During the Creating Change conference, I had the opportunity to meet a transwoman named Brenda. Brenda is 59 years old and has lived around the D/FW metroplex all her life, currently residing in Arlington. She told me many things about her past and how it came to what she is now. When she was a young man, she knew that she was different. She was attracted to women but she did not feel as though her gender was correct. At the time, this was unheard of! We are standing on the progress of our ancestors and Brenda has been able to greatly benefit from societal advancements.
Brenda first came to terms with her sexuality and gender identity when she met a young bisexual woman in a LGBT bar. This woman was the first to tell her that it was the world that was wrong and not Brenda. This woman was Brenda’s love and helped her get through difficult times! They got married and lived together happily for a long time.
In the year 2000, Brenda’s love passed away due to cancer. During the same year, her father also passed away. With the love of her life gone and her conservative father gone, she finally decided it was time to stop being “David” and start being “Brenda.”
Brenda made the transition much faster than most because she was truly ready. She had already been in the mindset of a female for a long while and needed less counseling than most people. Later, Brenda found out that her doctor in charge of her transition was a close friend of her late wife. The doctor told Brenda that Brenda’s wife would have been so happy and proud to see her finally taking the steps to be herself!
Something many people do not understand is that gender identity and sexual orientation are different and unrelated. Brenda was a straight male that turned into a lesbian female. There are lesbian women who turn into straight men and there are plenty of other things in between. Personally, I do not believe the gender binary exists and we need to set society straight on that. Brenda’s mother also did not understand this. Brenda’s mother did however tell her that she had never seen her so happy in her life.
One of the many things I learned from this conference is that you cannot judge a book by its cover. You cannot decide what a person is on the inside based on their external gender. People are not always who they seem and we should respect that. If you ever go down the street and see a woman or a man and you catch yourself thinking “Wow… she looks like a man…” Stop yourself and don’t judge those because they are different than you. Transgender is something even most lesbian and gay people don’t understand so understanding and acceptance is something we ALL need to work on together to create a world where people can be who they are on the inside and not be restrained to what society tells them they should be.