For the last 33 years you’ve probably known me as Adam — a name, and gender that were assigned to me at birth. A name and a gender that don’t match my identity. To many of you this will be a surprise, to many others, it will not be. As my friend Paige has pointed out to me, for a long time I’ve standing in the doorway of the closet, door wide open, yelling “hey guys look at me” but too afraid to take that next step. Well, this is me taking that next step. The reality is, I am a transgender woman.
I know that at this point you probably have a zillion questions that you want to ask. I am mostly an open book, I may however politely decline to answer some questions that you may have. But if you have made it this far and haven’t written me off, or started praying to Jesus for my soul, I bet you are asking two questions: “What happens now?” and “What can I do to help?” Ok maybe three “What’s next?” Oh wait maybe four “Why?” (or alternatively “How?”)
What Happens Now?
Basically. Nothing. I know that’s hard to wrap around at this moment, but quite honestly in the short term nothing happens. We still go on living. But now with knowing one of the biggest stressors I have been dealing with since well…let’s just say it has been a long, long while.
What Can I do to help?
“Loving trans people I believe is a revolutionary act. And I believe when we love someone we respect them. And when we listen to them we feel that their voice matters. And we let them dictate the terms of who they are and what their story is.”
– Laverne Cox, Creating Change 2014 Speech
This part is actually quite easy: Respect. Love. Listening. What do I mean by this? Well as the quote above states, this is my story to tell. Not the story that you think it may be from watching TV. Each has their own story, and this is mine. So therefore, what I am getting at is that I want you to listen and respect me for me. When I ask you to do something for me, such as use my correct name and pronouns, that you make an effort to do so. And respect when I say “no that’s a topic that is off limits.” But at the same time, I do encourage a dialog. If you have questions ASK!!!
This is a slightly more complicated question to answer. For starters, I’d ask that you start using my chosen name and pronouns. In my case: female pronouns. In other words: she & her. And name… I believe this is where I should introduce myself. Hi, my name is Addison Sarah Chernow. Though, most people just call me Addie.
Other than that really it is just the standard issue things like hormones, hair removal, etc. by the way, some of them are already happening. You just didn’t know it. Other than that yes, if you have a question about my next steps, ask. I’m a mostly open book. But be prepared though if I say that’s off limits.
Quite honestly there really is no way to answer this. It just is.
“If I could have chosen, I would have been born a woman. My mother once told me she would have named me Laura. I would grow up to be strong and beautiful like her.”
– Against Me!/Laura Jane Grace, “The Ocean”
To be honest, other than the name, Laura hit the nail on the head. And I could write volumes about the similarities but just know, this is something that has been with me forever. Oh and just one small problem I have with that lyric. Trans women are women, therefore we are born women. We just take a little more creative path to blossom.