Yesterday I had lunch with a colleague and I could tell something was wrong. He started to tell me that he had a bad day at work the day before and a bad evening at home to boot. He started to choke up a little bit and was hard pressed to talk about it.
I didn’t push further but said he could tell me anything as I have known him for 20 years.
Finally he told me it was regarding his daughter who had come out as a lesbian some time back but now was suddenly identifying as transgender. He had only found this out last night when he and his wife accidentally stumbled upon a webpage she had been viewing when closing her tablet (at least this is what I was told). She had finally divulged to them that she was thinking about binding and possibly looking into hormones.
His daughter and mine are only weeks apart and I have known this man since before both were born. He was on the verge of tears so I came out to him and told him my own story.
I told him she needed support above all and to be listened to and that they should seek out a licensed program or hospital gender clinic (I suggested the Montreal General) that deals with gender dysphoria. Most importantly I told him not to panic and to let this digest a bit. They should both listen to her and not be judgmental and because she is so young to not assume there is a definite path ahead. Things could change but then if they don’t after the therapy then they may need to prepare themselves for a process that will allow their daughter to be who she (or he) is.
This fellow is a fine person and wants to do right by his daughter but what will always stay with me is how thankful and relieved he was after I shared my story with him. Just a little bit of outreach can sometimes do so much and I was so glad to be able to help him in my own small way.
Today I am 54 years old and I have never known myself better. It is what allows me to come out to people and say: this is who I am take it or leave and not really care about their opinion.
I can really breathe.