All the trans news that fits! (and some that never will)
Two days ago, someone I have known for decades called to wish me a happy 60th birthday. I waited until the day after my birthday to listen to the message. I hadn’t heard from this person for quite some time, and I wanted to make sure I wasn’t interrupted.
Today, before I had the chance to listen to the message, a friend from Saudi Arabia visited me. His two-year-old son in his arms, my friend – the proud “papa” – was all smiles and he handed me a large pink and blue bag with a box of Middle Eastern sweet pastries inside.
Tomorrow, he and his family will travel home to Saudi Arabia to visit their parents for the first time in several years. He told me his wife is going to buy me a hijab. I told him I hope it is green because that is a good color for my reddened skin.
The morning before my birthday, my friend’s wife told me, “You look so beautiful today!” I told her I was going to an important meeting in Ann Arbor later that evening to discuss transgender rights in Michigan and whether or not our rights should be voted on by the public.
“You are a brave woman,” she said.
After my friend left, I set the bag on the dining table and sat in a chair across the room to listen to the message on my phone: “Hi, Chuck . . . .”
“Chuck” is not my name.
My name is Char, but the person whose voice message I waited two days before listening to had dead-named me, just like they have been doing since I transitioned. I have repeatedly reminded this person to not dead-name me, but they insist on doing it anyway. For those of you who don’t already know this, dead-naming is when someone refers to a transgender person by the name they had before transitioning.
Sometimes, I dream that I am dead, and at the funeral, and on my headstone and in my obituary, I am repeatedly dead-named.
I pulled the phone away from my ear and set the phone on the arm of the chair and let the 40-second message play itself out. As it did, I walked across the room to where the bag was. The small voice from the tiny speaker of the phone grew quieter and smaller until I couldn’t hear it anymore.
On the sides of the bag in big colorful block letters between the cartoon flowers and butterflies, was the phrase, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY GIRL.”
I deleted the phone message.
The sweet pastries my friend from Saudi Arabia gave me are delicious.
I am not invisible, today.