(Well, not really. I mean, kind of. Like you think you know someone for a whole year and then they turn out to be a completely different person so you sorta feel like the person you knew is dead. That’s where I’m at right now.)
Alessandro and I finally took Diane Kitten to the vet after almost a year of having her (not out of neglect, we’re poor) but because she randomly started coughing and it was clear she was having trouble breathing. We rushed her to the kitty Emergency Room and found out she has asthma so it’s all good and she has medicine and feels much better now.
We found out some things like she’s about 2 years old and has a little tracker in the back of her neck (which I totally wanna remove, especially considering we looked for her owners for a longggg time and nobody claimed her so they’re clearly just bad people). We also found out she is not a she.
Then again, how am I supposed to know how he/she identifies? It’s my fault for assuming he was a girl, but apparently he’s neutered so it makes sense why I was confused. Also I hoped he was a girl for solidarity purposes, imposing my own desires concerning his gender upon him which is totally philistine and not at all forward-thinking. I never thought I’d be this type of mother (cat-owner) and my surprise as well as my feelings of loss at the news were quite disconcerting.
I looked it up though, and there exists a phenomenon within the transgender community that people don’t really talk about. There is often a need to mourn the person you (or your friend/family member/etc.) used to be so that the true person can live and flourish in their real identity. It’s actually good to grieve the loss of the prior identity and gives the transgender person a feeling of closure without any guilt in moving on.
I’m likening my feelings to this phenomenon because even though it’s just a cat, I feel like I got to know him as “Diane Kitten” and in my childish brain, I built up this whole personality surrounding that female identity. Now I feel like I have to get to know him as a boy and mold an idea of who he is around this knowledge.
The worst part is changing the name. I was proud of that name. (She even has a twitter account.) The deal was that if we found out Diane was a boy, Alessandro would get to pick the name, so he picked “Mr. Tibbs”, Sidney Poitier’s character from the movie “In the Heat of the Night”, which is a badass role and Sir Sidney Poitier is probably the coolest person you could name someone after, but he already has lots of social media accounts and Virgil Tibbs had to deal with so much racism and bullshit which I would like to shield Diane/Mr. Tibbs from. “They chew you up and spit you out.”
So here we are, going through the gender identity process together. Tibbs has certainly taken to his new name like a justice-minded detective to the mean streets of Sparta, Mississippi. I’ll miss Diane, but I can’t wait to spend the next couple decades growing and learning with my perfect little boy. :)