No Matter What

No Matter What

At the Meeting

“I'd like to introduce everybody to Dorothy,” a young man introduced the young lady who followed him
through the door. “I asked her to come with me tonight. I think we can help her.”

“Hey, Dorothy, welcome to TAN,” an older woman welcomed her warmly.

“TAN?” She asked, confused.

“Trans Alliance Network,” the young man explained. “Have a seat. The couch isn't all that comfortable, but the
chair over there is.”

“My name is Amanda,” the older woman introduced herself. “Nice to meet you, Dorothy.”

“Likewise. Call me Dot, please.”

“Hey, Dot! You hungry?” The young man she'd come in with was digging in a cabinet filled with various
snacks. “We've got Cheez-its or pretzels.”

“Oh, toss me the pretzels!” the teenage girl who just walked through the door called out. “Sorry I'm late. I got
caught up at my girlfriend's house.” She plopped down on the couch and curled up with one of the pillows

“You should bring her sometime. I'm sure she'd have fun.”

“I was gonna bring her today, but she has soccer practice.”

“Oh well, maybe next time. Kara, this is Dot.”

“Nice to meet you,” she leaned forward to shake Dorothy's hand.

“Nice to meet you too.”

“Anthony won't be able to make it today. He has a doctor’s appointment.”

“I hope that's a good thing,” Amanda commented.

“I dunno, he just said he had a doctor's appointment.” the young man closed the cabinets and tossed a bag of
pretzels to Kara before sitting on the arm of the couch.

“What did PFLAG say about using their space for our meetings?" Amanda asked the man. “It feels weird
having them in your personal house,”

“I really don't mind,” he laughed, “but they told me that their space is already booked during our meetings.”

“I don't mind either,” Kara said. “You've always got good munchies.” She grinned at him as she reached into
the pretzel bag.

“Hey, be nice to Jose,” Amanda scolded lightly.

“He knows I'm joking.”

“So, girls, what's new in the last two weeks?”

“My mother called me,” Kara said sadly. “I don't know how she got my number, but she called to see if I was
through my 'phase'.”

“Oh, sweetie, are you ok?” Dorothy asked.

“I'm fine, I just got to thinking about the last time my mom said 'I love you'. It was a very long time ago. She
told me she'd love me forever, no matter what. That was just before I came out to her.”

“It's ok, Hun, you're safe here,” Amanda comforted Kara as she wiped away her tears.

“I-it's ok,” Kara stuttered. “I need to talk about it.”

Kara’s Story

“I had a very caring mom. If I came home crying about some girl, she’d be at my side and talk to me until I felt
better. If I was struggling on a test for school, she’d stay up late into the night helping me study. I loved her.
My mother used to tell me I was God’s gift to her. She’d prayed and prayed and prayed to God that she
could have a son, but no matter how many times she tried, she never got pregnant. It took her 3 years before
she got pregnant with me.

Even after she got pregnant, so many things went wrong. My father died while I was still in her womb, and
with him, her sole source of income. So she had to get a job while she was pregnant. She ended up getting a
job working at Walmart as a cashier. Of course having to be on her feet 30 hours a week was difficult,
especially when she was in her third trimester, but she did it for me. She used to tell me that God gave her the
strength she needed to make sure I was cared for when I was born.

The strangest thing is, she was even willing to buy me girl’s toys when I was little. When I asked Santa for
barbies rather than toy cars, she always made sure I got them. She even gave me a make-up kit for my 11th

Then when I was 13 she started going to a Mormon temple. I noticed that she suddenly changed. Suddenly
everything that had even the tiniest to do with being feminine was against the rules. She threw out my Harry
Potter books, and started preaching at me.

About 4 months later, I turned 14. The day after my birthday, my friend Hannah convinced her mom to give
me shelter if things didn’t go right with mine and then encouraged me to tell her. She told me that she knew I’d
have to do it eventually, so why not then?

So I took Hannah’s advice, and I asked my mom to sit down and talk with me for a bit. I told her I had
something to tell her she probably wouldn't like. I asked her not to be mad at me for it and to listen to me all
the way through. She promised me right then that she would still love me. She said ‘I promise. I’ll love you, no
matter what.’

She lied.

I told her how I felt, and how I’d always felt. I explained to her that I could never be comfortable living as a
boy. She told me that I could either ‘quit that foolishness right now or get out of my house.’

I chose the latter. I packed up some of my things and I left. I only stayed long enough to give Hannah a call
and tell her I was coming over. Her mom met me about half way with her car and took me home. Well, it
wasn’t home that night, but it’s become home. Mrs. Snyder has been wonderful. She took me in the way my
mother wouldn’t. I’ve lived there for the last 2 years now and she’s been a better mother to me than my own
mom ever was.

I think getting kicked out of my mom’s house was a good thing. It helped me meet Sarah; and we’ve been
together for 8 months now. She knows all about my status and loves me anyway. And it helped me transition,
too. Within two months of moving in with her, Mrs. Snyder had found me a whole new wardrobe and
encouraged me to be who I was. With her support and guidance, I was able to start being Kara even at school
starting in August, and it’s made me happier than you can even imagine.”

Back at the Meeting

“Aww, Hun, it’s ok.” Amanda moved to the couch and pulled Kara into her arms. “It’s ok,” she repeated.
Kara curled up against Amanda and closed her eyes. “And then my mom had to turn around and try to screw up
everything I’ve worked for for 2 years!” Kara slammed her fist against her knee. “Two years, Dammit! I did it
without her help, and I’m going to keep going if it kills me.”

She perked up, “I do have some good new though...” She waited impatiently for somebody to ask what it was.
Jose gave in first. “Well? What is it?”

“Mrs. Snyder is going to adopt me. Legally. That way she can start helping me with my transition medically. She
wants to start me on hormones but the doctors won’t do it unless I have parental consent."

“That’s awesome!”

“Mhm. She says she thinks she can get the courts to take me away from my mom for neglect or abandonment or
something like that. And since I have no other living relatives, she thinks she can convince them to let her take
custody. She’s been taking care of me for the last two years anyway. I don’t know all the legalities of it, but I’m
still very excited.”

“I would be too. There really isn’t any better feeling than when you first start taking hormones” Dorothy chimed
in. “I remember when I first started on them.”

Dorothy’s Story

“I had been seeing a councilor for about three years and I had just started living full time as Dorothy. Everything
was going wonderfully. I had just quit one of my jobs. They weren’t very accepting about my situation, but my
second job was wonderfully accepting. And it just turned out that they were looking to hire a new full-time tech
support. Up until then I had only been working part time as a programmer. My boss was extremely understanding
when I came out to him. When I told him what happened with my other job, he suggested that I apply for the
open tech support job so I could get more hours.

I got the job, and with it, a pay raise. Everything seemed perfect. I had a referral to a endocrinologist, and a best
friend who had been by my side the whole way through. That is, until I told her I was about to start hormones.

I didn’t expect her to freak out so much. It was like she suddenly became a whole different person. She started
telling me that I didn’t want to do that. Seriously, as if she knew better than I did. She started saying that dressing
up as a woman was one thing, but that I was being stupid by actually trying to become one.

The strangest thing is, Janette even knew that I wanted to be a woman. We’d even talked about how I was
going to afford the surgery. She was always right behind me. ‘No matter what.’ That’s what she always said.

She lied.

Janette was the only friend I’d kept through my transition. Every single other person I considered a friend had
abandoned me when I started living as Dorothy. Some even before that, when I told them I had been diagnosed
with GID.

I thought Janette was different. I expected her to stay by me the whole way. We’d been friends since middle
school. I helped her get through her bad family life. She knew everything about me, and I thought I knew
everything about her. But, I guess I was mistaken. That’s what you get for believing in people, I suppose.

But on the bright side, the endocrinologist found that I was healthy enough to take hormones. I started on them
pretty much immediately. I’ve been on them for about two years now. Without Janette’s support. I was looking for new
friends, people who accept me as me, so I accepted Jose's invite to come today. I’m sad to have lost such a long term friend, but that’s what I get for wanting to be whole.”

Back at the Meeting

“That’s horrible!” Kara exclaimed.

“Unfortunately, that’s all too common,” Amanda noted. “Most people simply can’t accept us. We fall outside
their little comfort bubble.”

The room settled into an uncomfortable silence with nobody really knowing what to say.

“You know, I think I have some ice cream in the freezer if anybody wants some.”

“Oh that would be great, Jose,” Kara smiled at him, “Thank you.”

“Of course it would be great for you, you never stop eating.”

“Hey, I gotta keep my girlish figure,” she stuck her tongue out at him.

“I can’t figure out how you eat so much but always stay so skinny,”

“I’m on the track team at school, I burn off all the calories.”

Jose went into his kitchen and pulled out a half-gallon carton of ice cream. He grabbed four bowls and filled them
up before passing them around.

The group sat in silence and ate the ice cream until Jose spoke up again. “I know how hard it is to loose a friend,
Dot. I lost the very best friend I’d ever had. I’m still technically married to him, you know.”

Jose’s Story

“I met him when I was 19. We were both on the college soccer team. I was the only ‘girl’ who made the cut, but
I was better than most of the boys. The only one who was even close to able to beat me was Marcus. We made
a friendly little rivalry out of it during practices. We even started playing 1 on 1 between classes a few weeks
into the season, just to keep in track, and of course for him to try to beat me. He very rarely ever could. He was
a great forward, but his defense needed a lot of work.

I remember when we won our last game of the season. We didn’t make the finals, but we sure had a lot of fun.
Right after the game, Marcus asked me if I’d like to go out to dinner with him. I was going to say no, but he
offered Applebees. How could I say no when my teammate and best friend was offering to take me to my
favorite restaurant. I agreed to let him take me out, but only under the condition I payed my half of the bill.

I don’t remember too much about the date itself. It mostly seemed like two friends just hanging out. But he
asked me out again the next weekend. And then again just 2 weeks later. By that point it was pretty clear that it
wasn’t just friendly hangout time, he was actually asking me out on dates.

He proposed to me exactly one year from our first date. My dad was planning a Bar-B-Que for his
work-buddy’s birthday, so he invited me and suggested I bring Marcus along. Right before my dad announced
that the food was ready, Marcus dropped to his knee, held my hand, and told me, ‘Amora? Somewhere between
beating me at soccer and helping me through the loss of my father, I feel in love with you; I would like to spend
the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?’

Three months later, we stood at the alter. That is the one and only time I have ever worn a dress in my entire
life; I wouldn’t even let my parents put me in dresses when I was little. But I remember him coming up the isle
and repeating the vows. And just before he kissed me, he looked me in the eyes and promised me ‘I’ll always
love you. No matter what.’

He lied.

Oh sure, our marriage was wonderful, for a time. I loved him, and he loved me. Until I had my breakdown. Just
after our first anniversary, he asked if I was ready to have children. At that moment, everything I had tried to
bury down inside me came flooding back up. I had a complete mental and emotional breakdown.

No, I didn’t want to have children! I couldn’t do that, I’m not a woman!

But of course I didn’t tell him that. How could I explain how horrible it felt to hate yourself simply for being a
woman? How could I explain how appalling the very idea of being pregnant was? How could he ever understand
how much I envied him just for being male?

So I fell into a depression. I could barely survive a day-to-day. Half the time I couldn’t even be bothered to get
out of bed. I had Marcus scared that I was going to die if I didn’t eat anything. He kept making me go to the
doctors but no amount of anti-depressants could bring me out of it.

Eventually it was too much. I attempted suicide. I would have succeeded too except that Marcus came home
early that day and caught me with the knife. I hadn’t even had a chance to finish writing my goodbye letter
before he took the knife from me and threw it into the other room so I couldn’t get it. He made me explain
myself, right then and there. I wasn’t able to talk so I just pointed at the unfinished letter.

He read it. I explained almost everything in that letter, from how much I hated being a woman to how much I
loved Marcus and how sorry I was to have hurt him by taking my own life.

He insisted I see a psychologist that specialized in GID. He even chose one out for me. He chose Dr. Waltley.
Waltley did specialize in GID, but his ‘speciality’ was in making the feelings go away, not helping his clients lean
how to deal with them or possibly transition. That doctor made me feel horrible for feeling like I did, and even
more horrible because Marcus wanted the core part of who I was to simply ‘go away’

Two months after he found me with the knife and the letter, he told me to get out of his house. He said that no
‘psychogirl’ could live under his roof. He gave me $2000 dollars to ‘get me on my feet’ and told me not to mess
up his life again.

He didn’t ever ask me to sign any divorce papers. He simply stopped talking to me. I haven’t heard a word from
him since.”

Back at the Meeting

Everybody stared at Jose as he finished his story. It was the first time any of them had heard him really talk
about Marcus. Kara and Amanda had heard Jose mention him before, but he never really said anything important
about him.

“You still love him, though,” Amanda observed.

Jose looked up and nodded. “I love him more than anything else in the world.”

“He’ll come back,” Dorothy said quietly. “He loves you too, or he wouldn’t have asked you to marry him.”

“I doubt it,” Jose wiped the tears off his cheek. “It’s been 5 years since he kicked me out.”

“Oh,” Dorothy sighed. “I didn’t know. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. Not your fault,” he told her. “I just find it ironic that one of his favorite things about me was how
much of a tomboy I was.”

“Can I have more ice cream?” Kara asked to break the strain.

“There’s more in the freezer. Help yourself.”

Kara got up and served herself another bowl of ice cream. Just before she sat down, her cellphone went off. She
put her bowl on the coffee table and promised to be back. She stepped outside an answered the call.

“Hey Sarah.” “The meeting’s still going. Maybe in about half an hour.” “Yeah, sure, I’d love for you to come.
Jose keeps bugging me about you.” “Yeah, come on over. I’ll see you soon. I love you.”

Kara said her goodbyes to Sara and went back inside. The first thing she noticed was that Jose had stopped
crying and was back to his normal cheerful self. She sat down and took her ice cream. “Sorry about that. Sarah
was on her way home from soccer practice and was asking if I needed a ride home. I told her we weren’t done
yet, but she was welcome to come hang out with us.”

“About time,” Jose grinned. “We’ve only been bugging you for the last 6 months.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Kara waved him away. “She’s a very busy girl. She barely has time for her own activities. She
doesn’t get much of a chance to just hang out. She even has to schedule time to hang out with me, otherwise
we’d never have any time together.”

“That’s kind of sad.” Jose said.

“It’s the way it is. But I know she loves me, so I’m ok even if we don’t get much time together.”

Just as Dorothy was about to say something, they heard a knock at the door. “Come on in Sarah!” Jose told the

A teenage girl opened the door. She was tall and slim, but she had a strong presence. She had her medium length,
dark blond hair pulled back in a tight pony tail. She was still wearing her soccer uniform, but despite her tomboy
appearance, she still was a very pretty girl.

“Hey Hun, come sit with me,” Kara patted the seat next to her. “Everyone, this is Sarah. Sarah, this is Amanda,
Jose, and Dot.”

“Nice to meet you,” Sarah greeted everybody. She made her way to the couch where the sat next to Kara, who
curled up against her.

“I suppose since everybody else has shared their stories, I should probably share mine,” Amanda said.
“You don’t have to if you don’t want to.”

Amanda’s eyes got a far-off glassy look as she spoke.

Amanda’s Story

“It will have been 2 years exactly next Thursday since I asked my kids to sit down and have a talk with me.
Cody was living with me because he was fighting with his mom, but Mike was 19 so he’d already moved out and
was attending college on the other side of the country. I asked him to come home for Thanksgiving break so we
could talk.

Anyway, I sat down Mike and Cody and told them I had something very important to tell them. I told them that
it would not change who I am, and that I would always love them.

I remember that moment vividly. Cody was a sweet 14 year old. He asked, ‘You know how you always tell us
you’ll love us no matter what?’ Then he told me ‘We love you too, Dad. No matter what.’

He lied.

When I explained what transgender meant and what I needed to do to be happy. He asked me if I was ‘some
kind of faggot or something.’

I don’t even know where he heard that word. I’ve never once said it to him. But he knew it and he wouldn’t
listen to a word I said after that. He was too busy calling me a ‘sissy’ and a ‘fag’ to let me talk. He told me that
he was going to call his mom and make her let him move back in with her because he didn’t want to live with a
crazy man who thought that he was a girl.

Through my whole exchange with Cody, Mike sat in his chair and just watched. He didn’t say a word the entire
time. Right up until Cody stood up and pushed me. Mike jumped out of his chair and pushed Cody against the
wall and growled ‘You NEVER hit a woman. PERIOD.’

Now I don’t condone violence, but what Mike did make me incredibly happy at that moment. He called me a
woman. He didn’t hesitate about it. He didn’t ask me ‘Are you sure?’ He just accepted.

Unfortunately, Cody carried through with his threat. He did call his mom and make her come and pick him up.
I’ve only seen him one time since, when he came to move his stuff out of my house. I’ve done what I can to try
to get him to talk to me again, but he hangs up the phone the second he realizes it’s me, and my ex told me that
he didn’t want to talk to me, so she wasn’t going to let me into her house to talk to him.

I still hold hope that he’ll come around eventually. He’d be 16 now. I know he’s ok, even if he does still fight
with his mom a lot. Mike still talks to him every weekend and makes sure to let me know how he’s doing. He’s
getting above average grades in school and he has a girlfriend, who I’ve never met and might never meet.

Apparently he tells his schoolmates that he doesn’t have a dad anymore. He says that I’ve moved away and
stopped talking to him. It breaks my heart to see him hate me as much as he does. But at least I still have Mike.

He’s coming to visit for Thanksgiving again this year with his brand new BA. He settled down in a town near
the college he was attending, and this is the first chance I’ll have to see him since his graduation. I was not able
to make it to his graduation because of money problems.

It will be the first time ever that he’ll see me as Amanda, and I’m so excited!”

Back at the Meeting

“I’m glad you still have Mike,” Dorothy commented. “And Cody will come around. He’s still young, he needs his
parents, and he knows it.”

“I hope so, Hun. I expected worse, to be honest. I expected both of my kids to hate me for it, or at least pretend
it didn’t exist.”

Jose noticed the clock and jumped out of his chair. “Oh my God! I almost forgot. I have to go pick up my
neighbor from work. Feel free to hang out here as long as you want. I’ll be back in about an hour.” He turned to
Kara, “And no more goodies for you tonight.”

“Kara laughed at him. “Don’t worry, I won’t eat you out of house and home. At least not this week.”

“Why do you have to go pick up your neighbor?” Amanda asked.

“Oh, his car wouldn’t start this morning, so I offered to give him a ride to work. He asked me for a ride home too
since he wouldn’t have his car. He’ll be getting off in about 20 minutes and it’s a half hour drive.”

“I should probably go anyway,” Dorothy stood up. “I have a bunch of house cleaning to do before my sister
comes over for dinner.”

“Well in that case, we should wander home too,” Kara grabbed her purse. Sarah stood up and helped Kara to her
feet. “Thanks for letting me cry about my mom.”

“Oh, that’s what we’re here for, Hun,” Amanda stood up. “But since everybody else is leaving, I might as well
leave too. Sorry to wrap up the day on such a bad note.”

“Oh, it wasn’t a bad note. It’s good news about Mike coming to visit, but if you’re all leaving, I’ll have to rush
you out so I can lock the door behind us.”

Dorothy left first and waved back at Kara and Amanda as she climbed in her car. “Thanks for letting me come
to your meeting today.”

“Oh, come anytime. It gets kind of boring with the same people every week.” Kara said.

Amanda said, “You’re welcome here anytime, Dear. Thank you for trusting us with your story.” she turned to walk to her
own house just a few blocks away.

Kara climbed into the passenger seat of Sarah’s car. After a quick kiss, Sarah put the car into drive and drove
off. Kara gave a quick wave back to Jose as they passed.

Jose climbed into his own car and pulled out of his driveway. He pulled his car up next to Dorothy’s and rolled
down the window.

“Thanks for coming Dot. I hope you’ll come back next week. Same time, same place. Maybe you’ll even get to meet Anthony next week. You know how to get hold of me if you ever need anything. But,” he glanced at the dashboard clock, “I really should get going. Bye Dot.”

He rolled up the window. Dorothy watched as he turned the corner before closing her eyes. She let herself feel
the love that Jose, Amanda, and Kara had showed her that day. It was a love she hadn’t felt before. It was
unconditional and completely accepting.

Dorothy turned her key and drove home, making a mental note to make sure to come to next week’s meeting.

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