The day I got into an argument with a bill collector about whether I was a man or a woman was the day I decided no longer to correct the error with callers. From that day until recently I just answered to the random “Sir” without offence or explanation. But something happened a couple of years ago that shook that foundation. I shook it off, regained my bearings, and went on with business as usual. Until today . . .
THE INOPPORTUNE, OPPORTUNE MOMENT OF TRUTH
I just ended a podcast interview. Within 35-seconds after the introduction, the host hit a on a subject that took the entire show in an unexpected direction. None of the typical cut-ins, audio clips, or discussion took place, Things went in an entirely different direction than the host intended. I found it difficult to keep my composure throughout the entire taping. Afterward, I broke into an uncontrolled sobbing session-totally out of control. This is what led to this moment of truth.
Sorry, Wrong Number
The business phone rings. Caller ID shows the first name of the caller as Linda. I pick up and say,
Me: “Whose Apple Dynamic. This is Linda. How can I help you?”
Caller: Crickets . . .
Me: “How can I help you?”
Me: “Yes. I know your name is Linda. My name is Linda, too. How can I help you?
Caller: “You called me.”
Me: “No. You called me. I’m Linda. How can I help you?”
Caller: “This is the first time I ever heard of a man named Linda.” CLICK! They hung up on me.
Once again I’m getting accused of being a man. I wrestled with this for a moment and then I called back and left a message explaining that the caller could Google my name and see that I am a woman. I am not a man!
It wasn’t long after that call that I asked myself WHY I found it necessary to try to explain my existence to a total stranger. It didn’t result in any internal resolution for me. I decided, again, not to explain my gender to anybody else. Rectifying the internal struggle would take much more time to achieve.
This struggle had been buried for decades. I stopped singing because my ex-husband told me I sound like a man. Now, I stood to stop speaking at events or making self-help videos because somebody accused me of sounding like a man.
The strange phone call was just icing on a stale cake. The Coup de Gras occurred during a live interview on a national radio show over two years earlier. Read on . . .
You’re a Transvestite?
A couple of years ago I went on a national radio tour. The publicist warned me about one of the guys on my first appearance. She knew they would take issue with some aspect of who I am. Foretold is forewarned; right? Well, not quite.
I wasn’t prepared to spend half the show arguing with one of the hosts about my gender. From my first word, the show went silent as the hosts thought they were being “punked.” I handed them their a–es in the most diplomatic manner. But the experience took me years to put to rest.
Eventually I learned that the the host who was giving me the most trouble had been fired . I’m not saying my experience had anything to do with his demise. I can say that if he was treating other guests as he treated me, it may have been one reason he was let go. Fired or not, I was suffering the consequences internally.
LISTEN TO THE 2017 RADIO INTERVIEW
I sound confident and un-offended in this interview. But, in truth, this rocked my confidence. I wonder how many of us can hide it so well in public. But hiding it in public, hiding it at all, keeps us stuck in self-defeating mindsets.
What made this worse is that I ran across an ad for this episode in which the host, Eddie, was still talking about my being a transvestite. As much as he appeared to come around before the end of this show, he really had not and kept harping on the matter.
All of the advise and wisdom I spoke of in this show would take a couple of years for me to internalize enough to get over it and move on.
why today changed everything
This blog post sat as a draft for weeks. But, what has given me the courage to post it began with telling the world on today’s Join Up Dots podcast with David Ralph, that I had this nagging problem with who I am (the interview is embedded at the end of this article). I went ahead and told the story of how I have begun to hate my voice, an integral aspect of my existence. I held it together pretty well during the taping. But, after it was over, a dam broke inside me. The guttural wailing and endless tears are healing. Feels like I unloaded one hell of a weight.
I can’t keep holding clients to a standard I refused to face in myself. I wrote a short book on how these stories we think we cannot tell are the very things we must tell in order to take back our power. And so I did. Before the entire world I dropped the facade and it feels real good, my friend.
it ends here
I will not keep fighting this battle, explaining myself, arguing with telephone callers and radio personalities, nor will I keep trying to prove something to the random-wrong number accusers. I have nothing against anyone who chooses to be transgender or transvestite. I’d fight to the end their rights to live their lives.
What I am saying for the LAST TIME is . . .
I will no longer try to prove to anybody this truth: I am NOT, nor have I ever been A MAN!
There. I said it. Etch it in stone because this is my final rant on the matter.
THE BROADCAST THAT LED TO THIS BLOG POST
This interview was extremely emotional for me. In fact, I broke down completely after I thought the microphones were off. They were on, though, as I just let go of all the emotion I tried to hold back during the interview.
That breakdown is edited out of this version of the interview. However, if you want to hear the uncut version, including that breakdown, please go to:
Please be sure to leave a comment or review at the podcast site.