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All in the family 

Click here to listenDo you remember the TV-series "All in the Family"? Do you remember Archie Bunker?

Boy the way Glen Miller played,
Songs that made the hit parade,
Guys like us we had it made,
Those were the days,
And you know where you were then,
Girls were girls and men were men,

Why does he sing that? Is he referring to transgendered people? Oh no, he's not! He is merely annoyed because in the sixties some boys liked to grow long hair, just like the girls. He is annoyed by anyone and everything that doesn't share his narrow view of the world. And there is a lot that doesn't fit in that view: Women's rights, same-sex marriage, abortion etcetera.
Archie has never even met a transgendered person. I wonder how he would react to that!

In the Netherlands the "Archie Bunker"-type is not that wide-spread. But they are among us! There are Archie Bunkers among my colleagues. There are Archie Bunkers among my relatives. There are Archie Bunkers out on the street.
The problems started soon after I began to live full-time as a woman. A few weeks later Julia, my spouse, celebrated her birthday. Full-time is full-time, so naturally I was dressed as a woman when we received our guests. I wore a black, ankle length, pleated skirt, a shiny green pullover and black shoes with one-inch heels.
It was quite a start to my parents. I had been preparing them for this moment by dressing androgynously and a little bit more feminine every time I met them during the preceding year, but they never seemed to notice. They have a tendency not to see things they don't like as long as possible. Well I can understand their problem. It is not easy to see your son behave as a daughter for the first time. But they were very reasonable about it.

But there was another relative who didn't take it so lightly. After the party he called Julia and told her he didn't want to be confronted with me in this way. He demanded Julia to come to his house and explain the matter.
Who does he think he is? We do have the right to determine what happens in our own house! Julia refused to come unless I could come along with her.

And so we went there together. This special occasion was the last time I put on male clothing, just for his sake. We had a long discussion that seemed to end well when I had managed to explain to him that I was not a transvestite, but a transsexual. Transsexuals usually meet a little more understanding in our society than transvestites do. People find it easier to understand if someone 'was born in the wrong body'. I think he should have accepted me if I were a transvestite as well, but it was difficult enough already. I really thought I managed to explain it all to him and I had the impression he understood.

But now, more than two years later, I am not so sure he has accepted me. It would be more accurate to say that he is tolerating me. Recently a little inducement was all it took to start a flaming email debate. My condition is causing him nervous headaches and sleepless nights, his wife said. Poor guy!

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