Who Am I If You’re Not You?… aka, What’s Next?

My book project is in full swing! I am thrilled with the pre-order campaign, in which 323 very kind people ordered a copy of my book before it’s even completed! Talk about humbling. The fact that friends, family and business sponsors were willing to shell out money for something on faith that I will make this book a reality  – well, let’s just say I’m honored. And tiny bit terrified.

Writing this book has been on my mind for 4-5 years, give or take, ever since I met Jennifer and Marc and heard their amazing story. I knew someone else out there would benefit from hearing it, and I hope that it will help open some peoples’ minds. I don’t expect to change anyone’s mind, but I believe that maybe someone who isn’t altogether supportive of the LGBT+ community might learn something that softens their heart. That’s my goal with this story. (If you’re not familiar with it, check out this blog post where I explain the book. And if you’re curious, this blog post tells you who I’m hoping to get to write the foreword!)

And here we are … about to make it come to life. The book is about half written. This weekend, I’m leaving to go squirrel away in a quiet cottage for several days to finish writing it. I’m in talks with a few publishers who’ve expressed interest in working with me to print and distribute it. I have two stores who’ve committed to stocking it when it’s printed, and hopefully whichever publisher I choose will convince others to put it on their shelves.

There’re a couple of ways to look at this project now: with excitement – that people believe in me and this book; and with fear – that I won’t be able to deliver a product worth their confidence in me. I’m going with first point of view, at least most of the time. Now and again, doubt creeps in and I’m overcome with butterflies, wondering whether I can really make it happen.

When that self-doubt creeps in, I think about Jennifer and Marc – the couple at the heart of my book – who struggled against so many obstacles and kept their marriage intact. They lived this story. I only have to write it. I’m gonna be okay.

And this book is gonna kick ass.

 

Name-calling. Aka, the Power of Pronouns

Most people probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about pronouns.

But then again, most people aren’t LGBTQ+.

I was having lunch with a friend whose child is in the midst of a transition. She told me she still struggles to use the right pronoun to refer to her ftm child. Rather than making a mistake and accidentally saying “she” when referring to her kid, my friend uses the name her child prefers – a shortened version of the birth name. After all, my friend used “her” and “she” for nearly two decades. That’s gotta be a tough adjustment.

It’s not that my friend is unsupportive. Far from it! She says doesn’t truly understand, but she’s trying. And she simply wants her kid to be happy. But changing “she” to “he” has proven to be a real challenge after almost 20 years. So my friend uses her child’s preferred name when referring to him, or sometimes uses “they.” It makes for a bit of an awkward conversation but I followed along pretty well. I even found myself doing it too – using “they” instead of trying to remember which pronoun to use. Maybe I was just picking up on her way of speaking, but it did seem to make it a bit easier in the flow of things.

And afterward I thought, Does calling them “they” somehow diminish them? Does it take away their gender completely? Was I just taking the easy way out? I mean, “they” has a name. Is it better to try to use the right pronoun even if I mess it up sometimes? Seems to me that (from the outside looking in) either their new first name or an accidental pronoun screw up might be better than “they.”

As someone who (until recently) has had no exposure to anyone who’s trans, I had no clue how very difficult it would be to change how we think about someone – much less, how we refer to them. And as a cisgender, I had absolutely no idea how much it means to someone who’s transitioning to be identified by the right pronoun. I mean, it makes total sense to me – I just hadn’t given it any thought. Until now.

Now I am thinking about it alot. And I promise, I’ll try to get it right! But please forgive me if I mess up, or put my foot in my mouth (which happens more than I’d like to admit). I’m supportive, I promise. But I am still learning. After all, I’m an old dog …

My Valentine’s Wish = #WriteOurForewordEllen

Please forgive me for being self-indulgent for a moment, but I have to share my greatest wish for Valentines Day. It’s not a giant diamond or a box of milk chocolates that is bigger than my dog. It’s not a dozen roses or a dinner out.

It’s Ellen DeGeneres.

Not Ellen herself, mind you. She’s taken, and I’m straight.

No, my wish this Valentine’s Day is that Ellen would consider writing the foreword to my book, Who Am I If You’re Not You? (You can read more about it at www.WhoAmITheBook.com, my brand-spankin’-newly created website)

Ellen is the perfect choice the write the foreword for this particular book. Not only because it deals with LGBT issues, but because Marc and Jennifer, the real-life couple at the center of this true story, have their own personal tie to Ellen. When they were undergoing IUI to have a baby, one of the rooms had a framed magazine cover with Ellen on it. They literally looked at Ellen’s face while trying to have a baby! (Which they did, btw – a gorgeous, now two-year-old, boy!)

So I tweeted, FBed and Instagramed her today, all using the hashtag #WriteOurForewordEllen.  And if you’re reading this and are on social media at all – FaceBook, Twitter, or Instagram – and would use the same hashtag, maybe someone from her staff will see it and tell her about it!

I know it’s a long shot, but so is winning the lottery. And since I haven’t ever won that, I figure maybe life’ll make this other wish come true.

So whaddya say, Ms. DeGeneres? Will you please be my Valentine and #WriteOurForewordEllen ?

How Young is Too Young to Transition?

The topic of trans children is a hot-button issue. I’ve blogged about it a bit, talking about how schools can prepare for this wave of change that’s coming, and unfortunately how sometimes they’ve handled it badly.

You may have guessed this post is inspired by last week’s Boy Scouts of America decision to allow transgender children who identify as boys to enroll in scouting programs. That’s a BFD, and a huge step forward for an organization that not so long ago was on my crap list.

Personally, I think we all know our hearts at a pretty young age. My own belief is that outside influences often confuse us; perhaps we should put more faith in our own gut instinct. But that may just be me. I have no experience in this realm – I’m a complete outsider who is just speculating.

But others seem to agree with me. I found a good article that shows why it’s okay for kids to start transitioning at a young age. And I’ve been following a new friend’s blog that I strongly encourage you to check out … she details her young daughter’s journey. She’s a warm and affable writer and it’s easy to relate to her, and her daughter’s, experiences.

What do you think … is there an “appropriate age” for children to transition? Do you think they’re any more likely to be “going through a phase” than adults are?

 

When You Care Enough to Sell the Very Best

Yay Hallmark! 

I just read that for the third year in a row, Hallmark will feature a real-life gay couple in a Valentine’s Day commercial.

I don’t know why that touches my heart, but it does. I know Hallmark is not the first company to embrace the LGBT community this way, but I see it as a positive step forward that more and more companies are trying to be inclusive.

Nice to see them reflecting real life.

I might just have to send out a few cards today to support them!

Girl meets girl. Girl becomes boy. Uh oh.

That – in a nutshell – is the gist of my new book, Who Am I If You’re Not You?

Based on a true story about a real-life couple, the book looks at gender transition from the partners’ perspective.

I’m crowdfunding this project, which means I could really use your help!

If you’d care to support it, please take a look at this page which gives you all the details and a way to order.

Come on, it’s $15.   Help a struggling blogger/author/ally out?!

XOXO and thanks!

Time to find a publisher!

I’ve been working on a book for the past year and it’s time to share it with the world!

It’s tough to find an agent in the publishing world, so I’m crowd funding this instead.

The gist of the story is this: real-life couple Jennifer and Marc weren’t always Jennifer and Marc. They were Jennifer and Marika. They were happily married for six months when Marika announced she wanted to transition.

Jennifer was completely blindsided, and unsure whether she could stay married.

This book details her struggles to accept the situation, to understand her spouse’s decision, and to come to terms with her own reaction.

It’s a deeply intimate look at her journey and I truly believe others will benefit from reading it.

If you’re a member of the LGBT community or have a friend or loved one who is, please consider preordering a copy! Or two, and give one as a gift!

Please visit this link and consider pre-ordering my book. Each order gets me closer to landing a publisher.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Do People React a Certain Way Because We Expect Them To?

I love this story I just read about a woman who was afraid to tell her grandmother she was bisexual. But she bit the bullet and told her anyway.

Her grandmother didn’t scoff, scorn or scold. She didn’t disown her, throw a fit, or judge.

No, this grandmother sat down and knitted her bisexual granddaughter a sweater with a great big rainbow on it.

Cool. Very cool. And it made me wonder – how many other people feared coming out without needing to?

Okay, I’m not naive. I know there are plenty of haters out there. Parents who turned their backs on their kids because they couldn’t understand. I just wonder whether we sometimes make situations harder on ourselves than necessary because we expect the worst reaction.

Or maybe it’s self preservation? We expect someone to be really upset, and when they are, we can handle it because we were prepared. And if by some chance they’re okay with the shocking news, it’s a great surprise.

But this doesn’t just apply to the LGBT community. The same is true for anybody who’s got to share news we think people aren’t gonna like. Job changes. Unexpected pregnancies. Failed college classes.

In each case, there’s the potential for someone to be really thrown for a loop. But there’s also the chance they’ll be fine about it. Disappointed that we’re hurt, sure … but not un-frickin-believably mad. Maybe people aren’t as harsh as we think they are. Maybe we help set the stage for how they react before they’ve even heard the news.

It’s an interesting psych-type question, I think. For those of you who’ve had to come out and who care to share, I’d love to know how you handled it and how it was received!