status online. She told me that she is against me going online and discussing my trans status. Because of my online presence, the staff at my favorite supermarket knows that I’m trans. Diana is not on board with it. “I can’t believe what you’ve done,” she exclaimed. “Girl, you look authentic. You sound female. Those people knew nothing about you and then you put it out there like that.” She shook her head.

I sighed. “I seriously doubt if everybody in that store thought I was female without question. Somebody thought something, I’m sure.”

“Yeah, but thinking something and knowing it for a fact are two different things. You’ve confirmed it. Girl, as crazy as people are, somebody might kill you because of that stuff you posted online.”

I suggested that we brave the Christmas rush and go to Colonial Williamsburg tomorrow and have an early lunch in one of the restaurants with fireplaces. She pooh-poohed the suggestion and bluntly said that she had to chill with me. Ouch!

She and I go back a long ways. We spent many afternoons together, eating, gabbing and watching the soaps, when they were enjoyable. So, I don’t want to lose her friendship, but I’m beginning to wonder just how much of a friend she is if she’s prepared to wash her hands of me because I simply chose to be open about who I am.

I vehemently deny ever living in stealth, but being upfront about who I am has been extraordinarily liberating. My husband is supportive and when he and I were dating, he told his parents and siblings, right out of the gate, that I was a transsexual. In the beginning, his parents found it unsettling. I remember his mother would send Christmas cards and address them to just him. He told her that I was his wife and he wanted her to address the cards to Mr. and Mrs.

My husband told me to forget Diana, that because I’m online, she feels by making public appearances with me, that her stealth status is compromised. “Her friendship has conditions,” he said.

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