Transgender and What my Mother Knew

My mom was crazy. I’m just going to put that out there. In the future I will probably write a blog about it to help others with mothers like mine. Crazy IS NOT cool. However, there were other things my mother was that I have now come to appreciate since I have gotten older and less angry about the “crazy”. My mom was a forward thinker ahead of her time but most of all she was kind. KINDNESS IS COOL!

I remember when she told me the story of how she marched with Martin Luther King in Atlanta. The time she started a protest in the 60s because she found out taxi drivers in Macon were charging African-Americans more just because they were black. However, today I want to talk about a best friend she had. I’ll call her “Anna”. When I was about 15 years old my mom was managing a set of apartments. This was great for her because she was a single mother and it gave her a free place to live. If that is not the norm then it was still true for us because my mom was also very good at working out deals to keep us out of the projects.

Anna was an attractive woman and she used to come over to our house or mom’s office all the time just to talk. Mom didn’t go “out” much so I was happy she had a friend. It occurred to me that Anna didn’t go out much either. This was strange to me since she was childless and single. Whenever I spoke to her she was kind and sweet but I always got a feeling of loneliness from her. A sadness that I couldn’t place.

One night mom sat me down and explained the Anna was Transgender. I had no idea what that was. My mom said Anna was a man who felt more comfortable being a woman and that is how I should keep addressing her. . .as a woman. I now know that explanation was very elementary but please remember this was the late 80s and the term Transgender wasn’t very well-known to the masses. They stayed friends for as long as my mom worked at the apartments but we eventually moved.

I know having that first positive experience with a transgender person at a young age made it much easier for me to open my mind and heart to Transgender people when I became older. I thank my mother for that. She could have rejected Anna’s friendship and spoke of her as a “freak” and gossiped about her to the other residents or condemned her to hell for being different. But instead she chose to be kind. Kindness is cool!

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