I started this post over six months ago. Notably, I still haven’t contacted the friend.
From before: “Purely by chance today I ran into a good friend of mine from high school. We’d fallen out of touch and hadn’t spoken directly to one another for the past 4.5 years. The experience was ultimately great, but I came out of it feeling like I’d barely escaped something horrific. Why the bizarre reaction?
I’ve discovered over the last year or so that my first inclination is to turn around and run the other direction whenever I see someone from my past that I haven’t been in major contact with over the last 3-4 years. And by major contact, I mean that they don’t know about my shifting gender identity.”
This entry came rushing back to me when I was contacted by someone else recently – this time about a potential five year high school reunion this summer. Unlike a lot of people I know, I really enjoyed a lot of high school. In fact, I’ve been incredibly sad that I didn’t manage to stay in better contact with many of my friends from high school. Some of the people I’m still in contact with I consider to be some of my closet friends.
Still, will I go to the reunion if it happens? I don’t know. Probably not. I don’t think I have the nerve to come out to people in person. Apparently talking publicly on the radio about being gender-variant to a bunch of strangers is very different than updating people I was once close to about what’s been important in my life over the last five years. Besides, how do you even start that conversation? Remember why you knew me as Amy? Well, now I’m Moe and I use male pronouns.
I know people that find it awkward enough telling people they gone “gay for pay” (a lovely phrase that seems to have caught on to label queers that work in LGBT rights orgs – not really sure what I think about it). How am I suppose to say anything about my life to people that haven’t seen me in years? And if I don’t say anything, what do I talk about (hint: it can’t be my employment either)? And would people feel lied to if they found out later?
It just seems simpler to run away from it all. I guess I’m starting to understand why some people attempt to erase their past and just move on. I don’t want to do that, though. It violates everything I value and believe about what gender should be and how it should function within someones life. But living according to my values may require acts of bravery that I’m not up to yet.
How would you start this discussion with someone you hadn’t seen in years? Would you? I don’t want to cleave my life in half, and this situation will surely come up again. Thoughts? Words? Ideas?
Contacting that first friend that I ran into six months ago seems like a good starting point. I still have her phone number. What would you do?