Questions and A Visit With the In-laws

I am pretty open with people about my transition. From what I have read and seen, apparently, I am in the minority in the trans community. It is obviously up to the individual person to decide if they want to answer questions and how detailed they want to be. Generally, I am known for being closed off, my feelings and thoughts are often completely unknown to others, but that is because I hid behind a mask. But with my transition, I am pretty much willing to share with my friends and family most unabashedly. I don’t know why this is, I think I’m just happy to finally be able to talk about it at all?

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A friend of mine was chatting with me on FB messenger and he asked how long it will take me to complete my transition. I told him pretty much everything I had planned and what I wished I could afford, explaining the gender reassignment surgery when asked. If I could afford it? I would go the entire way, getting the GRS and feminization. But realistically, I will do HRT, orchiectomy and that will be that. I don’t want my penis, but then I didn’t want to be born with it at all, so it is what it is. The conversation was frank and unapologetic, I didn’t feel the need to hold back and I honestly don’t think I would hold back with a stranger asking me either. Of course, if I felt their intention was to see if I had the parts that appealed to them, then I would not acquiesce. But so far, those who have asked are doing it purely out of concern for my well-being and to cheer me on.

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I had talked to my wife about being concerned with how much information my mother-in-law would want to know about my transition. Since my coming out to them last week, my mother-in-law asked if my wife and I would come to their house and talk. I had offered to answer any questions she had in my letter and she was simply taking me up on the offer. I am very happy to do it, though I am nervous only in that I might not have all the answers. I don’t have all the answers to being a transwoman, just like people don’t have all the answers to being people, we exist and we stumble along looking for meaning. But my wife said that some things aren’t my mother-in-law’s business, and it struck me that I don’t mind at all, I really don’t feel possessive of the information. I know that if I had been born entirely female without male genitalia, then these questions wouldn’t be asked at all, for example I would never have my mother-in-law asking if I had a clitoris. But that isn’t my situation and I think curiosity isn’t a bad thing, I think it allows us to learn. We should pry and snoop into life, it’s what separates us from the non-snoopy lifeforms, it’s what makes us reach for stars.

I am going to update what happens this weekend here. We will be traveling an hour away to the next state to visit my in-laws and answer their questions, all while being me. So, let’s hope what I write below here is really awesome or just boring but not bad and horrible.

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It’s 8:30pm, I’m tired and my wife and I have just gotten home from her parents house a state away. But I wanted to write this down while it is still fresh in my head. Her mother asked us to come over, just the adults, to talk and eat dinner. I had asked her if it was alright if I was me, meaning I would be wearing something of a girlish fashion. She said that they have no problem at all with this, which was great for me!

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All this weekend I worried over what we were going to talk about and what I was going to wear. I fretted over the clothing and changed my mind a dozen or so times on the black dress, or the brown skirt, or jeans with a blouse, etc. An hour before time to leave, I decided to go with the brown skirt, floral (with browns) top and tan slouch boots. I also wore the kitten necklace that my wife had bought me for valentines. I did my makeup and we were off for South Carolina.

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We got there in a little over an hour and my mother-in-law answered the door as my father-in-law was still at work. She didn’t bat an eye, just hugged me and brought us inside. We talked for a bit, just the normal things about work and things we liked about the house they were renting now. My father-in-law came home and as dinner was cooking, and then my sister-in-law came over and we all talked for a while. (She had come to pick up her dog that my in-laws were watching for her while she was out of town) She also didn’t bat an eye and treated me as any member of the family. Once she left, then my in-laws started to ask questions about my transition. Nothing really invasive, for me anyway. They wanted to know basic things like how long Michelle knew, if the kids were alright with this, when I was coming out at my work, etc. They did ask about surgeries and I warned them that if they approached other transgender people that it would be very rude to ask these types of questions. I did tell them that *I* was fine with it and that I had very little to hide. I answered their questions about how far I was planning on going, surgery-wise. I explained the varied reasons for having an orchiectomy and about HRT.

 

I was asked, if there were others in the house whom I didn’t know (such as a party at their house, etc) how would I like to be introduced. I told them, “Beth” or “my daughter-in-law” was fine, that I also respond to she/her. After these questions, it was pretty much the normal conversation fodder, TV shows and the recent school shootings since my wife is a teacher and my mother-in-law is a recently retired substitute teacher. I was glad that the entire night did not revolve around my being transgender, and that we were able to enjoy the entire day and I didn’t feel at all discomforted. I sat there, watching them all talk and just enjoyed the conversation without thinking about how my mask should sit, or what he would say next, I could just be me not planning ahead for every detail.

At one point, while my wife and her mother were talking, my father-in-law showed me the rest of the house and the back porch that had been added recently. During that time, he hugged me and told me that he had great respect for what I have been through, that he didn’t know how I could have kept this secret for so long and still be standing. I almost cried several times during our talk, but he was very sweet and treated me like any of his daughters. Everyone came out to the porch and sat to talk since it was so nice outside, in the middle of the conversation my mother-in-law told my father-in-law to look at her necklace. CaptureIt took me a small heartbeat to understand she was talking about me! I was her! I showed him my kitten necklace, I was so excited and happy that she used the correct pronoun! I can’t express how much it meant to me that she did that.

 

It was a very good night and I am so glad we did it. We hugged them goodbye as we left for home and I told them that I loved them. One of the best visits I have ever had with my in-laws, it was profoundly cathartic for me.

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