Do you ever feel like you are an apple trapped inside a cranberry? Or like a cranberry trapped inside an apple? Or maybe you feel like a cran-apple (or, as auto correct would insinuate, like a crabapple)?
Thanksgiving can be a tough time for U.S. fruits like us (transgender, butch, queer, or otherwise gender nonconforming). The ramp up to the holidays is packed full of images of heteronormative families in joyous and loving celebration. The women are working in the kitchen, the men are in the den watching football, and a well-behaved dog is peacefully snoozing by the fireplace. It is a constant reminder of how I don’t fit in, and why I don’t want to fit it. And that I am estranged from my birth family. It ended with Thanksgiving.
When Donna and I started our relationship, my mother would not invite her over. She was trying to keep my grandmother from “knowing.” We were supposed to be one small normal happy family. The main source of happiness in my life was, and still is, Donna. Back then, I didn’t have a dog, but my mother would not have allowed me to bring the dog either.
I wouldn’t go to Thanksgiving without Donna. I hoped my refusal would pressure my mother into coughing up an invitation. It didn’t. We table hopped for a few years, but I wouldn’t go home. When Donna and I moved in together we decided to make Thanksgiving dinner in our home. We invited some friends over. Twenty years later, we are still cooking for the same crowd. My grandmother and my mother are both dead; stacked one on top of the other in a mausoleum in Westchester. Continue reading