Don’t Read The Comments!

| Jul 30, 2018

As I approach two months of living my truth full-time, it seems like this is a great opportunity to pause and reflect. What a journey it’s been. And I know I’m just getting started.

I made my transition with a splash — a front page article in The Sunday Oregonian, the state’s largest newspaper. Then came a flurry of local media, online, broadcast and print. In the middle of the month, Basic Rights Oregon, the largest LGBTQ advocacy organization in the state, asked me to ride with their delegation in the Portland PRIDE parade. June wrapped up with a twenty-minute interview on a statewide public radio newsmagazine.

Some people have asked both kindly and not so-kindly what I’m going to do when the excitement dies down. My answer: live my life. My authentic life. After fifty-eight years, at last.

Peoples’ reactions continue to amaze and gratify me. They have been even more supportive and loving than I could have hoped for. The congratulatory words, the hugs and high fives have been an ongoing source of strength as I move forward.

It hasn’t all been rainbows and unicorns, of course. Most of the cowardly folks who hate and fear trans people aren’t brave enough to do it directly. Although my public position has opened a lot of doors for me, it may have also put a target on my back. I’ve heard a handful of complaints about me using women’s restrooms.

Then there’s social media. Because of my public position, I’ve been a target. Some of my friends begged me not to look at the comments, but I couldn’t resist. When you’re an elected official (county commissioner in my case) you get used to having some pretty nasty things said about you, so transphobia and trans-hate is just one more layer for me. Reading some of these comments has actually brought me smiles.

I’m on the Oregon Coast, you may recall. On the local newspaper’s Facebook page, one California resident (not sure why he was commenting, other than being a troll) said: “Dude looks like a linebacker in the dress.”) To understand what comes next, you need to know his profile picture shows a thirty-something guy with a deep tan, shaved head, and a muscular build (little or no neck visible).

People, mostly women, came to my defense big time. A couple of women said they looked like linebackers in dresses on their good days. My favorite comeback, though, was from the woman who said: “So what? You look like a sunburnt thumb!”

I know I am exceptionally lucky to have such a large and caring support system. I know many trans people do not. I wish for the day when everyone does, or even better still, when no one needs it, because this will be accepted as just one more variation in this amazing experience we call life.

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Category: Body & Soul

About the Author ()

Claire Hall was born and grew up in a large city on the left coast and has spent most of her adult years in a beautiful small coastal community where she's now an elected official in local government after spending many years as a newspaper and radio reporter. In her space time she loves reading, writing fiction (her first novel was published by a regional press a couple of years ago), watching classic Hollywood movies, and walking.

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