Saturday, February 06, 2016

Chalicechick and TheCSO's Gender FAQ

Posted to Facebook 07.19.2015.

 This is the same document with only minor edits, plus our names changed per the conventions of this blog.

 So, hi, we’ve got an announcement. 

TheCSO has made the decision to undergo gender transition. We’ve told a few people about this, but since we’re telling everyone en masse at this point, we thought an FAQ might come in handy:

The easy questions:

Q: So TheCSO is female now?
A:  TheCSO is in between, but on the female side.

Q. What pronoun does TheCSO prefer?
A: TheCSO likes “she” or “they.”  Chalicechick does not like “they” truth be told, as to her it sounds awkward and confusing.  So she talked around pronouns when TheCSO was concerned and considered TheCSO’s pronoun “TheCSO” as an interim step.  This wasn’t TheCSO’s favorite approach but the biggie is to avoid male pronouns.  Chalicechick is using “she” and female-gendered terms like “wife” now.

Q: I’ve called TheCSO “he” for years, what if I call TheCSO the wrong thing?
A: That’s cool.  We know this isn’t easy and TheCSO understands genuine mistakes are going to happen.  Chalicechick still slips up every now and again.

Q:Is TheCSO keeping the name “TheCSO”?
A: That’s the plan.

The complicated questions:

Q. How long has TheCSO wanted to do this?
A: A long time.  TheCSO came out to Chalicechick in college, years before we got married.  She has always known this was a possibility,  but TheCSO didn’t feel like fully transitioning to female and when we first got together and being “in between” was more or less unheard of outside of the gender activist community.  Chalicechick was concerned about the societal consequences of having to constantly explain that TheCSO had a gender that nobody else seemed to have.  Now that TheCSO’s career is in a good place, our marriage is totally safe and genderqueer and trans folks are becoming more and more common, the timing seemed right.  TheCSO’s tired of being uncomfortable.

Q: A lot of transsexuals get fired, are you worried about that?
A: For TheCSO’s employer to fire TheCSO for that reason would be a violation of both their company policy and the DC Human Rights Act, which covers TheCSO’s workplace in DC.  

Q: Are you guys going to stay married?
A: Yup.  We’re still in love.

Q. Will the state of Virginia still recognize your marriage?   Sure, gay marriage is legal there now, but Virginia is conservative and that could change again?
A:  This question was answered at length in previous versions of the FAQ, but is now irrelevant.  Thanks, Justice Kennedy!

Q: I feel like I’m really close to you guys, but you never talked about this with me before, and you’ve known for like SIXTEEN YEARS?  What gives?
A.  We get feeling that way and we’re sorry.  This stuff is not easy to explain and while we’re centered about the basics of it and committed to approaching it as a team, the details are a lot of stress.  Sometimes it’s a big comfort to just talk about other things.  If one or both of us has hung out with you and confided in you about other things or just done fun stuff with you, you’ve been more help than you know.  Thank you and we’re sorry if you feel we took too long to let you in.  Please don’t think that we didn’t tell you because we thought you would react badly, if we thought that we wouldn’t have been your friend in the first place.

The hard questions that make us a little cranky:

Q: Is Chalicechick a lesbian now?
A: She’s not much on labels.  She didn’t marry TheCSO’s gender, she married TheCSO.  That said, she did know about this all along, so… kinda? If you want to look at it that way? We don’t though.  We do consider ourselves a woman married to a woman though.

Q: Is TheCSO having surgery?
A: We know our friends would generally be too polite to ask this very personal question, but we also figured they might want to know.  No, TheCSO has no plans to have surgery of any type.  But TheCSO is on hormones and has been for over a year.   If you have other medical questions, feel free to ask in person, we’d rather not go into more detail on this forum.

Q: What if I think TheCSO’s still a guy and feel the need to say so?
A: Then it’s best if you save everyone some pain and unfriend us now.  We don’t have anything else to say to one another.  If you want to stay friends with us, don’t talk about that to us because we don’t consider her gender an issue for debate.

Summing up:

Q: So how can I help Chalicechick be more comfortable in this weird time?
A: She’s good.  It IS a weird time but her and TheCSO’s support system, (if you’re reading this you’re probably part of it) has been wonderful. We’re very privileged as couples dealing with these issues go.  Mostly, she’s grateful.

Q:  So how can I help TheCSO be more comfortable in this weird time?
A:  Use “she” or “they” or talk around pronouns, try not to use male gendered language.  Ask  questions.  TheCSO’s glad to help and would rather talk about it than leave people wondering.

Q: I’m glad you guys are good, but what if being your friend makes me want to reach out to other people dealing with gender issues?
A: That’s awesome of you.  We are in a position of enormous privilege and we know it.  But not everyone is as lucky as we are and there are some folks who could absolutely use your help.  We’d be really grateful, and you could do a lot of good, if you help out one of the following organizations:

• Rainbow Youth Alliance:
• Trans Housing Network:
• Whitman-Walker:

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