Laine, Dan, and Natascha sit out front of Starbucks, sipping coffee and talking about misgendering and using proper pronouns.
Natascha: This is Natascha with Little Lost Forest. I will be conducting short interviews today with Laine and Dan on the LGBTQ community to spread information and create co-existence on non-gender-conforming and intersex persons.
Hello Laine, thank you for coming today.
Laine: Hello, thanks for having me.
Natascha: How’s your day going?
Laine: It’s going alright, thank you. And how about you?
Natascha: It’s going good. It’s been long. Thanks for coming late at night. Can you tell me your pronouns?
Laine: My pronouns are they/ them.
Natascha: Can you tell me a little about yourself?
Laine: I’ve lived in Humboldt County for 21 years. I have degrees from Cal Poly Humboldt in music and religious studies, and I’m learning to be a dog trainer.
Natascha: That’s awesome! How have you transitioned?
Laine: I was born female, and I transitioned in several ways. I had a hysterectomy in 2019. Earlier this year, I had top surgery, which also helped me with a chronic pain condition which I’ve had since high school. I am on a low dose of testosterone which has helped in several ways, but most people couldn’t tell that by looking at me, so not everything is visible to the eye when someone is transitioning.
Natascha: How has transitioning healed you?
Laine: I’m a much happier person. I used to be very grumpy. I had a lot of anxiety about my body and I was always very depressed about my life and about who I was but I’m not like that anymore. Still a little bit because things are still up in the air with a few things, but it’s much better. And having surgery on my chest helped my chronic pain a lot. So physically- much better.
Natascha: Why is it important to use the proper pronouns?
Laine: I see it a lot of times as respect. Do you respect this person and what they’re going through and who they are? That says to me yes! I see you. I see who you are, and I will use the pronouns that you use on a regular basis. There are trans people that I even don’t respect, but I still wouldn’t misgender them, such as *** ***. She’s not a really good person, but I still would never misgender her or deadname her because that’s just not a cool thing to do. You wouldn’t go up to a stranger and say, ‘Hey you, I think you’re a man, and I’m going to call you a woman.’ Why would you do that to a person? That’s just not cool. Do you lack manners?
Natascha: I can totally agree with that. Why do you think some cis-gendered folks are bothered by others’ use, announcement, or display of their correct pronouns?
Laine: For some people, especially the Gen- X and Boomer generations, and maybe because they are older, have trouble getting acclimated to something new. [Loud background noise] -Sorry about the traffic!
Natascha: I’m sorry.
Laine: They may be like, ‘Okay, this is really new for me. I don’t know how to deal with it. It’s a big change. You might have to remind me a whole bunch’ And that can be hard for some people, especially if it is their child or grandchild. ‘I’ve known you as “this” for so long. It’s gonna take them some time to change to “this.”‘ But for some other people, people of our generation or even younger, they see it as you are taking something from them, especially with trans-fem people. Cis-women will see it as you’re taking away their womanhood. They see it as your putting on a costume. You can’t just take some hormones or put on a dress and some make-up with longer hair and suddenly- bam, you’re a woman! They say you have to have a womb and give birth which totally pushes away cis-women who can’t give birth or don’t want to or anybody who can’t give birth and doesn’t want to because we shouldn’t just be down to our body parts. That’s not just who we are. We’re not just our genitals and our body parts. We’re who we are inside.
Natascha: Thank you. What is the importance of introducing children to the LGBTQ community?
Laine: Well, there are LGBTQ children, and we don’t want them to feel alone and ostracized in not knowing who they are because then it’s kind of sad to feel all alone, and once you find others who are similar to you- it’s like finding others who have the same hobby as you but you’re like ‘Oh my gosh, you’re like me. I can talk to you about this stuff. There’s somebody who understands. I’m not alone,’ and don’t you want your kids to be happy and feel like they’re accepted? And, besides that, even kids who aren’t members of our community, wouldn’t you want them to see other people who are different? Rather if your child is Caucasian, wouldn’t you want them to see people that are Black, who are Hispanic, and people who are different then them so they see that this is a glorious world? There are people who are different, and we’re all wonderful people. Don’t you want them to see people who are disabled and show them that there are people who are not like “me.” That they are still out there and not everybody’s like you.
Interrupted by intoxicated passerby: Whoah, you’re so amazing! So good!
Natascha: I think you’re pretty amazing [Laine.] He just doesn’t get how amazing you really are.
Laine: – Show children that there are so many people out there in our world and not everyone is like what they see on a regular basis.
Natascha: Thank you, thank you so much. Do you feel that transition has changed you in any way?
Laine: Well, I am a happier person. I used to be very depressed and- but- I didn’t really know who I was. I was confused. I was in pain both physically, mentally, and emotionally. I was grumpy all the time. I wasn’t a nice person. I was “Grrrr.” Now, I’ve been through all these struggles with changing my name and being on hormones, and I see people doing the same struggles, and I can help them in some way. I’d like to give them some tips, and tell them ‘This is what I did. If you’re going through the same struggle, I maybe can give you some ideas on how to pass those hurdles in certain processes in what you might need to do so you can get through that faster because I did it in the slow and long way and now you can do it a faster way so you can get through that in a much more expedited manner. And not just that, but if someone is within the community and not transitioning- just tell them what it’s like so they can understand. Or if people are outside of our community and want to be an ally, just talk to them about what it’s like, like what I am doing now. But if someone comes and doesn’t come to be an ally and doesn’t come with openness or love, I don’t have time for that because I’m not going to waste my time with a person who doesn’t want to understand and just comes with hate.
Natascha: Thank you so much, Laine. I really appreciate your time. I know it’s freezing cold out here, and we have horrible background noise, but you have been so wonderful and great. Is there anything else that you wanted to add?
Laine: I don’t know. Do you have any other questions?
Natascha: No, I think you answered my questions just beautifully.
Laine: That’s great, and I am so glad that you are doing this, and I hope it goes over well, and if I can answer more questions or if there are any comments, I’ll be there.
Natascha: Thank you, we will make sure to reach out to you. Thank you.
Laine: Thank you.
Thank you for reading. The correct pronouns list is below. Please share with your friends and family. Dan’s interview is coming up. You can look forward to reading it next week.