I figured I'd better get out of the house today, before the next storm hit. E.M. at the secondhand book store had e-mailed to say she'd be working on changing the window displays over for February. The big focus is on Valentine's Day. I thought I remembered us having doilies from last year. Indeed we had heart doilies in red and white, and various other paper hearts and such. Some of them even said "Romance Half Off" on them. E.M. had made signs that said the same, that all romance novels were 50% off in February. I put doilies and half-off signs in great profusion over the romance shelves. In fact, it looked rather like a doily explosion.
Next I headed towards the GLBT organization meeting at [local university]. I had called H. and S. H. said she'd come if her homework was under control. S. didn't answer his phone. I said, "I would have died of shock if you'd actually answered your phone, but if you're coming to the meeting, I'll go to say hi to you." I had brought in more books to donate to the organization, and was busy moving empty cardboard boxes(?) off the bottom bookshelf and putting books on the bookshelves.
J, who I'd known as J(male name) came in, and I said, "Hi, J(male name)."
"Oh, you startled me," J said. I suppose, as I was this little voice from down on the floor by the bookshelves, and not visible from outside the door.
I finished putting the books on the shelves. "I made kind of a mess by taking out this big empty cardboard box and a cardboard box with really random things in it." J looked at the cardboard box with random things in it, and identified a couple of pairs of shoes worn for various drag things. Anyway, I left J figuring that stuff out and headed over to the meeting.
I didn't recognize most of the people, so I just took a chair at the far end of the circle by myself. Then S. and I saw each other, and he said, "Do you want to come over here, or do you want me to come over there?" I was touched. I went over there by him, and my secret love child immediately started catching me up on what was going on with him, until the meeting officially started.
The president of the organization, R., said, "It's our first official meeting of the semester," and introduced her vice-president, V. "S. is going to help me lead this meeting," R. said. It was coming-out stories day, and I hoped that my presence wouldn't inhibit the students from speaking. I didn't notice them being particularly inhibited.
They had stories of great courage, and some were hilariously delivered. I wish I remembered much more, but the one student said that his brother(?) said, "So you're a pole-smoker."
The student replied, "I wouldn't use that terminology, but yes." Anyway, I nearly fell off my seat laughing several times. There were sad parts of some stories, too, of kids being relentlessly taunted in school, and one mentioning having suicidal thoughts in sixth grade. But almost everybody ended on an upbeat note.
One male student shared that he was only attracted to straight guys, and hated himself for it, that he wasn't attracted to gay guys. I wanted to tell him that was hardly unheard of, but others beat me to it.
J, who I'd known as J(male name), said ze was just known as J now. I felt bad about calling hir by the male name before the meeting, but I didn't know. J said that ze was only attracted to men, but didn't feel male or female. I was not surprised that J was now coming out as genderqueer. Ze had said things along those lines towards the end of the last school year, plus it not being surprising if you'd ever watched hir mannerisms or talked to hir.
I had taken J as male-bodied but girly in the time I'd known hir by J(male name). It's nice that J had the opportunity to learn a lot about gender, and realize hir options. J, by the way, wants people to use the pronoun J or use "they" or "their" in referring to hir. I'm just using gender-neutral pronouns here, as J doesn't know my LJ name.
There were several young transmen in various stages of transition. I guess transmen as a group mostly used to just be taken as short men, bearded once they took testosterone. I think that a lot are realizing it earlier, too. Most said their parents weren't surprised, that they'd said they were boys when they were little. Most of the students generally seemed to be out, and several said their parents weren't surprised. J said hir dad said (imitates a deep male voice), "Well, we're not thrilled," but that hir parents were basically okay with it. That was when ze came out as gay. I'm not sure if they know about the genderqueer part yet.
Several allies, all women, shared their stories as allies. I thought some of the language used was a little awkward, but they were sincere, and were applauded as everyone who shared their stories was.
I shared my story rather late along the line, about how I'd figured I was straight because I had crushes on guys, then realized a few years later that I got crushes on girls, too. When I came out as bisexual to Mom, she said, "You're just saying that to fit in with your gay friends." It would have been a hell of a way to actually try to fit in, as my lesbian peers at the time had issues with bisexuals, and would say that you weren't a "real woman" if you weren't a lesbian.
Anyway, I said that my reaction to Mom was, "Whatever. If you don't want to believe it, don't believe it."
When I told Dad, he said, "It must run in the family," then wandered off, leaving me confused about that statement for years.
S. said he loved my dad's reaction. I said, "I was like, WTF?" Dad often leaves people saying "WTF?" generally, so I've come to realize it's certainly not just me.
After the meeting, I went to meet my prospective roommate, but I think that will be another entry.