So what if F refers to B, a trans woman, as her Dad, and even “he”? I know where my loyalty lies: to B, who is female, who is entitled to be referred to as such. Then I meet F, and what can I say to her?
B’s first wife left, and F lived with her Dad. Then B remarried, and the step-mother was so lovely that F thinks of her as her Mum; then S was born. Six months after Mum died, B transitioned. S had a nervous breakdown, and F was going down to Nottingham to take her to the psychiatrist. Then B was being harassed by local teenagers, and there was the problem of getting her moved to Wales.
Then B and J bonded. J’s family did not talk to her, and F did not like J, particularly. Any use of the word “Dad” was objectionable, leave alone “he”, and for F such words would, well, slip out.
You see I could get irritated. F tells me I am the most presentable of J’s [tranny] friends she has met, and I am uncomfortable with this: it ranks us as acceptable or less acceptable depending on how passable we are, and to me we are all acceptable. I am not particularly comfortable with being told how brave I am, either: because being trans is totally normal, and transitioning should be normal too. We can agree that people abusing me in the street- not for years, but when I first transitioned- are wrong; that it is nothing personal, but something going on in their own head, and that friends who accept me are far more important as evidence of my acceptability.
Now she is losing her Dad. So I hear the words “Dad” and “he”, and how can I object? J is losing her best friend, slowly and painfully, and of course she objects. Mostly, F says “B” and “she”.
Yesterday’s sweetness and light is qualified a little. On morphine, B can be confused. “I went upstairs for a shower”, she says, and F just nods. “We went for a lovely drive today,” says B. Still, as long as she is happy. Someone was bedridden and terminally ill for 18 months, and started having wine with breakfast. Well, why not. When F visited she would have a glass of wine too.
The pain is not completely relieved. There was additional painkiller for breakthrough pain, but staff insisted that B had to ask for it. The pain was so great that B was curled in the foetal position, in no condition to ask for anything. You get so much pain you retreat into yourself. Then B’s drip stopped working, and F could not get staff to restore it: though her shift had half an hour to run, one nurse said they had done the handover already.
No, I do not object to “he”, or “Dad”. I sympathise.
Mold Civic Society put up a blue plaque for the Mold Riots of 1869, where rioters sought to rescue two convicted miners being escorted away by police. Troops opened fire, killing four people.