It was April 1st. My Mom called right as I sat down for my break, which was odd as she knew I was at work.
“I just wanted to give you a head’s up,” she said when I answered the phone. “Your ex called and he’s on the warpath. He wanted to know why he hadn’t been told that Jeremy’s transgender. I told him you haven’t been shy about telling people, that you’ve been really open. And when was the last time he saw Jeremy?”
I hoped for a brief second this was an April Fool’s prank but that’s not my Mom’s style. I was, however, impressed by how she’d handled him. Way to go Mom!
“He made all sorts of excuses about living far away,” she continued, “and he’s talking about moving back down in June.”
Just in time for Jeremy’s birthday. You can imagine how thrilled Jeremy is about that. The story he gave my Mom is that I showed up in his suggested friend’s list then he clicked on my picture and saw my latest post. I had just posted about Jeremy but that was set to friends only plus I’d blocked both his accounts.
I called Jeremy at school to warn zir (first time zie’d attended in over a week) then I went to message Emma. I started typing just as their Dad called and I accidentally accepted his call. I hadn’t meant to accept it, not with 30 seconds left on my break.
“I couldn’t have just shown up on your page,” I pointed out in exasperation during the call. “I’ve got both your accounts blocked.”
“Well I’ve got a lot of accounts on Facebook,” he replied. I hadn’t realized until then that a smirk could be heard through the phone. He promised me he’d call back soon to discuss Jeremy’s gender. It sounded more like a threat.
Jeremy seemed fine when I warned zir at school but I came home to a weepy teen who desperately needed hugs. We headed out shopping as a distraction then a thought struck me as we left. I’d woke to a friend request that morning, which wasn’t unusual except the person didn’t have any friends in common. I messaged Emma immediately to ask her if the person showed up as a friend of their Dad. She sent me a screen shot less than a minute later of the person’s friend’s list with her Dad right there. By then I’d already deleted the request but still felt creeped out. There was no way the request was coincidental.
We checked out a new liquidation centre that opened up by our place and Jeremy ecstatically found a remote control car to replace the one zie accidentally broke this winter while driving it over a slushy snow bank.
“Look! It has real working headlights! And there’s seats inside and a dashboard that even shows the radio and bumpers and a real suspension.” Zie flipped the car over and bounced the wheels up and down. “This is the coolest car ever!”
I couldn’t afford to buy zir anything right now. “Go see how much it costs,” I said and zie hurried off.
“It’s twenty dollars!” zie yelled as zie ran back, hugging the car against zir chest.
I still couldn’t afford it but this was the happiest I’d seen zir in ages. “Okay,” I said and watched zir smile grow enormous.
“I can drive my car all through Toronto tomorrow,” zie pointed out when we got home.
We had plans of going downtown and watching parliament in action, seeing the Ontario government decide on whether to pass Bill 77 on to committee. Bill 77 is a bill to stop conversion therapy on LGBTQ children and youths in Ontario. It was important to have supporters in the gallery.
I looked at the car and figured we’d get to Toronto early and make a few detours through city parks. Then I checked the bus and train times and finally the train tickets. That was when I felt like crying… almost $40 just for the train tickets alone. I hadn’t realized the price had gone up by that much.
“It’s okay Mom,” Jeremy reassured me. “We can stay home and I can drive my car through the park.”
That’s why community’s important and valued. I vented on Facebook about how horrible the day had been and immediately had two people volunteer to give me some money so Jeremy and I could go downtown. I accepted the first volunteer (thanks again!).
“Yay!” Jeremy yelled. “My car can drive by all the tall buildings!”
We had a marvellous time in Toronto. Jeremy got to drive zir car through Cloud Garden’s greenhouse…
… and then we walked down University Avenue right to the circle.
I knew where Queen’s Park was but had never been there before, which had me sending frantic messages to a friend from the Parents of Transgender Children group.
“Do you see the government building?” she asked. I looked around at about a half dozen of them.
“Do you mean the reddish one?” I sent back hesitantly. Which it was.
We ended up on opposite ends of the building but finally met and were herded in for our gallery passes along with a youth who was also coming to view Bill 77’s debate.
Then we had to give up pretty much everything. No cameras, no cell phones, no pens or paper, no food (including water). We weren’t allowed to write or draw or clap. I got told to stop pointing out architectural details to Jeremy in case it disturbed the people two stories below. Then Jeremy noticed the brass finial in front of us looked a bit like a penis and testicles and we got told to stop whispering and giggling. Oops. Finally they moved on to the bill we’d been waiting for and it was overwhelmingly positive. Person after person stood up and gave the bill glowing comments. Several brought up their own struggles as LGBTQ youths. All insisted it was important to protect children and assure them there was nothing wrong with being themselves.
We left as soon as the debate finished (if such a unified front can be called a debate). They hadn’t voted yet but Jeremy and zir new friend were bored (and quite frankly so was I). By then we’d been hanging out in the gallery for almost two hours.
We met up with another friend from the group and her children (who’d sat amazingly well for that whole time) before heading our separate ways.
“The best part is we got home to find out that Bill 77 passed unanimously. They’re hoping to have it finalized for Pride week in June!
And my ex called during our train ride. It turns out he saw my video from February about raising a trans kid (one of the very few things set to public on my personal page). He wanted to know who “zir” was then informed me he’d never refer to Jeremy as anything other than his son unless Jeremy had surgery and then he’d start referring to Jeremy as she; totally ignoring Jeremy’s actual gender identity. Once again he didn’t ask to speak to Jeremy, saying he’d call that weekend. I looked at Jeremy sitting directly across from me and knew he wouldn’t. But at least that call is over with and I won’t need to misgender Jeremy during our infrequent phone conversations anymore.
Poor Jeremy. Zie was so happy with zir new car and went out twice a day, every day, to drive it in the nearby park. Then zie went out with me yesterday to pick up cat food and drove it ahead of us on the sidewalk. It was one of those “I can’t believe it’s happening” moments. Jeremy drove zir car across the entrance to a nearby strip mall and into the grass beside the pavement just as someone drove up over the curb and across the grass crushing the hood of zir car. Ironically enough the car still works but the whole hood is gone… and we’d bought the last one at a clearance outlet. Zie spent most of last night crying and was upset and agitated through zir whole counselling session today. We’ve looked at a few cars online but zie waffled over them all. I think the hardest part for zir was the person didn’t even apologize… just looked at us holding all the little car parts and walked away.
I’m off this Thursday, maybe I’ll find something then.