Interview with Janet*
Janet (*not her real name): I billet musicians from the symphony who are passing through town, and a few months ago I billeted a transgender person. They were transitioning from male to female. I didn't know whether or not to call her "he" or "she"… and I wish I had gotten to know them better, so I could have asked. I really want to know more…
Iridesce: Did the person have a first name that was particularily masculine or feminine?
Janet: Yes, it is a woman's name, or what we would normally designate as a woman's name.
Iridesce: Well, in that case, go with the pronoun that matches the person's name. Usually when people rename themselves, their new name and pronoun are really important to them.
Janet: Yes. Well she was such a nice person, such a very nice person.
Iridesce: What kinds of things did you talk about?
Janet: Her family and travelling. Alot about travelling, especially as she is a musician. That's why I wish I knew more about these issues... so I could have asked questions and connected more.
I guess I thought to talk to you because I've been single my whole life, and I wanted it that way. I wanted to be alone, and I thought it would be better if I lived by myself. Since I was unmarried, people [at church and in the community] have always thought I was a lesbian. But I'm not. I'm a heterosexual woman.
Iridesce: People assumed things about you and gave you a label that didn't fit for you?
Janet: Yes, exactly. I think that's why I've felt for gay and lesbian people. Also, since people thought I was a lesbian, I have often had gay or lesbian people come to talk to me about their problems, or just to share things with me... because they thought I would understand. People have treated me differently...
Iridesce: Maybe that is what you understand being gay, lesbian or transgendered... being treated like you are different?
Janet: Yes, but I'm not different. I just didn't want to marry. I never felt it was for me. But I've never been alone... I love my family. I have such a nice family. My brothers and sisters have always treated me very closely, and I have such a great relationship with my many neices and nephews. And now great neices and nephews! I love them all.
Iridesce: That is so wonderful!
Janet: You are so easy to talk to...
Iridesce: You are so easy to listen to. It is beautiful to hear how you live your faith, you have a beautiful spirit. Where is God for you in all this? Where or how is God for you?
Janet: That's hard to say. I wish I could articulate my faith. It's like, God is always there and I try to live as Jesus did. Every morning when I wake up, I go outside and look at the trees and nature and breathe, and I thank God for that. Every day...
Iridesce: What a beautiful thing to do… Thank you.