Transgender Day of Visibility

trans day of visibility

I made this for Jeremy today while zie went out to Rona to look for “stuff” in general and “needed things” in particular. I’m reasonably sure zie was simply looking for anything to spend money on but zie came home happy with two new plants (both lilies and both well out of the way of our cats) and two wall adaptors that allow zir to plug light bulbs directly into an outlet. I had no idea these were necessities but apparently they are.

Jeremy came home and informed me that zie’s been thinking a lot about zir gender lately and zie’s decided gender is not very important to zir personally.

“I don’t mind when people call me he or him and I’m fine with people calling me she or saying I’m a girl,” Jeremy mused as zie gently pet one of our cats.

“What do you think about me using zie and zir for pronouns?” I asked then watched as zir mouth widened into a huge smile.

“I like those pronouns,” Jeremy said firmly.

Of course it isn’t as simple as that. It bothers zir intensely when people assume zie’s male and persistently refer to zir as he/him. Jeremy’s still furious with zir teachers for constantly referring to zir as a boy and snapped a few days ago when zir father referred to zir as son.

Jeremy’s not male, zie’s pangender so is all genders. And zie is so much more than that. Zie’s a gamer… a computer geek… a Whovian… a cat person… an RC car enthusiast… and someone with a passion for chocolate, flowers, and purple.

Zie’s too fabulous to be invisible!

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Life… and all that stuff…

Jeremy’s off visiting zir sister Emma for the day, leaving the apartment quiet… almost overwhelmingly so. Jeremy is not a quiet person. Zie putters all day, long building elaborate water systems for zir plants, upgrading zir computer, and rebuilding zir remote control cars.

plant watering system

This is only half of zir plant watering system.

Jeremy is not quiet during any of this. Zie either has zir music on, a video, or both and zie talks to zirself the whole time. Zie answers zirself too… holding complete conversations. The only time there’s silence is when zie puts on headphones, at least until zie laughs.

I’ve made the most of my quiet day. So far I’ve taken a nap, made myself chocolate pudding, and done some scrapbooking; including a layout of one of my favourite pictures of Jeremy. It’s a selfie zie took last September at the beach.

Colin

And now I’m finally settling down to write before zie gets home. I’ve been meaning to write here for a while but life got hectic. The biggest change is my job; I transferred to a closer location. This is amazing for us because the store is a five minute walk from home instead of an hour long bus ride. At the same time, it’s a huge change for me.

I don’t handle change well *huge understatement*. I left a store where I’d worked for six years. I knew the rules, the location of everything, and all the people. I had coworkers who would hug me as soon as I got to work and coworkers who waved and said “bye” when I left. I knew most of our regulars (and we had regulars that treated the store like their second home).

I’ve lived here for three years and had previously been in the new store four times. Once to drop off a resume, once to pick up tickets to Canada’s Wonderland, and twice to order food. I was so not a regular. I didn’t know a single person who worked there either. I spent just over a week fretting that I made the worst decision of my life. Then I went to leave work one afternoon and several of my coworkers smiled and said “bye” while my supervisor looked sad and said, “you’re leaving already?”. I think it’ll be okay.

The part that’s better than okay is Jeremy. This job means that I wake up at the time I previously had to leave and am home before I used to get on my first bus back. Jeremy sees me for almost two additional hours a day and knows, if zie’s really lonely, zie can meet me at work. Zir mood has perked up dramatically. Zir sleeping is still horrible but a pleasant mood makes up for a lot!

I’m moving forward in other ways too. I got my passport and bought a plane ticket so I can visit L in 201 more days (and 1 hour and 30 minutes)!!! Plus I’ve filed for a divorce from my emotionally abusive ex-husband. As expected, he did not take this well. Since Jeremy is the one who served him, zie got stuck listening to him rant about how much he hates me and how he wants to buy me a one way ticket to London.

Jeremy rolled zir eyes when zie told me this. “I don’t think Dad understands how immigration works,” zie said dryly.

My ex called a short time later wanting to know how he can file a counter claim… for a simple divorce. We’ve been separated for fifteen years, I have no idea what he could want to counter claim about. Child support has long been hashed out and he’s 15 years behind in that. Custody has been dealt with as well. Besides, Jeremy’s almost nineteen years old, I’m reasonably sure any judge would laugh in his face if he wants to renegotiate custody.

Then the call moved back to Jeremy.

“He’s my son!” my ex retorted.

That’s when I lost it.

“Zie is not your son!” I snapped back. “Zie is your teen.”

“What?” his tone was both angry and confused, not a good combination with him. But it was too late to back down now even if I wanted to. Which I didn’t.

“Jeremy isn’t male so zie isn’t your son. And zie doesn’t use he or him for pronouns.”

“Jeremy has never told me this,” my ex replied haughtily. “Until he tells me himself that he doesn’t want me to call him my son, I’m going to continue to use male pronouns.”

That was it. I held the phone out to Jeremy, who’d been sitting beside me the whole time.

“What pronouns do you want your Dad to use?” I asked. I’d expected a quiet zie and zir.

“I am not male!” Jeremy said forcefully. “I don’t want to be called he and him. I want you to use zie and zir.”

I put the phone back against my ear. “Did you hear zir?”

I’ve never heard anyone splutter before but that’s definitely what he was doing. “That doesn’t count! It doesn’t count until I feel like asking him what pronouns he wants me to use. Until then I’m going to keep on using he and him.”

If you ever wanted to know what Jeremy’s father is like, this conversation sums him up completely. Along with the fact that he’s been arguing with Jeremy for weeks now, telling zir that we need to carpet bomb the entire Middle East. That “we” is presumably North America and not the two of them, but with my ex it’s hard to tell. The good thing is, he has nothing more flammable than his own flatulence and a cigarette lighter. Jeremy keeps trying to explain to him that there are millions of innocent people there but zir Dad isn’t overly concerned about things like morality and ethics. Unsurprisingly Jeremy has been cutting zir visits short and they weren’t exactly long to begin with.

With any luck, in another month I can start planning my divorce party. I’ll post pictures of the cake once it’s made.

I should have some sort of conclusion to put here but we’ve got thunderstorms rolling in and I just took a couple of Advil so you’ll have to settle for “The End” and a picture of Jeremy posing with zir Easter dinner.

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Happy spring!

The End!

Jeremy’s fabulous room…

Back in the spring I painted my bedroom and blithely announced that Jeremy’s room would be next. I figured we’d be painting zir room within the month but every time it was cleaned zie’d trash it within days. Plus I’d bring up painting and Jeremy would insist zir room was just fine the way it was and zie certainly didn’t need paint. Just buy zir a video game instead. Like zie needs any more.

I thought about how nervous I’d been when I first started painting. I was terrified I’d made a horrible mistake and I’d end up hating my room. The reverse was true. I settled down to tell Jeremy just that and promised it would be the same for zir. The next day we found purple floral sheers on clearance at Giant Tiger, which Jeremy loved, and then zie was tentatively on board.

We bought Palace Purple paint then settled into painting. Or more honestly, I settled into painting while Jeremy drew happy faces on the wall.

happy face

Jeremy was disappointed because I apparently took a picture of zir worst happy face.

After reminding zir a few times to focus and actually paint, I went into the kitchen to make dinner then came back to discover zie’d painted about three quarters of the room. I was right *jots this down in my calendar* Jeremy saw zir favourite colour and suddenly painting seemed a whole lot more important. I went to work the next day and came home to discover zie’d bought a new can of paint and was busily painting the final corners.

“Take a look around Mom. Can you see any spots I missed?” Jeremy asked as soon as I walked in the door. I peered inside with my work shoes still on.

“The trim there,” I said pointing at a pale spot on the wall, “and that corner there. Otherwise it looks good!” Zie quickly hurried to paint those last two spots.

We got all zir furniture back in place that night, which is good because zie was diagnosed with bronchitis the next day. Talk about timing! At least Jeremy could collapse into bed with all zir stuffed animals and not trip on paint supplies on zir way. The hardest part for me was I wasn’t there. Zie called me on my break to say zie really wasn’t feeling well and thought it would be good to see the doctor. I suggested which walk in clinic to visit then went back on the floor and waited for zir call. Jeremy’s both trans and autistic, I did not wait well, but the doctor was amazing and zie came home with a prescription for antibiotics (and had those filled too by the time I got home).

Yesterday was Thanksgiving here in Canada. It’s a harvest festival loosely based on a minor religious celebration in England. I don’t know what it’s like there but here it’s a time for family feasts and going for walks to look at the autumn splendour. My parents came over for dinner and a short walk through the nearby park, short because my Dad hasn’t fully recovered from February. Then my Dad and Jeremy hung up zir new floral curtains.

installing the curtain rod

Everyone was suitably impressed that Jeremy’s drill has a built in light.

And, with that, Jeremy’s room was done. Well, done until zir next big project at least. This is zir room before…

before

The pictures were hung primarily to hide the holes left by the previous tenant, who had mounted some pretty heavy electronics. The blinds were from the previous tenant too.

And this is Jeremy’s room now…

the finished room

The paint’s not perfect and at some point zie’ll have to touch up the heater but it looks good and zie loves it. Jeremy picked it all out, from the paint colour to the wall art to the stuffed animals. This room is zirs…

candles2

… and it looks fabulous!

Missing my rainbow…

I can’t remember the last time I heard Jeremy proclaim, “… because I’m fab-u-lous!”

I can’t remember the last time zie desperately needed a decoration for zir room just because it sparkled.

I can’t remember the last time zie skipped with happiness or gestured, zir hands flying like birds.

It was just over a year ago that zie stopped shaving zir legs and armpits.

“I forgot,” zie told me with a shrug. “I don’t feel like it,” zie said months later. I didn’t want to push. It’s zir body.

It was just under a year ago that the final flakes of toe polish faded away. Zie panicked when I offered to replace it.

I questioned zir about the perfume yesterday. “I ran out,” Jeremy said offhandedly. Zie never mentioned it or asked for a replacement.

Last year zie loved to watch home improvement shows. Last year zie wanted a purple chandelier with crystals and a red sequin pillow and talked about when zir room was painted purple. This year Jeremy begs me to buy a computer part or video game instead of paint.

“I don’t need my room fixed up,” zie assures me. “I don’t care if my room’s painted.”

The teen who perched on the edge of our couch yelling at the people on t.v because they had to pick the house with granite countertops now furnishes zir room with other people’s leftovers; telling me a chair with no back is perfectly fine.

Jeremy walked into my room and lay on my bed, curled on zir side.

“Mom? Do you need anything at Metro?” Zir voice was almost low enough to be a whisper but too monotone.

I looked outside at the dark sky. I work tomorrow and am already in my pyjamas. My plans involve sprawling on top of my covers and reading before turning my lights out by 9:30pm. No, I didn’t need anything from the grocery store at that point.

“No, sunshine,” I told zir, as gently as I could manage. “We have food here.”

“But nothing I want,” zie replied petulantly.

“You could fry up some Gardein crispy chicken,” I pointed out.

Zie sat up and blurted, “But I don’t want that.” Zir voice crept closer to panicked.

There’s one comfort food Jeremy still consistently enjoys. “How about popcorn?” I asked and was relieved when zie relaxed. Jeremy panicked moments later when zie couldn’t find part of the popcorn machine. Luckily I found it fairly quickly.

I’m not writing as much about Jeremy this year. How many times can I blog about zir hiding in zir room watching videos? How many times can I blog about zir crying and saying zie doesn’t know why? How many times can I say zie didn’t sleep again last night?

Three more weeks until we see our family doctor. Three more weeks until I can ask for a referral to a psychiatrist. The EffexorXR isn’t helping zir nearly as much as it’s helping me.

I miss my rainbow. I want the sparkle back in my world. I want Jeremy to feel fabulous again.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Too sweet for words… even before the gummy bear earrings.

Excitement over electronics…

If there’s one thing Jeremy loves, it’s electronics. If something involves wires and circuits, it’s amazing. Beyond amazing… it’s the best thing ever. If you add solar panels, lights, or sound you can watch Jeremy soar to the stratosphere with excitement.

The two of us went for a walk on Friday night. We were in the middle of our local green space, talking about camping, when I suddenly realized our camping spot at Unicamp might not have electricity. We’ve never camped without electricity before. We camp in my parents’ tent trailer which has built in fans, ceiling lights, a sink, and a tiny electric fridge plus I bring a toaster so I can make english muffins for breakfast. Most importantly, we can plug in our phone chargers. You know… really roughing it. We’re going camping for a week this July. I’m lucky if my phone lasts for six hours. I can take pictures on my real camera but can’t exactly send L 50 odd smoke signals a day.

“Jeremy? Where did we see that solar panel charger?” I asked idly. I should have known better because there’s nothing idle about Jeremy and electronics. But I knew we’d seen one recently and for a reasonable price too.

“Oh! At that new discount store! We should go there tonight and pick one up!” If zie could have opened a portal right there to the mall zie would have.

“It’s probably going to be too late tonight,” I pointed out. “I’m pretty sure the store closes at 8pm and it’s 7 o’clock now.”

Jeremy nodded and we walked a bit further down the trail. Suddenly zie let out a moan and staggered a little.

“What’s wrong?” I blurted, automatically checking for blood and/or dismemberment. I always go right to the worst case scenario. Everything looked okay but Jeremy had complained of a stomach ache before eating. Zie’d been fine ever since and did say it was probably from hunger. Maybe it had come back?

“These sandals are giving me a blister.” Zie slipped zir foot out of one shoe and showed me a blister. It looked fairly old and I thought it was from zir last pair, the ones we’d thrown out a week earlier, but it wasn’t like I’d sat there counting them and marking their locations.

“We can go home,” I pointed out, trying not to look longingly at the trail ahead. We’d only just started our walk and it was gorgeous out.

“It’s okay,” zie replied, “I can go a bit further.” Jeremy’s tone made it sound like zie was dragging zirself across the finish line by zir fingernails.

“There’s a short cut just up ahead,” I reminded zir. Jeremy perked right up.

walking

We walked slowly toward home, stopping so I could take pictures of the trilliums and Jeremy could drive zir newest remote control car. It wasn’t until we were back on the sidewalk and zir car battery died that zie remembered the solar panel charger.

“We need to go to that store,” zie said urgently.

I slid my phone out and shook my head. “There’s only 20 minutes left until the store closes and we’re at least 15 minutes from home. We can go tomorrow after work.”

“I might not make it but I have to try.” Jeremy’s voice was firm and zie started walking even faster. Zie’s almost a foot taller than me, there was no way I was going to keep up.

“If you’re going to leave me behind, could you at least give me back my apartment keys?”

Jeremy rummaged through zir bag then handed them to me before running off. I watched zir sprint away without even a suggestion of a limp then shook my head and continued home.

Jeremy called as soon as I walked in the door to let me know they no longer had the solar panel charger and was going to check out Value Village just in case. It wasn’t a surprise when zie called back less than five minutes later.

“Mom, guess what I found at Value Village???”

“A puppy?” I had to guess something. Jeremy expects an answer even if there’s no way I could know. One thing I knew for sure was zie hadn’t found a charger there.

“No,” zir voice dripped with scorn. “I found a broadband radio!!!”

This was presumably the best thing in the world although I had no idea why.

“O-kayy? And this is good because?”

Mo-om… it means I can listen to both AM and FM radio and it has a CD drive and it has a USB port so I can plug in my MP3 player or my phone and it has a light!!!! I can add it to my kitchen!!!”

The light was the best part. Jeremy has been planning zir own kitchen for about three years now. Zie has plans to someday build a counter in zir room for a tassimo, some sort of tiny sink, and a bar fridge. The plans get more elaborate by the day although nothing’s been placed on paper yet.

“I can attach it underneath the counter instead of adding pot lights and I can play music there! And the best part is it’s only $8 and they’re usually a hundred dollars so I’m saving $92!!! And I’ve been wanting it forever!!!”

Which makes forever a lot shorter than I thought considering I’d never heard zir mention one before.

“You have no money so you’re not spending anything,” I pointed out.

“Okay, you’re saving $92.”

Technically I wasn’t saving anything because I’d never had any plans to buy a broadband radio. I was spending $8. But it wasn’t worth telling this to Jeremy.

“What happened to yesterday when I bought you that pair of purple headphones because yours broke and you kept borrowing mine? You said you wouldn’t ask me for anything all week.”

Jeremy was nearly in tears. “I know Mom and I’m sorry. It’s just stuff goes so fast here and I might not get another chance to get one of these again. Please!!! I’ve wanted one forever and we might never see one at this price again!”

I gave one of those full lung sighs. “Okay, fine,” I said reluctantly.

“Oh yay!!!! Thanks Mom, you’re the best! And I promise I won’t ask for anything else for the rest of this month!!!!!”

Sunday we went out to buy some more paint for my bedroom and took a walk through Marshalls, one of Jeremy’s favourite stores.

“Oh wow Mom look!!! They have a bluetooth keyboard for phones and tablets and it’s purple!!!! I’ve been wanting one of these forever!!!!!”

“You promised you wouldn’t ask me for anything else this month,” I reminded zir and got a sheepish smile.

“I know,” zie said ruefully. “I’m just not good at stuff like that.”

Jeremy might have no concept of forever but at least zie knows zir limitations.

Now Jeremy’s cleaning zir room after telling me zie’s going for “style over functionality”. I’m scared to look. Zie says it’ll be fabulous.

Do I count?

This conversation happened several months ago when Jeremy was still identifying as bisexual for his sexual orientation and mostly male and a bit female for his gender. He’s currently identifying as completely 100% straight (as long as there’s no lie detector around) and still identifying as mostly male and a bit female for gender.

I can’t remember how the conversation started; Jeremy and I banter back and forth regularly which means our conversations ramble. I do remember we were discussing the word “fabulous” and somehow the conversation sidetracked to how the LGBTQ community has claimed the word.

“That’s my word,” Jeremy protested with a grin. The grin faded.

“Mom?” he asked seriously. “If I’m only interested in men a little and I only feel a little like a woman, do I count?”

Do I count?

I felt like I’d been punched in the gut; which hasn’t happened often but it’s a sensation that’s not easily forgotten. I sat silent and breathless, his words echoed through my mind, bringing tears to my eyes. They still do.

My first thought was that I can’t speak for the LGBTQ community at all. Then I looked into his eyes and thought “fuck it”.

“Yes Jeremy, of course you count,” I assured him.

His smile was fabulous.