That’s what the holidays are like to me sometimes. A bunch of small transactions you make sure to have with people to let them know you love them or to catch up or whatever. Those are always going to be the same; a short, random small talk with granddad, five minute pit stop with the kids to ask how their food is, three minutes to tell my aunt how she was so fun when I was a kid – transactions.
On top of those regular transactions, there are now also TRANSactions. Those can be good or bad.
Here is an example of good: we were all sitting in the living and my sister-in-law was talking about something I did and somebody asked her something. She responded and used the appropriate pronoun he when describing me. Now, I would be remiss if I left out the silent cringe that filled the room from a few directions but it’s still better than when they would make faces. I’m not making this up – that used to happen. It gets better little by little. So all in all, that’s a good TRANSaction.
Here is an example of bad: We were all just kind of hanging around after we had eaten and I decided to be a funny guy. I made a joke and out loud my aunt said, “GIRL, you are so crazy!” On one hand you want to be like, oh it happens – it was 36 years of everyone seeing me one way blah blah blah… and you can be that way – up until it becomes apparent that someone is refusing to try. Then you can be a little mad, annoyed even. I’m dealing with someone putting it out there in front of my kids, wife, and other people that are actually trying. This type of thing sucks to me especially at the holidays because if you flip out or say something rude, or say anything, for that matter, depending on what stage you’re in with your people, it could ruin the whole time. I’m not selfish so I sucked it up and recognized it as the bad TRANSaction it was.
There’s a lot of layers to these TRANSactions; way, way more than the regular transactions.
Overall, it wasn’t too bad – I often excuse grandparents because they’re old. I usually either say something, keep it moving or leave. Those are my choices. I say something to my parents more often than anyone else; it’s almost like they owe it to me to do better with this than they did when I came out as gay. Which was also a sham. That’s just what I had to call it at the time.
Some people try to put my name in place of using any pronouns and their (lack of) effort does not go unnoticed – and not just because sometimes their sentences sound weird.
While the holidays were made up of a bunch of different types of transactions and TRANSactions, I made it, I had fun, I laughed, partied and most of all – I was me.
Tips to Get Through Holiday TRANSactions:
- Decide before you go how you want to be treated. If you want to be respected for who you are, respect yourself and be confident. Feel empowered to (nicely) correct people or to remind people when you’re talking to them.
- Determine your breaking point. Ask yourself these questions: What are you willing and not willing to take? How much patience will you have if people aren’t using the correct pronouns or your name? What could happen that would make you lose it?
- Breathe. Before you walk in, take a deep breath and remember, these are people that you love and who love you (I hope).
- Be YOU. Unapologetically. There is only one you. You bring something to the table that nobody else can. Be proud of it and show it off.
- Enjoy the good TRANSactions. Those are the moments that remind you why you’re on this journey. They are the moments when everything feels right because you are you and people see that and respect it.
On a side note, you know what men’s bathrooms are never out of? TOILET PAPER! #score1forTRANSguys