By Monica M
In April 2013, I went to Austin to take part in Teacher Training 2. I was already a Level 1 teacher from my training in Portland the previous year. Here I again met a wonderful bunch of women such as Alex, BethAnn, Amrita, Mei and the other sisters. These people could not have been nicer to me and really took me under their wing. We had so much fun there.
A number of incidents stick out in my mind. In the hotel, the ladies' room was quite close to the room we were using for our training. I had no problem using the ladies’ room and none of the ladies seemed to mind or complain about it.
As the ladies' room cubicle walls were about a foot above the floor, anybody coming in could see the shoes of those inside. My shoes were quite distinctive on this particular day. One of the ladies came in, she could see my shoes, but I could not see her or her shoes.
“Monica, Oh, Monica. Be sure to put down the seat when you finish!” she sang out. This, despite the fact that my shoes were pointing the correct way as I was sitting down! The whole ladies' room collapsed in squeals of laughter. Those girls were devils! What a fun bunch!
On the last day of the course, one of the ladies asked to talk to me privately. I had no idea what to expect! She told me that when she saw me in the room and realized that I was transgender, she got so angry that she was about to go to the organizers and have me removed. Her initial reaction was that this should be a sacred space for woman only!
However, she calmed herself down and meditated on the situation. She decided to just go with the flow as this is part of the training in AFP. She told me she was so glad I had been there as my presence had changed her whole attitude to transgender people. I did well without even knowing it! Needless to say, I had no idea that all this was happening inside her. Little did I think that I would become an ambassador for the cause.
This is a picture of me getting in touch with my inner something or other.
Did I mention that we had fun?
I had met Amrita and Mei at the teacher training in Portland and we became a close bunch. We ate together most lunch times and evenings at the local Whole Foods Market or at a local restaurant. I had also met Beth Ann in Portland, but we had not really connected as she had only been there for the intensive weekend. Mei and Amrita had been there for the full week. You could not hope for such a wonderful bunch of women and close friends. These girls mean so much to me; they are like sisters... only closer!
BethAnn contacted me soon after Portland and we quickly established a very positive rapport. She told me that when she heard my voice (ouch!) and realized that I was transgender, she too had a very negative reaction to sacred female space being invaded! Thankfully, she got over it and now is my closest BFFs.
Time for a serious chat with Cassie!
Amrita looking on to see what BS I putting out there! :)
The group photo: Rachael Jane on the extreme left and
BethAnn and Amrita in the front row on the right.
(Part 20 of One Person’s Journey to Womanhood appeared here.)