This week I attended a Mariner’s game with my coworkers. There was a point during the drinks and meal beforehand where someone I hadn’t seen in person for a very long time asked if I wanted to invite my husband to the game. There was an extra ticket. I politely declined, knowing that at some point I would need to tell them about my wife. Moments like this are so unique. Do I tell this person? Do I ignore it because we are in a professional, albeit baseball game setting? Do I tell them about the changes over the past year at the table or later on? Do I owe them an explanation? How does one tell the outer periphery of your colleagues that your spouse is transgender? I decided to tell them later if the timing was right, if I could pin this person down in a less crowded, one-on-one environment. It went very well. I explained to them who Katie is now. They asked thoughtful questions and seemed to accept the information it for what it is: my personal life and not for them to judge.
I’ve noticed in the past 2 weeks I am hesitating less when referring to the time before The Outing as time with Katie. It isn’t until recently that I didn’t have to coach my brain to tell my vocal chords to say Katie and not Kyle. There was 5 years of training before The Outing where I said Kyle when I looked at the male physical form of my spouse. I used to call Katie “Sir” as my term of endearment. I don’t remember the last time I “Sir’d” her on accident. Katie has been so gracious and patient with me as I learn and lean into these changes. She understands that it takes time. She’s even caught herself hesitating at the names and pronouns. It’s only been 10.5 months and we are both still learning. It’s a relief that as I walk further and further away from The Outing toward our future, what initially began as 2 versions of my spouse are slowly melding together. It’s been a struggle for me to so fundamentally know and believe that Katie is the same person, the beautiful, kind, person I married and yet still feel that her exterior changing makes us different. I think the change is going to be good for us, will make us stronger. I can see our future, the house with a yard, the old people hitting each other with canes on the front porch, with more clarity than I could a few months ago. It’s a relief to have it back.