Thursday, October 8, 2009

We are everywhere . . .

Yesterday I had something fascinating happen to me while on a service call south of Houston Texas. While at my customers office, I noticed a sicker on her door for an organization with in her company that supports Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender diversity. With out really thinking about it, I pointed at the sticker and told her I thought it was awesome that her company was supportive, and proud enough about it to be making stickers to advertise it. I would tell you what company, but I’m concerned it wouldn’t be right share any of her info. Well, you could see her hesitate while trying to decide if she should say anything, and ultimately she chose not to. That’s OK with me, I understand it is often a bad idea to mix business and personal lives, and perhaps she wasn’t comfortable with that. Later in the day, we were in her car driving to pick up some small parts, when we had a discussion about one of her cars – a very unusual, expensive, and very attention getting mean little machine. She mentioned getting stopped by a police man, who clearly just wanted a closer look at the machine, and she told me about his reaction to finding two women who were clearly a couple driving it. Mind you, this is a small town in southern Texas, so we had a good laugh about Good Ol’ Boys. Since she had opened the door to the conversation, I asked her if she and her mate had been fortunate enough to get married before coming to Texas, while it had been legal in California. You could see her hesitate while trying to decide how much of her life she was willing to share with me, but in a moment she started talking.
“We are married because of a loop hole, and it’s even legal in Texas.” She told me.
“No kidding?!” I replied. “If you don’t mind my asking, what’s the loop hole?”
“Well. . . . “ she again sort of hesitated. “We were married when she was a man.”
She so surprised me with this, that I swear I’m not exaggerating, my jaw actually dropped. I probably sat there looking like an idiot for an entire second or two before I realized it, and shortly after that, realized how it must have looked to her. It must have seemed to her as if she had shared something deeply personal, and I was either making a joke of it, or I was shocked at the very concept. Little did she know that my shock was the surprise of finally meeting a customer that I knew was part of the transgendered world. With all of the places I’ve traveled, and the hundreds of people I meet doing my job, I’ve always thought that someday I might have a customer who is TG. It never once struck me that it would be the spouse I met though, not the TG.
So there I sat, looking like an idiot with my jaw wide open, when it strikes me that my surprised look may have hurt or offended her, so I took the plunge to be sure she knew what was behind my surprise.
“Well, believe it or not, your wife and I have a lot in common.” I told her, feeling just a bit nervous that maybe it wasn’t wise to mix my personal life with my work, but I just couldn’t let her think I was offended or shocked at the concept of someone being transgender. She told me she had suspected that I might be. I don’t recall the details of most of the rest of our conversation, but it was pleasant. She told me a bit more about how she and her SO had come to be where they are in their lives, and I told her a little about my travels. At the end of the day, I felt like she was not just a customer, but might also be friend.
I’m telling you people, we (transgendered) are everywhere . . .

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