Meredith Guest Writing
When I came out as transgender, Caleb was entering 10th grade and Lia 8th. These are not easy years in a child’s life, even under the best of circumstances, so our plates were full dealing with the ordinary and extraordinary issues attenuating our unusual circumstances. We were blazing trails through unknown territory, and what lay ahead was almost impossible to anticipate. Issues were dealt with as they came up, obstacles surmounted, problems solved. It wasn’t always pretty, but given there were no maps, we did pretty well.
At some point, the issue of marriage presented itself to me. These kids were eventually going to marry, whereupon a whole new group of people would be introduced to and asked to deal with an issue with which they likely had no experience. And not only would they have to deal with transgenderism in the abstract, but with a living, breathing, 6’2” incarnation of it.
As luck would have it, both my decidedly nonreligious children decided to sanctify their relationships in the temple of marriage where every door is very clearly labeled: Bride. Groom. Mother. Father. Family. Friends. Nor did I need to wander around the perimeter of this ancient edifice to know that nowhere would I find a door labeled: Queer Parent. Oh great, another place where they – not I – would have to create, excavate, carve out, perhaps with hammer and chisel, a special door for me. Great. Just great.
Caleb’s marriage to Nicole was tricky enough, but fortunately and gratefully, her extended mid-western family turned out to be extremely accepting – and delightful to boot. Lia’s marriage, however, presented a very special problem, one freighted with powerful emotional significance: Who would walk her down the aisle? Not her dad; for he was gone. The answer, of course, was her best childhood friend, her constant companion on this strange and difficult journey – her brother.
As for me, they asked me to officiate.
“Are you kidding?” I protested. “When I see your brother walking you down the aisle, I’m going to completely go to pieces; they’re going to have to mop the floor around me.”
“You can do it,” Lia assured me. “Just put your minister hat on.”
Minister hat, schminister hat; this was my little girl we were talking about.
Fortunately I had plenty of time to prepare. Wanting to get married in one of their favorite places, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Brandon and Lia set the date over a year in advance to give everyone ample notice. By the time it finally rolled around, I felt mostly ready. For one thing, I had shed countless tears just imagining the ceremony and what I would say and do in it. Surely that would count for something. The travel arrangements – no small feat for a transsexual – had been made, and I was excited to see a whole new country for the very first time.
On the afternoon of the ceremony, I walked into the room where her mother, Marsha, was helping Lia into her wedding dress. Her back was to me, and suddenly, without warning, all my careful preparation turned into tropical butterflies and flew straight out the window. From carefully capped wellsprings down inside me, the emotions broke free, and before I could check them, my eyes filled with tears.
“You can’t lose it,” an urgent voice cautioned, “not now, not yet.” I turned and walked out.
She had asked me to do this, and I had agreed, reluctantly, but agreed, nonetheless. I had a job to do. I pulled myself together and walked back in to check on – not my beautiful, precious daughter – but to check on the bride.
When the time came for her handsome brother to walk her down the aisle, I did fine. It was Lia who lost it.
The ceremony was a smashing success. Lia and Brandon had done an excellent job crafting it, their vows to one another were moving and eloquent, they had included elements that were thoughtful and rich, and in these circumstances, and in this beautiful setting, with these two lovely people, even I came off looking pretty good.
Here are some photos of the blessed event.