A Trans Comes Out; We Are Still Astonished
by Belinda Dronkers-Laureta on May 11th, 2016

Keeping Families Together

The Asian And Pacific Islander Family Pride Blog

28 February 2014

A Trans Comes Out; We Are Still Astonished


The doorbell rings. We open the door and there stands the man we were expecting, right on time. We have known him for years. We call only him when we have a specific job to do for he is the consummate craftsman, the best at what he does on the east side of the bay and probably the other side as well, but he doesn’t go there. He inherited the business from his father and has been honing what he does since he was about ten years old. Now, nearing sixty, evidence of a hard working life shows in his deeply grooved face, the calloused hands with crooked fingers, and our knowledge of his knee and shoulder operations.

He stands there smiling, but something is different. He always had his shoulder length hair in a ponytail and wore those large, gold hoop earrings, but he never shaped and shaded his eye brows or rouged his cheeks, and we definitely never saw him with painted nails festooned with nail art. He came in, went about his business and kept up the banter, but over the several days it took to complete our job, he sketched out his story.

He wants to be a woman and for over forty years of his life thought he was a freak for rejecting what the doctor said he was at birth. He kept his desire a secret. A couple of years ago he decided to remove the veil from his true gender identity. It cost him his marriage and one of his children demanded that if he wants to see his grandchildren, then he must show up and act as a man whenever he comes over.

He told us of a place in San Jose where he and others can go and be safe. They borrow or rent clothes there and dress up and are themselves. He told of married men deep in the closet who for a few hours each week lounge in this safe place expressing the identity they badly want and then, when it is time to leave, revert to the identity they must present to the world. A few hours a week being who you are the rest of the week living a lie, it must be excruciating.

All our transgender friends were introduced to us as transgender and so this was a new experience. And as we sat and talked with her we had to work at reminding ourselves that what we saw is not what she wants us to see. She wants to be a woman and wants us to see and treat her as a woman. That is what matters. But, it’ll take getting used to.

The doorbell rings. We open the door and there stands the woman we were expecting, right on time.

Belinda and John Dronkers-Laureta are board members of Asian & Pacific Islander Family Pride www.apifamilypride.org


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