Today my blog is a pulpit from which I am unpacking some tightly wound thoughts that have been kicking around my brain for some time.
I'd been wanting to go to CCC Camp later this year in the middle of August. CCC Camp is a hacker camp in the countryside of Berlin where fascinating people come together to solve even more fascinating problems.
I won't be going this year because I'm compelled to attend my dad's wedding to my stepmom. Compelled, but not particurally excited about it.
Under most circumstances, I should be delighted to be a part of this. I have an opportunity to get gussied up, see people I haven't seen since moving out West, be on vacation, and spend a bit of time in Akron.
Currently I am not looking forward to this in the least bit. I've been openly trans for about three years at this point. Open to my family for about one and a half. Coming out to them was fairly amusing. My partner at the time, X, came with me to a restaurant in Cleveland where Dad and Mom met us. There I explained to them whats going on, what I'm thinking, and explained how this will unfold in the next few years:
They didn't seem too bothered by it. Next came telling the rest of the family which happened during a BBQ a few days later. Prior to more family showing up, Dad and I had a conversation:
D: So, I told your grandpa about it. T: ...oh? D: He's fine. But he's getting married and we're all pretty pissed about it.
Only child comes out as trans? Cool, fine, whatever. No big deal we still love you etc etc.
Secret weddings when you're 80 years old? We need to draw the line somewhere.
I found it thoroughly amusing and it put me at ease for a long while.
Since then however this relationship has gone steadily downhill. I was still living in Akron at the time. My parents were a 90 minute drive by car. Visiting them wasn't too much a hassle though I am unable to fathom why I was not given the same courtesy. In my 7 years of living in Akron, I was visited by them maybe twice.
The times I would visit, some of the family got things right. Most mistakes were immediately corrected and I just accepted it knowing that I promised to not let it upset me for another year. By the end of the year most of my family knew me as the girl Torrie.
Of course there were exceptions.
My grandparents have never adapted. They continue to refer to me by my old identity and refuse to accept me for who I am. The one time I went to Dad about this got me to realize how little I'm respected:
- T: So, why does grandpa still do this? I thought you said you were
- supportive of me and would make sure this didn't happen?
- D: Well, he's old. Its hard on everyone. You were T for so long and now
- you're Torrie. I wish you'd be more understanding about how hard it is.
A few days after that I left for the west coast; I was happy to leave that discussion behind.
Now, having been living out here for almost a full year, I'm revisited by the same specrtre. An angry shouting match over telephone. Family trying to defend their behaviors with "its hard", "you have no right to be upset", "think of how hard it is for us", etc.
At the end of 2014, Cleveland transwoman Leelah Alicorn committed suicide. Her reason was constant bullying and isolation doled out by her parents through refusing to accept her identity.
"We don't support that, religiously," Alcorn's mother told CNN on Wednesday, her voice breaking. "But we told him that we loved him unconditionally. We loved him no matter what. I loved my son. People need to know that I loved him. He was a good kid, a good boy."
My parents don't try to use religion to justify things. They are, however, unable to accept who I am.
I'm very privileged in the sense that I'm able to move across the country on a whim, land in the bay area without a plan, and end up making $135k/yr working with a small team of cryptocurrency hackers. At the same time, I can empathize with Leelah. I now understand what its like to be mistreated by the people who raised me and loved me unconditionally. I don't respect them any more than they respect me.
I'd love to not go to this wedding. I know that if I go, I'll be disrespected again and again by people telling me how much they love me. For the sake of my own peace of mind, I shouldn't go.
And yet, here I am. Looking at dresses for a wedding I'm not welcome at and I don't want to go to.
I'm stronger than this. I'll get through it. In the grand scheme of things, whatever I can't change doesn't matter to me. Pouring energy into it is a fruitless endeavor.