Family Ties

Families are a complicated organism, this is especially true when one is trans. All the emotions, all the politics, the hurts and slights present in the world at large are also present in the family dynamics of those of us that are transgender. To this toxic mix we also have to add a dose of guilt along with potentially a sense of betrayal, when our expectations clash with their actions.

It’s always said that blood is thicker than water, While that may be true in some cases it isn’t a universal truth, it depends entirely on context and expectations based on your particular perspective. Does a hurt delivered by a family member hurt more than the same insult delivered by a stranger, Does their inability to understand your situation allow them to claim the “I had no idea excuse.”

My former brother in law and his wife were incredibly hateful to me when I began to transition and it ended very badly, so naturally their beach house is the location for a Campbell family get together. After the way I was treated I would never go there, and in fact I haven’t had any contact with them for almost three years. There is no doubt in my mind I would not be welcome and absolutely nothing would be accomplished by my showing up.

The trouble I’m having is my obviously unrealistic expectation that family should consider my feelings when planning events like this. I usually find out it second hand, an offhand comment that simply appears in an otherwise innocent conversation.

So I write, dumping all my hurt feelings, my sense of betrayal, my disappointment into poems and blog posts. sometimes they’re angry, sometimes bitter and always somewhat sad. Needless to say the words never make any difference.


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