Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Andy Semler

I was sitting at a local cafe with November yesterday. We're both of the transly nonbinary hormonal assortment (I was AFAB, they were AMAB), and it's pretty obvious that we're close to each other.  This particular cafe is one where everyone knows my mother's name, as she's been going there several times a week since it opened over a decade ago.  I rarely visit, but when I do, I can count on somebody recognizing me too, thanks to her.  We went there to caffeinate ourselves after an important morning appointment that left us with no time for our regular homemade coffee.  Of course, my mom stopped in and we chatted a bit and she left as quickly as she came, eager to get on with the rest of her busy day.  After she walked away, another decade-long regular approached us.  I remembered him from years ago, but he clearly did not recognize me. He asked us our names, and then asked if we were brothers.  I said no, we're actually going to be married in a couple months, and that Janice is my mother.  He got very confused, and attempted to ask some sort of question, but could not find the words. "So you're..."  "Not yet married, but will be soon. You know Janice, right?"  He stood there a few more seconds, noises squeaking out as though they wanted to be words, and then finally turned away to rejoin the table with his drink.  Honestly this is a pretty typical interaction for Warsaw Indiana.

I grew up in a very religious household; attended private Christian school k-9 (public school 10-12), went to church twice a week.  I read the Bible so many times in my childhood that I think I wouldn’t need to read it ever again and I’d still know way more than most people about what’s actually written in it.  My dad didn’t believe that gay people existed (I guess he thought they were making it up?).  So it took me a while to realize that I really was attracted to more than one gender, and that there really wasn’t anything wrong with me for not feeling like a girl/woman.

My first marriage lasted 4 years, and that’s where Mountain comes from.  I was in the Air Force, then we tried to move to Italy to live with his family (and failed), and it was overall a chaotic relationship.  I kept trying to be the perfect sexy wife for him, and while it was sometimes fun, it was really not a way I could live my life.  I kinda figured out who I was after I left him, but didn’t know what steps I wanted to take in life just yet.

My next marriage seemed like a step up, because he claimed to accept who I was and never questioned that… but he became more and more sexually abusive, so gradually I didn’t realize what was happening till after he finally left.  That whole time, I was at an insurance brokerage for 6 years, started out as a receptionist then got my license to be an insurance service representative.  I slowly eased into dressing the way I wanted to, and they didn’t exactly like it, but I was their best employee so they let it slide.

After we moved here, I vowed I’d never live that way again.  No more trying to make other people happy by changing who I am for them.  I’m really glad I finally have someone who supports me and loves me for who I am.  Our wedding was scheduled for June 4, but November is feeling like their anxiety disorder would probably not allow for them to have a relaxed and happy time with people watching them, so we will probably do a private ceremony June 3 and then re-purpose the building we reserved at the park for a picnic.  My friend suggested that since June is LGBT pride month, we should have a Pride Picnic.  I worried that family and friends would be sad that we uninvited them all (so to speak), but they are very loving and supportive.  I am overwhelmed with how much love I have in my life.  A decade ago, I felt so lost and disconnected, and now I am part of a supportive community.

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