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Dec. 5, 2012

December 5, 2012

I went to a Landmark session last night as a graduate/guest. It was the final session of a Landmark Forum class that took place over this past weekend. Mara had promised a couple of people she would be there, and I promised I would, too. Big problem: One of the people, who was taking the class, knows Mara as Mara. She works at the LGBT Center, where Mara volunteers as a mentor. The other person, who was coming as a guest of someone in the class, is a colleague of Mara’s at work, and she doesn’t know about Mara. At work, Mara is only out to the H.R. department and her superiors. She still presents as male there. So the situation at the Landmark session would be very awkward.

Since Mara gave her word that we would be there, I went to represent both of us. She told our friend and her colleague that she can’t make it. (She told our friend from the LGBT Center the whole story and told her colleague that she just couldn’t make it.)

So here’s how it went down: I sat next to our LGBT Center friend and her guests. During a break, a trans woman who is involved in Landmark and has met Mara and our LGBT Center friend, came over to say hi. I had never met her, so I announced to her that I’m Mara’s wife, and we shook hands. I then got up to look for Mara’s colleague, whom I figured was sitting somewhere else in the room. I couldn’t find her. When I returned to my seat, I noticed that she was sitting directly behind me. (Shit.) It just hadn’t occurred to me that this would happen.

She and I chatted awhile, and she never let on that she had heard me introduce myself as Mara’s wife. (Maybe she was distracted at the time, talking to her friends.) Anyway, as we talked, I slipped once, referring to Mara instead of using her male name. I stammered a bit, like I was searching for the right words, and finally referred to Mara by her male name. Again, the colleague never let on. She never changed her expression. At the end of the session, the partner of our LGBT Center friend and I were chatting, and she mentioned Mara’s name. Mara’s colleague was talking to her friends at that time, so I don’t know if she heard.

If she heard any of the references to Mara, she’s being totally cool about it. Mara just texted me, saying she spoke with her colleague at the office, who talked as if nothing was out of the ordinary. Not that we never want her to know. It’s just that Mara’s company has it all planned out: They are bringing a diversity coach to the office for a presentation, which includes transgender employees, tomorrow. Then, on Jan. 7, while Mara is at home recovering from facial surgery, they will send an email to everyone in her office breaking the news. Mara’s letter to her colleagues will also be sent. This colleague is very sharp. If she heard Mara’s name last night and doesn’t catch on tomorrow, I will be very surprised.


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