Now that everyone who needs to know about Natasha knows, and now that Natasha is getting some help to deal with her blue days, I have been able to return my attention more to the other things that I worry about in terms of the kind of world my children will inherit. These worries don't all stem far from transsexualism. In fact, TS is the epicenter of at least one. This is the big one at the moment.
Who is going to kill my spouse and children?
NPR reported today that the number of hate groups is on the rise. While this might be because of the economy and the blame-game of who's taking all the jobs and who's squatting in abandoned homes and such, the fact that we are Jewish and that my spouse is transsexual doesn't make me feel any safer... especially here in Phoenix, where you can't have a dog without paying for a license, but you can have a semi-automatic dangling in the breeze from your hip holster. In my time here, I have met only a small handful of people with whom I might leave my children for a short time (besides my parents and brother). Only two people, who are a couple with two kids, share perhaps 90% of our values (even though she likes the weather here!). They know about Natasha and accept her without reservation. They, by the way, are NOT native to Phoenix.
With everything that is happening in the Middle East (civil wars) and what's going on in Wisconsin (union abolition) and what happened in Tuscon (the shooting), I find myself wondering when the uprising is going to start in America. If we're still in Phoenix, we're screwed! Natasha is starting to look for work outside of teaching. In spite of certain protections in certain states against discrimination about transitioning folks, the person who isn't transitioning is still more likely to get the teaching job. We're thinking of ways to get ourselves moved into more liberal areas... California or Washington maybe (sorry, Vermont. You'll have to wait a little longer)... and into a more liberal line of work. It's a hard road, but for our and our children's sakes, it's safer for us to be somewhere else. Even then, there are people who still hate you for who you are or who your parent is.
I also have issues with the environment. I ask: What kind of air will my children breathe in the future? Will there be a livable environment on the planet in ten years? Will there be wild animals in a few years? Will America dissolve into smaller nation-states? When will the middle-class disappear entirely? Will they ever invent an anti-aging drug?... I could go on.
Every once in a while, I do still have those pangs of worry about having a lesbian spouse. As I drove around today, I noticed that my fingernails were getting a little long and I thought about what it would be like to see Natasha's hands with longer fingernails. It was kind of weird. On the other hand, I also looked at the Pyramid catalog email today and saw a really nice blouse that she would LOVE! So clearly, my worries of the physicality of the transition are not significant. I do, however, continue to worry about the "other." We were planning to write a book after Natasha's transition. We thought it would be beneficial to share our experiences... especially since I'm staying. But recently some woman came out into the public eye as a transsexual and her life is in tatters because of it (ask Natasha. I can't remember her name). As much as we want to help educate people about transsexualism, as much as we would like to help make this a condition that is defended 100% by the ACLU, we have our children, family and friends to think about.
In today's climate of growing intolerance and blame, I fear and distrust the "other" more and more. I feel like our house is a secret hiding place in the middle of a forest that belongs to the enemy.
Last October, there was a terrible hail storm here that spawned several tornadoes outside of Flagstaff. My parents, the kids, Natasha and I were in our minivan when the storm hit. My mother and I looked out into the sky and saw a green, rotating cloud. We didn't say anything aloud because the kids were already terrified of the hailstones pounding against the roof and windows, but we were waiting to see a twister drop down on us. Although it didn't happen, I had a feeling that we would see this kind of weather again next year. I still feel that we might just see a tornado here. Those of you reading this who have known me for a long time know how I feel about the weather and what will and will not kill me. I am afraid that if we are still here, the weather will punish me for not having gotten us out sooner: for not having tried hard enough to change our lives for the better. This is a true fear... and there is very little in this world that scares me. Notice that almost everything else I've written about here was a "worry"? This "fear" may seem pretty out-there, but the weather and I have a strange relationship. Since we moved here, we've noticed that our area of Phoenix is like a weather vortex. Most of the time, the rain and clouds skirt AROUND our area. You can see it happening. On the day of the hail, I had been talking about how much I disliked being in Phoenix and how much I wanted to figure a way out of it. That's when the vortex was breached in a BIG way. I'm putting two and two together here in a spiritual way. I might be wrong scientifically. It may have had NOTHING to do with me. The Northridge, California earthquake in 1994 may have had nothing to do with me, either, but I still think it was interesting that it happened after months of complaining that my career was stagnant while also not doing too much about it myself. Talk about a kick in the butt!!
Anyway, my point is that the vortex... my secret hiding place... is being threatened. I have this urge to take my family and run, but there is nowhere to go. We're stuck for now, until we open the right door. We're searching for that door, and we hope that it safely leads us to a better place (not just physical, you know). :-)