How I Spent the Summer of 2019

Now that summer is nearly over, I finally have a little time to sit down and digest all that I have accomplished since June. It has been a wild ride! This will be a quick summary, because each thing really deserves a post of it’s own, which at least on some of this, I will eventually get to.

First, my spouse, my husband Gabriel, observing 50 years on the planet in June, decided to share with the world what we realized together earlier in the year: He is a transgender man.

Coming out has been amazingly good. It is a natural progression. It’s a realization that is surprising and simultaneously makes perfect sense. Family, friends, acquaintances, and colleagues have all been supportive, and we are privileged to live in a community with tremendous resources for trans folks.

We celebrated properly by going to see Brandi Carlile in concert in Baltimore. You can see her tiny figure between us here:

2019-06-14 21.03.17

We followed up the next day by attending Baltimore’s Pride Parade.

2019-06-15 19.04.52

Second, after spending an afternoon tromping around Philadelphia, admiring several murals, we went to hear Ibram Khendi talk about Juneteenth and his new book, How to be an Antiracist. I commend this book and Khendi’s work to anyone doing the good work of resistance of white supremacy.

2019-06-20 20.10.41

Third, to continue the celebration of Gabriel’s 50th birthday and his coming out, we decided we needed to go to New York to observe the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall. Our niece happened to be there as well, so we celebrated everything as a family.

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Fourth, I attended the amazing HERS Institute at Bryn Mawr College. This is a professional development opportunity for women in academia who want to pursue leadership positions. I’ve known about the Institute for years, but I didn’t think it was for people like me, on the administrative side, certainly not fundraising. A friend of mine who attended the Institute two years ago disabused me of that assumption, and said that they actually need more folks in fundraising in the Network (because once you attend, you’re in this incredible network). I think my assumption speaks to the general undervaluing of fundraising as a profession, and even those of us in it take this view without realizing it, kind of like internalized homophobia. Anyway, that’s a topic for my professional blog, Infomentation.

Fifth, I attended the Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference, which happens here every summer. So, prior to my husband coming out, I did know about this conference, but I didn’t know what a big deal it is. I am queer, and though I’m not super active in the LGBT community, I try to keep up with what’s going on around town. But neither my husband nor I have close friends who are trans, so little did we know that this is the largest free trans-specific health conference in the world. Also, Philly is kind of a center of trans healthcare, we’ve come to find out.

Gabriel and I are working on a joint blog (forthcoming) about our experience as a couple of coming out as trans. Though I’m not transitioning in the same way, we are going through his transition as a couple, and both of our perspectives are important in the process. One thing we heard over and over at the Conference is that it’s important to share stories. Many times we heard people say that they have said things in public, or posted something on social media with no expectation that it would be of much consequence, only to hear much later from someone how much that thing they said meant to them. Being out can mean more to someone than you will know in that moment. This isn’t a new revelation to me; I’ve known this since I first came out as queer, but Gabriel coming out as trans has reinforced and emphasized this for me. I intend to write more about the conference and other things trans in a subsequent post because it deserves a post of its own.

Sixth, I celebrated 51 years in August, and that feels pretty good. This year’s celebration was much quieter than last year’s Province Town blow-out! And that was perfect.

Last but not least, Seventh, just a week after my birthday, Gabriel and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary.

Now I’m getting back to my routine, and it’s a blessing, as was this summer of joy, activity, and learning. All of this leaves me feeling exhausted and grateful. I’m thankful for feeling inspired at this point in my life, in my career, in my marriage, to continue self-discovery and learning. All of this brings me hope and light, which I welcome during trying times.


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