Just When I Thought It Was Safe to Exist-Mila Madison-The Weekly Rant-Transgender Universe-When an unlikely event forces you to come out as transgender to all the people you haven’t told yet all at once in “The Weekly Rant” with Mila Madison.

Just when I thought it was safe to simply exist as my true self, it happens. As a transgender woman, I thought I had reached a point in my transition where I had pretty much come out to everyone I needed to. I came out to my immediate family, friends, co-workers, my in-laws, and even some old acquaintances. I thought I had all the bases covered. I had the difficult conversations. I dealt with the surprises and the losses. My old existence was fading in my mind, at least as much as it could for someone who is transgender. Yes there were people I knew and distant family members who probably didn’t know about me yet, but these are the kind of people you only see at a wedding or a family reunion. Luckily for me, there were no weddings or anything of the sort on the horizon. I am sure they would have eventually found out one way or another. I had plenty of time to deal with it, or so I thought.

So what would happen if all of a sudden I was faced with seeing all these people who did not know about me being transgender all at the same time? You know the distant cousins, your parent’s friends, your grandmother’s friends, the old aunt you haven’t seen in a decade? What if there was a reason that brought them all together in one place, with little or no time to figure out how to deal with it all? It is something I was not prepared for, and now it is something I have to face with the passing of my grandmother.

“Not only am I now dealing with this devastating loss, but I am also faced with seeing all these people who may or may not know about me being transgender.”

My grandmother was simply awesome. She was totally accepting of me. She was also best in the family when it came to my name and pronouns. My grandmother loved me without condition, and she made sure I knew it. I want nothing more than to be able to honor her life and the person she was. The last thing I want is to be a distraction during a time that is meant to be a tribute to her life. Not only am I now dealing with this devastating loss, but I am also faced with seeing all these people who may or may not know about me being transgender.

Just When I Thought It Was Safe to Exist-The Weekly Rant-Transgender Universe-When an unlikely event forces you to come out as transgender to all the people you haven’t told yet all at once in “The Weekly Rant” with Mila Madison.

I am already dealing with an Uncle who denies my very existence and has a plethora of negative things to say about me. I have been passed over when it comes to speaking or being involved in any part of the ceremony. This is in spite of the fact that I have more experience in doing so than everyone who will be there combined. At least they asked my daughter, but it would have been nice if they ran it by me first. At least my wife had the courtesy to ask me how I felt about old pictures of me in my former existence being on display. Yes the whole thing is complicated. But here we go, I am already thinking about me and I shouldn’t be.

“I will not apologize for it or compromise myself to make others feel more comfortable. Not anymore.”

I realize I have to put these fears and concerns I have away. I have come too far to even think about appeasing anyone. I won’t scale back my appearance. I won’t go “andro” for the sake of making anyone comfortable. I may get some strange looks. Some people will not even recognize who I am. There will be some difficult conversations to be had. I will have to deal with being called the wrong name and being misgendered I am sure, but I will politely not tolerate it. This is who I am, and I will not apologize for it or compromise myself to make others feel more comfortable. Not anymore.

This is yet another in a long line of things transgender people have to deal with that most other people never have to think about. Most people don’t have to come out as anything to anyone. They can simply just exist. Though I wish I could simply just exist in this situation, it is not an option. My mother will be asked where her “son” is and my brother will be asked where his “brother” is. My wife may even be asked where her “husband” is. I feel bad that they are in this situation. I feel bad that it is unavoidable that my very existence will be a distraction when we all should be thinking about my grandmother. But I realize this is not my fault. If the world were not so bigoted, no explanation would be necessary. It wouldn’t matter. My gender shouldn’t matter.

In the end, there is a reason that many of the people who I am concerned about aren’t aware of my situation. It is not like I speak to them on a daily or even monthly basis. What I do know is that it is good for everyone involved. I am sure some people will surprise me while others will disappoint. The fact that this may be the first time some of them realize they know someone who is transgender is a good thing. I am tired of being afraid. I am tired of avoiding difficult situations. Though this is not the time and place I would have chosen to be faced with having to deal with this, I will do so. I will do it while keeping my cool and holding my head up high. After all, this is not about me and I will do everything I can to make sure it stays that way without compromising who I am. It is how my grandmother would have wanted me to handle it. What I do know is that I loved my grandmother dearly and I am going to miss her. I will honor her life by being the best person I can, by passing on the lessons she taught me, and loving others without condition, just as she always did.

Read: Just When I Thought It Was Safe to Exist: Part II

  • Nicole

    That sounds so stressful! i can only imagine dealing with that myself. our days of family reunions are long past and all the family that would disapprove are already gone. I hope it went ok for you. hugs

  • Aria Sitaram

    I am very sorry to hear about your loss…sending love and light to you all and your grandmother !

  • Erica Kensho

    I give you credit for even going. I wouldn’t even bother if it was my family.

    • Jens Hudson

      agreed, I wouldn’t cross the street for any on my maternal side

  • Kira Wertz

    I wish my maternal grandmother had survived to see me transition; as a former school teacher I have to believe that any confusion she’d have had would have been tempered by research. Unfortunately she passed, and left my grandfather behind. I wish I could reveal myself to him, but his health is poor and he doesn’t need this stressing him out. So in order to keep him in the dark, much of that side of the family is not in the loop. The ones that know are keeping this situation quiet.
    My concern is that I will not even be able to go to his memorial when he passes. Some in the family will probably say I am insulting his memory by coming as a woman, or distracting from a moment allocated to his memory. The flip side is that failing to come at all could be interpreted as me not loving him. Thankfully I don’t need to make this decision right now, but someday soon I will. Coupled with all that drama, I’m torn about the notion that he’s going to die never knowing who I really was. There is a similar but altogether different situation regarding my father as well. I just want my loved ones to know, and I need to find peace with the fact that they’ll never know.

    • Kandi Dolfen

      I admire your bravery to stick to your guns on this. May I suggest two ideas; go early to the service and pay your respects before others arrive so you deal with your sense of loss; consider wearing a nametag so everyone knows who you really are. Hope it goes well!

  • scrubba

    I find the story most interesting ! My grandmother actually allowed me as a child to express my Girly dreams in her clothes . It was my Mother and Father , who wanted me locked up and a lobotomy on me . It was a Psychiatrist who told them it was a phase I was going through . Well, I dunno if I’ll ever have the final surgery done , but I live as a female full time regardless now

  • My condolences on the loss of your grandmother, who you obviously loved dearly. I had a similar experience when my brother died young and I went to his funeral. Not so much with relatives as they all knew and were completely accepting – but with former works colleagues who were also attending the funeral (I had been sacked because I was transgender) and we had both worked for the same company.
    Hold your head high and be proud of who you are, you have faced obstacles that they could never have overcome, if those with small minds want to make snide remarks then that shows their limited minds in compassion and empathy – and above all remember that you grandmother loved you unconditionally – and nobody can take that away from you xx