Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Transgender Day of Remembrance, Service

Truth be told, I was thinking of skipping the night out because I was so tired that day, but I expected to see a minister there who knew me and knew about Meg, although she had not met Meg.  I'll tell the story of my coming out to her soon, after I clear out a backlog of going out events and a few other bits of flotsam and jetsam.

We sat down and I saw a few people I recognised (or that Charity helped me recognise).  I said hi to Rev. Emma, the minister from the Metropolitan Community Church that hosted the event in years past.  She remembered me, had even written to me a few days earlier to inform me that the event had moved, and was sweet enough to ask for a hug.

The service was very nice, and surprisingly diverse, with respect to religion: it included:

* two pastors from the MCC,
* ministers from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fairfax, which was the host church,
* a pastor from the United Church of Christ,
* someone (I didn't get her title) from Congregation Adat Reyim, an unaffiliated Jewish synagogue; she was standing in for a rabbi who had taken ill.

People told their stories, we remembered the eleven women who died senselessly between the last TDoR and this one, sang a bit and prayed a bit.

I'd say there were about a hundred men and women in attendance.  I'd also say women outnumbered the men by at least ten to one.  Rev. Emma mentioned that some of the people who came forward to light candles for each victim were parents of transgendered children.

After the ceremony there was an area where we could schmooze and snack.  I normally skip out on those and considering that I skipped our soiree five days earlier because I felt anxious about being around people, I might have skipped this one except I wanted to talk to a few people.

I didn't see my minister friend, the one I was hoping to see, but I saw her wife who was fortunately
Crispy Beef :)
wearing a name tag so I recognised her (they are a long-term couple who married last Valentine's Day).  She was standing a few feet away and I said something along the lines of "Barb is here."  She looked up and Charity introduced herself and she looked at me and said "and you are...?" and I responded with my male name.  She was genuinely surprised, which is definitely a positive, and I mentioned this to her.

I've mentioned this before: when out and you see someone you know there will be a range of possible reactions: not being noticed at all, being given a cursory once-over as "woman I don't know," being given a "is that a guy?" look, and "hey!  That's {your male name}!"  The last is the least likely.  I think we generally look very different when dressed, especially if a wig is involved.

I'd guessed she would recognise my being trans, just because of the venue, but I was pleased that she didn't know me.  We had met at least a dozen times in the past.

We chatted a bit (my minister friend also had a bug) and I moved on.  I saw a UU minister who had performed the first part of the service and I complimented her on her presentation.  I also asked her where I could find the Jewish woman who had run another part of the service.  She pointed her out to me and we went over to say hi.

I told her I was a member of a different congregation and said I was unfamiliar with her synagogue.  Her reaction was: "oh good.  Another Jew" which I thought was funny.  I'm sure there were several even if they didn't jump up and wave their arms.

I told her that when my youngest was 14, one Sunday school segment was devoted to "Trans 101" and she asked for details because she wanted to do something like that at her synagogue.  She gave me her card and I said I'd see what I can find for her.

We also spoke with a couple of ladies we had met before and then headed back home.


  1. It seems like a wonderful event in all regards. Every year I think that the TDOR would be a good reason for me to ask my wife if I can go out dressed and even a good potential for her to join me but I tend to run out of time and nerve.
    While not one of the tribes I grew up in a very Jewish area (to the point that the kids would simply inquire if one were orthodox, conservative or reform) and I now work in a firm with lots of Jewish people. Humor and mirth and a natural affinity for irony seem to be part of the culture.

  2. Meg -


    Yes - The last is the one which is rarest, but I've had it once - and it opened things up for me to attend a local church in "Marian Mode". I've been pegged as a guy on Halloween because of my size/height. But 99% of the time, I get the first two results....

    I will admit that I skipped out on a TDoR service. Next year, I'll be sure to attend....



My day is brighter when I hear from my friends!