A few days ago my younger brother got married overseas, I had been hoping that against all odds I would be able to attend the wedding but I couldn’t. When my brother announced the finality of the marriage on his Facebook account my mother commented “congratulations to my beautiful daughter and wonderful son”. I was crushed, I tried not to be upset, but as I read that my heart broke into a million tiny pieces and I was left feeling empty like a shell of a person.
I’ve been married twice, once to a man and once to a woman. The first time I got married, my mother flipped out. She cried and wailed and made comments about how she was never going to see her “daughter” walk down the aisle in a white gown. The reality of it was, I was never going to walk down the aisle in a white gown, my family would never pay for a wedding and there was no way I was going to spend excessive amounts of money on a dress or any piece of clothing for that matter, that would only be worn once. There are some things that I am very practical about. The first marriage ended in divorce, (of course), and I went on to fall in love with the woman I am married to now. She gave me the courage to come out to my parents (which ended up being a bad thing) and to work to become a better person.
When the movement for marriage equality began in earnest and one state after another began to legalize same-sex marriage, my wife (Emily) and I began to talk about finally getting married. Up until this point I hadn’t changed my name, gender marker, or began any medical transition. I had been refraining from it in hopes that my mother would accept that I was different (aka trans) and that it was okay. I was in a way waiting for her to come around while torturing myself in an effort to make her feel more comfortable about me.
Clearly that was a big mistake that I’ll never make again.
Emily and I told my mother that we were planning to get married when the state that we lived in passed marriage equality, and the response I got was “you know I don’t believe in that kind of marriage”. There were no congratulations I’m so happy for you, or anything like that. It was after that moment that I decided to transition because I was done with being someone or something that I wasn’t for someone that could be happy for their child even if they disagreed.
It wasn’t until October of last year that I was actually able to marry Emily in Virginia, and none of my family attended. My brother didn’t attend simply because he didn’t have the funds.
Even now there are no congratulations from my mother; there is no calling Emily her daughter. She hates my wife because she blames Emily for “making me transgender”. My therapist and I can’t even fathom why she’d think this, you don’t just make someone transgender. When I asked her why she couldn’t be happy knowing that I was happier and more comfortable with myself after beginning my transition I got “because that has nothing to do with me.”
So I guess there’s the root of the problem. I don’t do what she wants me to do and I’m not her puppet so she can’t or won’t love me. No realization in my life has ever cut me as deeply as that one did.
Often over the course of the past three years I’ve wondered if I was really my mother’s child; maybe I should demand a DNA test and find out once and for all.