What is tolerence?

They say the average age of awareness for a child to recognize, even if they don’t understand their sexuality is age 5 or 6.  I have been aware that I was different since I was 6.  I grew up in a time, place, and environment where I had to “toe the line” “play the game” and “conform to the norm”.  What is the norm and by whose standards is it dictated?

I lived a lifetime being who I was expected to be by my Family, environment and society.  I went through 50 years of denial, frustration, and anger.  Anger not at society but at myself for not being strong or bold enough to stand up publicly and proclaim “This is me, this is who I am, have been and will forever be!

Coming out publicly is a sacrifice.  Sacrifice and loss, for both myself as well as the people that are closest to me.  When I came out to my family there were a lot of heated mixed emotions.  Enough to go around for everyone.  My mother voiced it this way:  “You will never be my daughter, you’re my son and you will never be a sister to your siblings, you’re their brother”.  Some family members don’t understand it but accept it, some family members understand it and don’t accept it, and some have not talked to me since I came out to them.

The first time I went out in public, as LiLLi in October of 2007 was the second time I went to a social support group meeting in the LGBTIQ community.  I joined several on line groups like Tiffany Club, North Shore Transgender Alliance, Randolph Country Club, and Sisters Family-Sisters of Boston.  The first time LiLLi came out publicly was the last time Anthony ever came out publicly except for work.  I transitioned on the job full time November 27th, 2007 and have been full time 24/7 ever since.

After I lost my job due to company cutbacks and economics I have really seen a lot of paranoid phobias. What is diversity friendly?  It’s a policy that’s only as good as the integrity of the employer enforcing it to be federally compliant.  I was on a job interview once, appropriately dressed in “Business Professional” womens attire and when the interview came to a close the HR Manager asked me if I needed to use the men’s room before I left.

It seems that even though my work history is impeccable and my skill set is highly in demand my gender is in question and prevents me from obtaining gainful employment in my field of expertise.  Some people, well meaning of course but with no idea whatsoever, have suggested that I present as a male just to secure a job and then transition again.  That wouldn’t work as my gender marker is F and my birth certificate is now reflective of my name and sex.

I have since formed a support organization http://netahealth.org to help other like-minded people that face the same socio-economic hardships and challenges.

What is tolerance?  Are we as a nation really tolerant and accepting?

Wednesday, June 02, 2010