It was one of those wet blustery days where if you own a pair of purple patent faux leather boots, you must wear them. I like purple, and I like shiny. Nobody loses when one wears such boots on a grey afternoon.
So our family and my boots dashed in the rain from our car into a nearby coffee shop. While crossing the street 7 women on an afternoon outing were heading towards us with the same idea. One in particular seemed obviously drawn to my purple boots. She eyed me off jealously, and I thanked her with a smile
We headed in and made our way through the crowd to order something warm and delightful. At which point I realized the group of 7 women were in various stages of transitioning from men. One particularly unfortunate wig choice caught my attention.
We ordered, we ate, we left. Other families seemed to enjoy the scene a little more than their food and stared forgetting that any of these 7 women had real life human feelings. I was horrified at their horror, judgmental stares and sniggers, and mentioned it quietly to my husband after we had left.
10 year old ears pricked up., as 10 year old ears do. “Who was staring? What were they staring at? Why were they being mean?” I gave my short reply, not really wanting to go into it all on a blustery street corner. “Oh that family were staring at a group of transgendered people like they’d never seen anyone like it before”…..
“How did you know they were transgendered?” she asks- I go on about how one was checking out my boots and I noticed her wig………and I babbled on about being born in the wrong body, never feeling fully themselves, the need for people to be authentic, having compassion for those who struggle…..fully seizing this perfect Saturday afternoon teachable moment.
“But why” she asked. A little frustrated I began again to go over my main points about how brave it is to stand in your truth when others don’t understand – when she interrupted me and said.
“No, not why are they transitioning” she said equally frustrated, as if it was all too obvious
“But why was she checking out your boots?”
Apparently the boots required a whole lot more explaining.