Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Be an Ally and a Friend

On November 28, 1998, Rita Hester was murdered not far from where Amazing Guy and I were living at the time. One evening she met a man (at a bar if I recall correctly) and brought him home. Upon realizing she was transgendered, he killed her. The local paper was taken to task for blaming her for being murdered, as if somehow she had "tricked" him and his reaction was "justified".

Earlier that year we went on a long weekend get-away with relatively new friends. They were a wonderful couple - incredibly smart, real foodies and very worldly. We loved spending time with them and envisioned a long friendship.

Sometime that summer he called us and asked to talk to Amazing Guy first. I knew it was quite a conversation because I had never heard AG sound like he did on the phone. Eventually he handed the phone to me.

Our friend started with "I have something I want to share with you."

To which I happily yelled "you're expecting!!"

He then went on to apologize for not telling us in person. I then started hearing about how he had been born in the wrong body and he had sex realignment surgery several years earlier. He mentioned medical terminology. He used the letters "F to M".

Sitting on our sofa in our apartment, holding the phone, I heard him ask me if I had any questions.

"So, you were born a girl but now you are a man?" I asked.


"Oh, well you were a guy when I met you so you are still a guy to me."

Both in memory of Ms. Hester, and in honor of our friend, please watch this short PSA from GLAAD. November 28th is Transgendered Day of Remembrance. [And a big thanks to Jami - a new friend who I feel like I've known for a long time - for posting about this]

And don't get all judgemental. You know someone who is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered. And Jack from Will and Grace doesn't count. You owe it to yourself, your community and most importantly the children in your life (the ones you birthed and/or just know) to be a friend and ally.

Being alone is really hard. Knowing someone is out there who won't judge you can be a lifesaver.

So be a friend and an ally. Regardless of your faith or beliefs. Because your higher power, regardless of what you call that power, values all life - and the well-being of all those lives.

I am honored to be a friend - and an ally.


Flower Child said...

Well, you know I'm on board. As if I even know which of my friends is gay.

Phil said...

This is the way to change the world.


Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Great post. And I'd seen the PSA on Jami's blog.

Wholly Burble said...

I remember the first transgender person I counselled--I have to say, I had little idea until he shared his history with me. And the medical complications in his case were rather staggering. This was back in the early 90's--and he was truly "alone". He felt he could tell no one, and had moved far away from any family or previous associations, just to keep his secret--quite a price to pay.

painted maypole said...

great post.

i will admit, though I have worked a lot fighting for justice for GLBTQ rights, etc, that the transgendered thing is the one that trips me up - I don't understand it, really. But what I've learned is that I don't have to UNDERSTAND it (and maybe some day I will) I just have to accept it, and those who are.

Heather said...

I think what you said to your friend was very cool.

Brillig said...

I remember that when Matt came out, every single family member and almost every single friend abandoned him, as though he'd suddenly become a different person. I was so heartbroken for him--I'd never SEEN such LONELINESS!

Great post, babe. I too love your response on the phone to your friend. Excellent.

Jenn in Holland said...

Oh, I took chills with this one Allison. Just an absolutely lovely sentiment, and an absolutely necessary something to say.
I adore you. You and your very big heart.

Jami said...

Thank you SO much for this, sweetie! You know how much it means to me ... and everyone else who isn't quite "normal".

Aimee Greeblemonkey said...

Awesome awesome awesome post.

Alex Elliot said...

Wonderful post! Thank you so much for writing this.

SuzanneSays... said...

Excellent post. Excellent response to your friend. Excellent way to be the change you want to see in the world.

Jerseygirl89 said...

What a great post. Thank you for spreading the seeds of tolerance. And have I ever told you how much I love the "Fag Hag Hiding in the Suburbs" alternative title? I wish I had thought of it. :)