I’ve learned many lessons over the last six years or so. Lessons that I’m still learning today. One of the trickiest things to navigate is the language. At first, it was what pronouns to use when. And of course I would slip up and feel like shit when I did, but I learned early on that with words the only way to determine what was appropriate was sometimes to be incorrect, take the foot out of my mouth, and move on. In doing so, I was able to be forgiving and lenient towards others when they would misuse a word. The language was new to them. We were all learning.
A big stumbling block for me and still is still today.. what to call Dana. Just using her name was a significant change and took some getting used to. I use the word ‘partner’ quite a bit, even though that has been misconstrued at times to be understood that she is my work partner like we run a law firm together. Intellectually I know that the proper language is to say ‘wife’ but inherently I have not been able to bring myself to do that. It is too odd for me. It feels the same way I would like at my dog and call him my cat. I have referred to Dana (Scott) as my husband for over 25 years and its impossible for me to say that simple four letter word, wife. And that’s okay. I also learned that during this journey, I must permit myself to accept what I can’t do. This is one of those free passes. What has worked well for me is to use the word ‘dear.’ That’s actually my favorite word to use because I used it before the change and it is nice to have still that endearment to use. It feels comfortable.
Words are so tricky, and I’m still learning the new language. A great example occurred just earlier this week. I published my first blog post in over a year earlier this week. The very next day was a moment that reminded me that I’m still learning to navigate and maneuver my way around the transgender world. In my blog post, I referenced my partners “sexual reassignment surgery.” In reading over some of the lovely comments from readers the term “gender confirmation surgery” was used to describe my partner’s medical procedure. Gender confirmation surgery? What? Being the queen of Google that I am, I typed in the above words into the search engine and immediately found a wonderful article on Huffington Post written by a plastic surgeon. In this article, he writes “Merriam-Webster’s defines “confirmation” as follows: “confirming proof; corroboration; the process of supporting a statement by evidence.” That said if such surgery helps confirm the way a person feels he or she was meant to be, shouldn’t the name reflect that truth?” Wow, I felt like an idiot. Of course “gender confirmation surgery” is such a better term to use than “sexual reassignment surgery.”
It bothered me for a bit that I would actually publish a blog post and create such a blunder. After reflecting on it some more though I let it go. And I purposely didn’t go back to edit it either. No matter how long I’ve been in this new world, it will take time to learn the lingo. If you are new to this as well, no matter how long you’ve traveled this path, making mistakes are okay, it’s how we learn.