Today, I do not want to be at work. Not because I dislike the work I do. I actually enjoy being knee deep in data and spreadsheets. And, for the most part, my coworkers are quite amicable. They don’t touch politics during group conversations or voice personal opinions: probably one of the side effects of working in Human Resources.
I really don’t want to be at work today because I miss my wife.
I only get to be with her evenings and weekends. During the work day, I have a husband. At work, I call her by her male name and use male pronouns when referring to her. When my office mate asked me what we did this weekend, I made a conscious effort to focus on using “his”, “him”, and “he” while saying “Mike” instead of “Michelle”.
I want to be able to call her by her real name to people throughout the day. We work in a conservative town outside of a major city in Texas where wearing a Bernie Sanders t-shirt or displaying a “liberal” bumper sticker on our Ford is dangerous. The people in the area who identify as LGBTQ keep quiet for fear of persecution or harassment. It sure doesn’t help that the state does not a have a law to protect employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity nor one to protect people against housing or public accommodation discrimination based on the same.
We don’t disclose our transition or personal lives with anyone but family and Michelle presents herself as male when we are in public. Only when we drive into the city does she feel safe enough to present herself authentically. It is sad but she feels that dressing in a more androgynous style will put our family at less risk of harm during this stage of our transition. I appreciate her thinking about our family in such a loving way. Of course we don’t want targets on our backs but we especially want to protect our daughter.
So, Friday evening Michelle settles back into being herself and I get to spend time with with my wife. Saturday and Sunday are both full days that we get to be together as wife and wife. We smile more and laugh louder. It’s blissful. But then Monday morning comes again and she dawns the Dockers and dress shirts and goes by her male name. And we both start feeling uncomfortable with the lie:
As each day passes, I crave Friday. Not because the weekend is coming but because my wife gets to be herself for an extended period of time. What a luxury, huh?