Sunday, March 29, 2015


First blog entry in a long time.

How to begin…
A couple of days ago, my Assistant Principal got a look at Calogrenant. I’d come out to him last May, and he’d said he’d support me in any way he could. One more block of courage.  I told him this year that I may be transitioning on campus next fall. Again,  I had his complete support. And though the principal and my colleagues and the district don’t know it yet, I have their support as well – legally. I can do this legally. And my insurance covers it. Why, then, do I feel trepidation?  As we talked about the comic, my AP asked me how much of me is in Cally. I had to really think about that, and I answered him honestly. “About 35%.” Cally is an amalgam of many women I’ve known, both trans and cis. There is much of my daughters in her, much of many of my students as well. But one thing we both share. Her transition from Cal to Cally is a metamorphosis. And that is dicey.

Another cartoonist who does a trans comic posted a panel the other day that’s been sticking in my mind. She stated that transition is not a metamorphosis or a transformation, but simply a transition. I beg to differ. My initial reaction is that of an English teacher and writer who resents having her stock of nouns depleted, but on deeper thought, I found that my real caveat lies in that, for me and for those who know me, this transition will be a metamorphosis and a transformation, and because of that it will not be easy. (Not that anyone’s transition is a walk in the park.) 

Over the years, having taken the stance that transitioning was completely out of the question, I created a male persona that I could live with. A sweet, goofy, endearing, pedant who has been described as “everybody’s favorite uncle.” He is loved. He is cherished. He is admired. And he is very little like me. Certainly we share interests and skills, but our mannerisms, both vocal and physical, are at variance. We look nothing alike. And our behaviors in social situations are radically different. Brother and sister…  Husband and wife…  And those who know him do not want to see him obliterated. My daughters, who have no problem with my trans-ness, do not want to see this man, their father, become a memory.   I don’t want to destroy him.  And so I ponder.

This is why the words “metamorphosis” and “transformation” do apply. I may be coming into my authenticity, but in doing so, I am becoming what for many around me is a different person.  I may be a good person.  I may be loving and more demonstrative in that love.  I may be happier and more comfortable as a human being.  But for those who have known my male self for all these decades, I shall be a different person.  And all the assurance that I can give that I have become my authentic self will not change the fact that someone they knew and loved is no more.  A word is used to express what the user experiences. I may say to those who have loved me as I was, that there is no loss, no transformation, no metamorphosis, that it was only a transition, but I know they will emphatically beg to differ.

7 comments: said...

Dear Gillian i have pondered the same thing. It is my contention that i am so much more at ease and more happy as a female that i have made the statement many times that i never want to go back to being that unhappy person that i was as a male.
Leanne Edna Anderson
Oh come on now you know i am not a Robot

Samantha Shanti said...

Oh my sweet girl, what a powerful and amazing post. I know we have talked about this on the phone for a lot of years now, and as I've always said, I will continue to love and support you no matter what. I admire your strength and courage and want only the best for you.

Many have talked about the heros, or heroines in this case, journey. You are well on your way. Life, and the living of it is all about change and growth. I am not nearly the same woman you implored all those years to get out of the house, that being a shutin wasn't healthy, and you were right. I've grown, I've changed, and while my metamorphosis, for indeed, that is what it was, and is, has not been nearly as challenging as redefining ones gender, it has cost me some friendships, those who could not, or would not walk with me. I miss them, but my life is richer now, more alive. Anyone you might lose, or cannot, or will not see what they have gained in your growth, are the folks who are missing out, the people who cannot or will not grow.

Where ever you go, and however you get there, you always have been, and ever shall be, my friend. I agree with that sage advice you gave me six years ago that I needed to get out more. I'm thrilled to see you taking your own sage advice.

I love you Gilly!!!

Paula said...

This is one of the issues that I too am facing, I know some who are eager to get rid of the old and put on the new; but I have been quite fond of the man I was. I think I was quite good at being him and many others became fond of him, however as you say, I am different, so there will be mourning and loss. It is very difficult to deliberately be the cause of this.

Halle said...

We are all so very different even though at the core we share so much!
My metamorphosis has been taking place over a period of years, with a shedding of that collection of male behaviours I called my façade. While I found very little of that male persona that to be endearing, all of the very best bits are still with me, and my family and friends don't seem to be missing those discarded parts. As a result, now feeling very much a woman all of the time, with the very difficult exception of presentation and certain "physical characteristics".
Perhaps you will find that your sweet and goofy person is the real you as well.
All the very best.

Gillian said...

We all share similarities, but each as a different path, and I wonder even if we share the same goal. I think that is part of the human condition. It is certainly an aspect of mythology. Stories may contain the same motifs, but the actual pith of the story will vary from culture to culture, depending upon geography, resources, etc. We all have different chemistry, life experiences - souls. We can learn from each other, but what we do with that learning is up to each of us individually.

Coline said...

Gillian, you have surprised me in a good way. Many make the change, however they decide to call it, in spirit rather than physically. I have know you for so long that I had thought that we would only ever see the shining spirit...

So many of us inhabited the assigned male role but played iras gentle and loveable beings not our wished for personalities but ones many came to love. Much of the essence of our assumed roles transfers with us and if you are as fortunate as me your friends hang in with you and often love you more.

Wishing you the best of luck. Coline xx

Gillian said...

Thank you Coline. You have been a support for so long. So have you all. I love you all so much!