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Getting Made — and OWNING it!

| Oct 10, 2016
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Transitioning later in life

I was listening to a news article on National Public Radio Morning Edition on Thursday, September 6, 2016, about one of our sisters, a police officer with the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, Sgt. Jennifer Hawkins, who is transitioning on the job. She, like many of us, is transitioning later in life. Please listen and read her interview here

One of her comments was regarding transitioning later in life, “It’s difficult to transition, period. But the later in life you are, the tougher it is. For one thing, as men age, their faces and bodies continue to become more masculine.”

Sgt. Hawkins daily must deal with citizens on her beat using the wrong gender and pronouns. She knows this is part of her life, regardless of the fact that it is personally painful for her.

Many of us ‘get it’

Like Sgt. Hawkins, many of us begin to transition later in life. I began at age 57, and I, too, suffer from too many years and too much testosterone. Having broad shoulders, a big nose and ham hands, I’m not that petite mature woman I’ve always imagined myself to be. Most of my Trans* friends and acquaintances are in their fifties and beyond. So Jennifer, we get it!

Getting made

No matter what I do before I go out, I almost always get ‘looks’ from people. I’ve had young couples in the grocery store stop, stare and whisper to each other as I pass. An older couple at one of my favorite restaurants made me. He leaned in, whispered to his wife and I watched the man point at me. When she turned, I was looking straight at her. It happens. I’m used to it. My family and friends get it, but none of us like it. It’s life.


I’m adopting a new strategy. I am owning getting made. If someone wants to point and whisper, I’ll wave at them. I try and say hello or acknowledge people around me and I’ve even walked up to pointers and said, “Hello.” It usually catches them off guard. I’m not angry or defensive, I just want to let them know they’ve been made, in their own way. It’s much like any other slur or slight or bigoted remark. If I use it and I don’t let it get to me, it loses its power over me. As an added benefit, it makes most of the pointers and whisperers embarrassed they’ve been made.

We are a brave group!

Plain and simple, we’re a really brave group of people. No matter where we are on the gender continuum, it takes guts. No matter if you never leave your bedroom or you are visible on the global stage, we are a pretty tough group. If you walk a beat, like Sgt. Hawkins, appear in front of millions like Jazz Jennings or shop for groceries in your local supermarket, that all takes a pretty special person. We must be proud of and OWN who we are.

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Category: Transgender Body & Soul


About the Author ()

I am Cate, a mature transgender woman. I am a writer, blogger, parent, grandparent, sailor, activist and happy. I am a widow, and live with my yorkiepoo, Belle. I love music, reading, cooking, outdoors, DIY, theater, antiquing and flea markets, home brewing, and seeing what is around the bend in the road or over the horizon. I own the website. It is an outreach, support and resource for mature trans* people and especially for those who, like me, came out after fifty.

Comments (4)

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  1. j2emily j2emily says:

    this has been a constant subject of debate among my friends.
    the options are:1-ignore-2 Cate’s plan-3 confront. I suggest that all 3 should be in play depending on the circumstances eg. once 2 snowbird jerks asked my friend and I if they could take our picture. this really was an option 3 moment!

    • CateOMalley CateOMalley says:

      I agree, Emily, sometimes we just have to use option 3. I’ve almost stopped using the ignore options. If they are looking at me, I’m looking back.



  2. StephanieW StephanieW says:

    thank you for story….it reinforces I need to own who I am.

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