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Christine’s Journey 8/15

| Aug 17, 2015
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Christine out and about in June.

Christine out and about in June.

Near the time of my last blog I had to travel up to my home office in Maine, about 40 minutes outside of Portland. It gave me the opportunity to have dinner with my last two cousins, completing the family disclosure. It went very well. I now have friends and family ‘friending me’ on Facebook, and it feels amazing.

This was the first opportunity for the factory folks to visually see some of the changes in my physical appearance in about 3 months, and for some even longer. The changes due to hormones, plus the longer hair and earrings would certainly raise a few eyebrows. Not ready to “come out” at work for another few weeks, I referred to my “late midlife crisis,” when our company President introduced himself, jokingly toying with a “new employee” (me). I accepted some good natured razzing for the two days I was there.

I did however confide in a woman within our customer service department, with whom I’ve worked closely over the last 10+ years. She has become a good friend, and is respected by the other women (and men) in our organization. When I expressed that I had a secret she could not disclose for another couple of months, her first thought was that “I was leaving the company.” “Well,” I exclaimed, “If I am, it will Not be Voluntary” (LOL). After I said one word, “transgender,” we chatted warmly for another 20 minutes. I now have my female advocate.

My “final frontier” (to borrow from William Shatner), will be work. I have a lot of business travel, a lot of small trade shows between now and early November. Just these past three weeks, Jacksonville, FL, Austin TX, Lincoln and Omaha NE, Burbank CA and as I write, I’m flying to Birmingham AL (I get tired just typing this). My timeline has always been to be full time by December 1, and it is still my goal. My travel tapers off in December, and my trade show circuit does not start up again until late January, giving my employer and my customers time to (hopefully) understand and adjust.

Next week I will drive to corporate near Baltimore to talk first to HR, then to our company president and general manager. These conversations will definitely be the highlight of my next blog. Assuming those talks go well (and you never know), I am allowing 90 days for us to work together on the business end of my transition, and at the same time complete my 2015 trade show events.

My corporation is known throughout the industry as being “fairly right” on the political spectrum, and there is no mention (yet) of “gender” in our company policies. While broadcast television and radio is a fairly creative industry, I do work primarily with engineers, yes, some of whom are still of the “pocket-protector” variety (LOL).

Employing a few thousand people across the country, I have a difficult time believing that I would be the ‘only T’ within our corporate’s internal LGBT contingent (whether large or small?), but I do hope to find out. I am aware of three transgender women engineers within my industry, however I am unaware of any other transgender women or men on the sales side of our product sector. Ever. So I expect things will get very “interesting.” Or, perhaps I worry too much. I will find out soon.

My relationship with my son continues to be a struggle for both of us. His mom tells me he’s now watching the ABC Family network show Becoming Us. The pseudo-reality show involves many of the day to day complications within a transgender family, however I reminded my ex that no two people are alike, and not to assume everything depicted there, is directly applicable to myself and my/our situation. While my son may be watching the show, the flip side remains his refusal to see me, or even talk “about things.” I have not seen him in the last 4 weeks, and his 15th birthday was last Friday.

Sunday I attempted to deliver a birthday card and he refused to come down from his room. A frustrating conversation with his mom ensued, with her, much like my mother very recently saying “you brought all this on yourself.” It was definitely a somber Sunday night alone. Even if they are correct literally, “I Must Be Me!” While it definitely saddens me, I will live with the repercussions and hope for the future.

I’ve also been trying to get my daughter to have dinner with “me,” and she continues to be reluctant. I do remind her though that come December 1, Christine is the only one she will see going forward.

These past 4 weeks have therefore focused on my job (lots of travel), and on me, concentrating on what I need to accomplish toward my Dec. 1 goal. I sent emails to two longtime friends, one in Virginia whom I’ve known since I was 5 and for whom I was “best man” (that phrase just seems so very funny now); and another in Boston. Both responded with surprise (certainly) and with support.

My schedule has definitely put a dent in my social calendar. I’ve missed two therapy sessions. I had to pass on the “Invasion of Detroit III,” a recently begun quarterly/weekend gathering of TGirls there, and have missed the last two Renaissance meetings and Angela’s Laptop Lounges including this weekend (sorry again Angela). I did socialize a bit, two Saturday evenings up in New Hope, PA (most Saturdays anywhere from 6-12 girls from the NJ/NY/PA area go to The Raven), and I will definitely attend the next formal Raven Event in two weeks.

The Philadelphia Mazzoni Center recommended that I consider one of two local firms to discuss name change and other legal issues. They said it should take about 2 months to get that accomplished. While some girls have undertaken the legal paperwork themselves, I’ve also heard numerous stories of courts delaying and throwing roadblocks into the process “without a lawyer,” with much time, frustration, and tears resulting. With my time-constrained work schedule, I decided to seek legal assistance.

believe sayingMazzoni suggested either Ballard Spahr, located in Philadelphia (larger and part of a national chain); or Jerner & Palmer, also in Philadelphia, much smaller, however with an office in New Jersey. While I’m sure both are excellent, the size, NJ office, and website detailing the level of involvement in the LBGT community sold me on J & P.

This past week I had a phone conference with attorney Benjamin Jerner, who emailed me a link to get my legal name change started, with additional paperwork in anticipation of a future meeting to discuss and begin the various other personal and legal “stuff” (social security, driver’s license, passport, estate planning, etc.). I was told however that for now, Pennsylvania (where I was born) still will not change a birth certificate sex designation, without SRS.

These 4 weeks have also involved a 2nd transition, having my friends who now “know about me,” to actually “see and know ME.” From my best friend, to the best man in my wedding, things have gone well to date.

My best friend’s (6 piece horn) band had a gig at a large local festival. I arrived about 20 minutes before the band started and stood off to the side surveying who was where. He walked up to me and asked if I was nervous. “Absolutely not !” I spent the next 3-1/2 hours talking to his family, friends, band members, and wives. Some commented understandably, that it “will take time” to adjust.

At evening’s end, talking to the wife of the trumpet player, she explained that a few years ago they learned that their nephew was gay, and that it “really changed their perspective.” Addressing me, she said “Christine, when you KNOW someone, it changes EVERYTHING!.”

I think that’s all we ask.

‘Til next time, when we’ll find out if I’m still employed . . . the journey continues.


The treasures that I seek are waiting on the other side
There’s more that I can measure in the treasure of the love that I can find
And though it’s always been with me
I must tear down the wall and let it be
All I am, and all that I was ever meant to be, in harmony.

(from The Wall by Kansas)

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Category: Transgender Body & Soul, Transgender How To


About the Author ()

Part of the Philadelphia area Transgender community living in Sewell NJ. A Penn State grad, working in TV and FM Radio Broadcast equipment sales. Full time (about time !) since Nov. 2015. My frequent travel schedule allows me to visit TG friendly locales and attend events around the US.

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