This past weekend, I caught up with friends from high school at an artsy hideaway in the Texas hill country. They knew of the George-to-Joyce transition, but had not actually seen me, so I naturally went a bit neurotic in the days leading up to the visit, worrying about what I should wear and how I should look. I packed at least 5 different outfits for a 48 hour visit.
I should not have worried because within minutes of sitting down and talking, it was like old times, singing high school musical numbers from Annie Get Your Gun, and Sound of Music (yes, we were all choir nerds). We learned about everyone’s families, various jobs, relationships, and the various twists that befall everyone in the course of living.
And despite having to pay for houses and raise kids and worry about health, I’m happy to report that my high school friends are following their bliss. They have moved to healthier climates, they are pursuing careers and hobbies that suit them (and not someone else), and they are serving society by being authentic to themselves and their ideas.
The gathering felt almost mythological. On the one hand, all of us have transformed so radically since high school, physically, sexually, spiritually, that it was incredibly inspiring to have these life-travelers as friends. On the other hand, we are more or less the same people we were 30 years ago, and we noted the incredible bond that we formed way back then that could allow us to pick up the threads of conversation after such an enormous gap in time with hardly a beat.
I felt loved and accepted, and I found myself wondering, knowing what I know now about myself and my friends, if I had come out as transsexual in high school, would their love and acceptance have sustained me against the rejection (real or imagined) I would have faced.
Even as I write these lines, I suddenly remember dreams I had in the 70’s where I did change sex and where these same friends didn’t skip a beat in their friendship and love. Of course, this musing is nothing but a thought experiment, but I find myself picturing a young Joyce interacting with these friends in high school, and when I think of these images, I find myself smiling.