So, OK, the podcast reading of my Modern Love essay is out! You can hear it in two places. If you go here you get the transcript and photos. If you go to the original essay, there’s a button halfway down for the podcast. Here’s the backstory of how the podcast was made.
Of course, I feel exposed all over again, but I know the spotlight loses its glare quickly. All the attention is worth it if it helps open any hearts and minds.
The reader, actor Ann Dowd (“Handmaid’s Tale”), breathed life and love into my written words, expressing emotions that revealed her own humanity. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Ann! The producers did an outstanding job of creating their own work of art, adding sound effects to my story and crafting a transcript that touches on its main points. Hours and hours of work go into each episode.
Although reading or hearing my essay immediately takes me back to those times, seven-plus years ago, I feel so very differently now. Life has totally normalized, with only the occasional issue of “what will people think?” and also the constant “coming out” that goes with living as a perceived lesbian. These things are pretty minor. Day to day, I feel zero trans-related trauma or sadness.
And, now, a few final words on the podcast content. Overall I loved it and have totally positive feelings. But as an editor, I must do my editing duty. And so … I wish they hadn’t started with a focus on marriage vows and commitments. My staying with Lina has nothing to do with that. It’s because I love her and am happy with her. Nitpick: I wished they’d specified “North Carolina” with “Durham.”
There are two larger topics I wish had been included, but I totally understand and respect that these are craft decisions made within time constraints. First, I want people to know that the trans political and cultural climate is no better or worse here in the Netherlands – we’re here only because it’s Lina’s turn to live in her country. Lina is Dutch and her family is here. Some people (wrongly) assume that all Dutch are liberal and progressive. Second, there was no mention of living as a lesbian. This is a big concern to many “wives of.” Not only do we lose our husbands, we must take on a new public identity. Big change. It’s something a lot of people ask me about. For me, that part is fine, but for many women, it’s understandably unacceptable. As I tell every transitioning couple who ask, there should be no pressure to stay married!
And, finally, this blog is mentioned as something I keep up, but the truth is I rarely post because trans topics are not top of my mind. That said, I do keep up the all-important Resources page, I answer every trans-related email that comes my way, and I stay politically aware and involved from afar.
Thank you, dear readers and listeners, for caring!