Yes, I’m going to Montréal. Again. This trip will happen at some point in July. In fact, there’s quite a lot to says about this.
My reason for going to Montréal this time will be a little bit different: I am participating in a charity bike ride called Friends for Life Bike Rally. I’m joining a group of 400 riders and volunteers in downtown Toronto on July 24, and over 6 days, we’ll make our way to Montréal, travelling a total distance of more than 600km. All of this to raise funds and awareness for people coping with HIV/AIDS. As a transgender woman, over the years, I myself have been acquainted with a number people living with HIV/AIDS, and while I often don’t agree with the decisions they made that led to them contracting the disease, I feel that it’s important to be in solidarity with them, and help with their suffering.
When I first registered for the ride online, I had to write down my gender. This is the first time in my life that “transwoman” was listed as an option. At first I was overjoyed: finally, I can sign up for a cycling event as Kate! But then, I remembered that, regrettably, most people I in my circle of friends, and also in the church still don’t know about Kate, and most people who are sponsoring me will probably not do so had they known I was a trans woman. And even if they would, I feel that this isn’t quite the appropriate time and place to “come out” to my friends. It was disappointing, but at the end, I listed myself as “male”, and signed up with my male name. As of this morning, I’ve raised just over $700, but I need to raise $2200 before June 30.
I have to admit that it saddens me to know that—other than a few exceptions, like my wife and a few close friends—most of my friends aren’t ready to deal with transgender issues, let alone knowing that one of their closest friend is transgendered. In that sense, I decided that I’m still very much in the closet. And as much as I can live (or at least pretend to live) a normal as a young man, I know that in my heart, I too live on the fringe of society. Not all transgender people have the luxury that I have.
Interestingly, my friends who would be most offended by a transgender people—and people with AIDS—are devout Christians, and boy, Jesus had a lot to say about how we should show love to them. Over the past few months, I had been more vocal in discussions about transender issues (another post for another day), and I have noticed that this new knowledge is slightly changing the way their see the Gospel and how transgender issues fits into that.
In any case, training for the ride has already began: a 70km ride last Saturday on my own, and a 63km ride this coming Saturday with other riders on the rally. I have some hopes that the rides will shave off some weight off my belly, but so far it hasn’t happened yet.