Apr. 8th, 2014

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Years ago, one of the reasons I didn't come out as trans to my mom was because I was afraid it would permanently rattle our relationship. I've written pages of posts on exactly that subject in this journal, in fact; we never had the perfect mother-child relationship, there was certainly friction, but ultimately, things really weren't that bad, in the grand scheme of things.

But now, having been out to mom as trans since October, and on the eve of completing my legal name & gender changes, things have played out exactly as I feared they would. Every conversation feels awkward and distant, and the 100 miles between where I grew up and where I currently live seems much further than it used to. And all the times I've seen her in person have been bittersweet at best, with one incident that was one of the most traumatic public experiences I've ever had as a trans woman.

She says she's trying to accept me, she says she's trying to understand. I believe her, for the most part. But her planned timeframe for being able to see the real me is measured in years, and in the meantime, every mention of my old name hurts. Every time the subject comes up, the message I get is basically "it'll take years for me to be able to love you again", and just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes.

I tried to tell her some of this, but she doesn't understand, and doesn't appear to be making much effort to understand. I talk about my name change, she acts like changing my name is a betrayal of some sort (though, the fact that I took her pre-marriage middle name as my own seemed to help her a bit). I try to describe how much it hurts that I have to hide who I am around grandma, but it doesn't even register; her response is "I just don't get that, I certainly wouldn't have trouble pretending to be someone else for an evening".

She's also gotten pretty adept at destroying what little self confidence I have in my appearance, completely unintentionally. Despite the fact that I pass and blend in ~80% of the time in my daily life (more frequently in the DC area where I live), she acts like seeing any femininity in me at all takes a leap of faith and 120% effort. To someone who struggles daily with self-image issues, hearing your own mother say "Eh, I guess I can kinda see you potentially being a woman, maybe" is devastating.

I chose to delay coming out to her until I moved out of her town for exactly this contingency; if things didn't go well, I didn't want to have to deal with it on a daily basis. But now that things are playing out exactly as I always feared, it feels horrible. I already lost my dad's love for unrelated reasons, I know better than to even try re-opening communication with him; in the process, I lost touch with his entire side of the family. And now, I feel like I've also lost my mom's love, to an extent. My sister is too laser-focused on her fiance to care about anyone else, I've tried and failed to have real conversations with her for months. My grandma still doesn't know I've transitioned, at mom's insistance. One of my uncles won't speak to me anymore. Most of the rest of my extended family doesn't know anything has changed.

I just...I feel like I'm no longer welcome in the only home I knew for 26 years. I feel like I'm losing the last parent I had left. I don't know what, if anything, I can do about it. And it hurts every time I think about it.

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Natasha Softpaw

April 2014

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