Be True

Thursday, January 24, 2013

My last few posts have been about various signs that my transition might be further ahead than I thought. 

And lo and behold, I had several more today. 

Well, sort of. :c) 

It was a funny day in several respects. And in retrospect, it all revolved around being truthful.

When I reached the office this morning shortly after 8:00, I was surprised to see that my friend and fellow tech writer S had just arrived. 

Lately I've been staying in bed (not necessarily sleeping) a bit later than I usually do - 6:15 AM, as opposed to 5:00 AM. This is partly because it's cold and dark when I wake up, and partly because I'm a bit run down from the craziness of the past year.

S typically arrives anywhere from one to two hours after me, so we were joking about putting up a plaque to commemorate the first - and likely last - time this happened. 

Anyway, I told her I had something to share with her in light of our chat about my voice the past weekend. I then told her about meeting my electrologist at the gas station, and the attendant's subsequent comments to her.

S beamed her brilliant smile when I finished and said, "Yay for you, Cass! Congratulations!"

I told her how surprised I was, mentioning that my voice is still pretty masculine.

In addition to being possibly the sweetest person alive, S is also quite likely the person least able to conceal her emotions. 

As soon as I commented about my voice, she shifted uncomfortably in her chair, looked down at her feet, and began playing with her fingers.

"Well…" she said, her voice trailing off.

I began to laugh - mostly at her obvious discomfort, as she tried to reconcile her need to be totally honest and completely supportive at the same time.

"It's OK, S," I said. "What were you going to say?"

"It's just that… well, you *don't* really have a masculine voice," she replied, her face flushing. 

"Oh," I said, genuinely surprised. "So… what kind of voice *do* I have then?"

"Umm," she said, trying not to look at me, "You know how some gay men talk?"

At that I laughed again, as S alternated between relief and discomfort at telling me what she clearly has believed for a long time. But also because this *really* was not how I perceive my own voice.

"Oh my God, S," I said. "Do I *really* sound like that?!?"

"Yeah… kind of," she said. "Either that, or more like a woman who has a fairly low voice. Your voice is a lot closer to female than male. At least to me. I'm sorry!" she added hastily.

Laughing even harder, I asked her why she thought that was a bad thing.

"I don't know," she admitted. "I know you're really working hard on your transition, and I know how stressful it must be, having to live a double life. 

"I mean, you come to work every day looking like him  - kind of - but you sound like, well… you. LIke Cass."

"S, I take that as a huge compliment. Even if I'm not sure I believe it. No offense to you."

She said she understood, and then added that she could understand how the gas station attendant would read me as a woman.

"But I come in there after electrolysis every week," I replied. "My face looks like a half-digested pizza, and I have three days worth of stubble on top of that!"

"He probably isn't looking that closely, since he sees you a lot," she said. "And it's dark when you go there, so he can't really see you anyway. Plus you're wearing a heavy winter coat."

She paused for a moment.

"I mean, he probably just thinks you're a woman without much fashion sense, you know?"

"Then I guess he really IS perceptive!" I said before both S and I dissolved into laughter.


After work, I went to the gym, then stopped off at my parents house to pick up some turkey burgers my mother made for me. 

My sister C was arriving home from her shift in the ER just as I was parking. Still not totally convinced, I decided to ask her, knowing she of all people would be brutally honest.

I related the events of the past two days, while C listened.

"So... what do you think?" I asked her when I finished.

"What do I think about what?"

"Do you think I have a masculine voice?"

She shot me a look of withering disdain, mixed with pity and astonishment, a look I suspect my nephew C is all too familiar with.

"Earth to Cass! Earth to Cass!" she said, waving her hand in front of my face. 

"Here's a bulletin: you have *never, ever* sounded masculine. Or come off as anything remotely close to masculine. Ev-er!" she said, somehow stretching "ever" into at least a half-dozen syllables, each one more sarcastic than its predecessor.

"Never?" I asked.

"NE-VER," she replied, with emphasis. "You've always been much nicer and more sensitive than I could ever be. Everyone in the family knows it, too. I mean, Mom always asks me why I can't behave more like you, for crying out loud!

"And we won't event get into the fact you and I not only look alike, but we're built alike too. Unlike you and F (our brother). Let's face it… right now you're just finally making things official. No one in the family who really knows you, not even cousins and aunts and uncles, will be all that surprised once they they get over the shock."

As I said, I can always rely on C to give me her unvarnished opinion! It's nice when it happens to be what I need to hear too...


A little theme music, courtesy of Bruce. It's amazing that he only thought this gem was worthy of release as a B-side. IMHO, it's light years better than its A-side, "Fade Away." Apparently he regrets this decision as well; this routinely opened shows on his Tunnel of Love tour in 1988.


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