Monday, January 12, 2009

Welcome to my kitchen!

Hi everyone! Welcome to my kitchen!

I like to talk while I'm in my kitchen, maybe about politics, maybe about philosophy, perhaps even swapping a recipe or two. It's a warm and friendly place for me and I hope it will be for others too. Why a kitchen? Certainly not to promote stereotypes. I think the kitchen is a place where community can truly be formed. Within families, with friends, with neighbors. The combination of good food and drink along with conversation, both serious and silly, seems to me to be the most conducive to making, maintaining and nurturing relationships.

I suppose I ought to introduce myself. Here's what I tell people about myself when I'm in a chat room that I help moderate:

Emelye is a woman who is pretty much done transitioning (except for one last annoying detail - grrrr!) and who lives her mundane life with her spouse, and an orange cat named Jeeter, in Southwestern New York State. She started living full time as her true self in August of ‘07. She has a wide range of interests and will talk about almost anything. She loves to answer questions because it makes her look smart!

So yeah, I am a trans woman. I'll talk a lot about that, I'm sure. I'm also married to a wonderful woman who has stuck by me through my entire transition. I'll be telling some stories about what we've gone through these past three years as I have transitioned. It's mainly for her sake that I use a pseudonym, Emelye Waldherr is not my legal name. I've found that people have been very willing to vocally condemn and abandon her as friends (and family) while at the same time being unwilling or afraid to come to me directly, something that has alternately made me weep with frustration and guilt or shake with anger. As with many (most?) spouses who stay with their transitioned partners, she has suffered the greatest loss, one she never could have imagined when we married. To have her suffer this addional inequity often makes my blood boil.

That said, we have now been able to work our way through to new life that is significantly different from our old one in many ways yet strikingly similar to the "old days" in even more ways. I still go to work. She still stays home. We still have friends and family even though the composition of that group has changed markedly. We still try to make our way through life much the same way as we did before. Funny that, go figure.

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