I’ve written on here before about how supportive my dad was when I came out to him and my mum back in the summer. Since then, me being trans has rarely been mentioned by either of them. But we had a little progress yesterday.
Before I came out, back in August, one of my biggest concerns was the reaction of people I know at the little non-league football club I support. It’s a tiny club in the eighth tier of the pyramid and I’ve been going along since about 1995.
Even if the football’s rarely of high quality, most of the people there are, and I’ve made some really good friends over the past couple of decades.
But this is a little town and most of the people who go are what you might call “men’s men” – I imagined most of them wouldn’t have any truck with issues such as people being transgender.
Many of the people there are simple chaps. They like a gallon of Stella, they live for their football and they make their voices heard at the football. It’s not unusual to hear shouts of “Get up, ya poof!” if an opposition player goes down. “Have you chipped ya nail varnish?” was another jibe I heard a few weeks back.
But apart from a few raised eyebrows at my first match back after coming out – and one subtle wig joke – I’ve had no trouble at all. Even the two or three chaps I thought might have been unpleasant haven’t been at all. I’m sure plenty has been said behind my back but, to my face at least, these men have humbled me.
Anyway, I go to the matches with my dad and my Godfather (though neither of us are religious). Let’s call him Dale. There’s another chap who goes – let’s call him Martin – who hangs around with us.
Martin is a little socially awkward. He’s about 50 and has never had a girlfriend. He lives with his mum and has been unable to get a job since being made redundant a few years back. His jokes are awful – he’s a bit geeky.
But his heart’s in the right place and so we took him under our wing, and my Dad and I even went on holiday wih a couple of years ago, having a fantastic time.
But Martin’s a little old-fasioned when it comes to LGBT issues. I remember someone asking if he was gay a few years ago, and he hit the f*cking roof. He was absolutely furious.
I imagined he wouldn’t be that supportive about me being trans but the months went by since August and he never mentioned it. Then again, he’s not online and doesn’t have (m)any friends, so the chances are quite high that nobody had told him.
Anyway, three matches ago, I saw him and said hello as he walked towards me. He completely blanked me and walked right past me. I shouted hello again – quite loudly – and he just carried on walking away.
At the following match, the same thing happened. So this time I walked up to him and asked him what his problem was. “No problem,” was the reply. I said there evidently was as he’d blanked him. “No! No!” Coward. I just told him that, if he did have a problem with me, he should tell me what it was so that we could sort it out.
Then, at yesterday’s match, I was telling my dad about what had happened, and said I wondered if he’d heard about me being trans – and didn’t like it. I honestly can’t think of any other reason.
And that’s when my dad revealed that he had my back. He said he wanted to talk to Martin, but I told him to leave it. If I’ve learned anything about toxic bigots over my 44 years on earth it’s that you’re never gonna change their views – and the best thing is to ignore them. Fighting them just wastes energy.
Anyway, my dad said he was off to the toilet – but then he walked in the opposite direction. Dale and I watched him walk around the other side and then stop next to a small man in a brown coat – had to be Martin.
My dad’s not a violent man but he had his fair share of punch-ups when he was a Mod back in the 60s – and he is fiercely protective over his family. I was a little concerned that something might kick off, but the two of them just stood there talking for about five minutes. Then my dad walked back, sans Martin.
My dad had basically had the same conversation that I’d had with Martin at the previous match: what’s your problem? There is no problem? Why are you ignoring us then? I’m not.
So not much progress there – Martin’s too proud and too cowardly to say what his issue really is – but at least it’s nice to know I have my dad’s support.
So I told him this, and said that bigots just have to be ignored. I said I have bigger fish to fry over the next few weeks, including starting HRT in February and that I’m a tad scared about it.
“You’re not worried about it, are ya?” asked my dad.
YES! I bloody am!
So he then asked why – and wanted to know all about the ins and outs of HRT. I said it was a conversation for over a pint another day – it was only five minutes before the end of the match. So I’m looking forward to that.
Dale, my Godfather, also told me he was right behind me. And I remember him a few years ago having a bit of a pop at trans people. I guess it just comes down to ignorance. Unless you actually know someone trans, you might think the whole thing’s weird.
But when you do know one, you realise they don’t have two heads, they’re not some kind of perverted weirdos and they’re generally lovely people who just want to be left alone to live their lives in peace and safety – same as anyone else.