Alpha Connect Sisterhood Series

Lisa Argento Boyer, EN: A Mother’s Story of her Son’s Transition

June 18, 2021 Kelly McGinnis Beck Season 2 Episode 2
Alpha Connect Sisterhood Series
Lisa Argento Boyer, EN: A Mother’s Story of her Son’s Transition
Show Notes Transcript

In honor of Pride month, Kelly speaks with Lisa Argento Boyer, EN, who shares the story of her son’s transition.

Disclaimer: This transcript was developed with an automated transcription program, spelling and grammar errors may occur.

Kelly  
Welcome to the Alpha Connect sisterhood series podcast. I'm your host Kelly McGinnis Beck national president. This podcast is all about sharing the stories of our members and our connection through Alpha Sigma Alpha. Thank you for joining us today. Welcome to the podcast. Lisa Boyer. 

Lisa  
Hey, good evening, Kelly. 

Kelly  
I'm excited to have you join today. And I'm going to have you start like we always do with you sharing with everybody your Alpha Sigma Alpha story, how did you become a member?

Lisa  
Well, I'm a member of the Epsilon Nu chapter at SUNY Brockport, they were actually colony. And I had a friend who was going to rush, at the time it was called rush, who was going and was walking down the hall going to the meeting and grabbed me and said, "come with me. We just had had a couple of classes together. And Jay Ray and I both went to this meeting, and I never thought of myself as a sorority woman. But apparently, I had no real idea what it was. And I went to that meeting loved it. And I am a founding member of the Epsilon Nu chapter.

Kelly  
So I did not know that. 

Lisa  
Yeah. 

Kelly  
That is cool. So talk a little bit about that experience as a charter member, because, you know, many of our, most I should say, of our collegiate women join an established chapter. So what was that like to really start from scratch?

Lisa  
It was exciting. It was cool, because there were a lot of women, a lot of different people from the National Organization because as a, as a colony, you get extra visits and other people coming in. And, you know, Rhetta Robinson was there when we were when we were installed. So we got to meet a lot of people without going to a convention that you wouldn't ordinarily meet. But it was an exciting time, being the third group on campus, the third sorority, and I've been a Panhellenic l lover, even from about two weeks in I was the Panhellenic delegate. And it really made a difference being able to have that third group. So it was exciting for us in a lot of ways.

Kelly  
I bet. So that is that is such an experience that so many folks don't get. Now where is your chapter an interest group that started or was there a local chapter that chose to become national, and that was how Alpha Sigma Alpha came onto your campus.

Lisa  
We were local group called pi theta si. And they were required by the campus that no longer would local groups be recognized. So they decided to, and they looked at the different groups and decided with Alpha Sig though,

Kelly  
gotcha. So for folks who don't know, SUNY is the State University of New York, so it's this essentially the state system. So there was a period of time, if I remember correctly in history, where the state of New York at least the state system schools, didn't have Greek life and sororities and then they came back. So I wonder if this was kind of part of that they've come back. But now we want them all to be national groups, not local.

Lisa  
It was after that, because they were back on campus. But I think the President of the campus was fairly new within a few years, and maybe had some experience with Greek life and decided that national or international organizations gave much more value. So because it was really the 70s and early 80s, where they weren't allowed on campuses. But we were chartered in 89. We came out and we heard we were new members for one year. And one day we pledged.

Kelly  
Well, that's neat. That is a neat experience to have. And I know you've been involved in a number of ways with Alpha Sigma Alpha over the years. But one of the things that I thought would be good for us to talk about, especially since this is June and Pride Month, is you have a transgender son. And I know for a lot of folks, that's not something that maybe they've experienced or they understand and I appreciate your willingness to share your story as a mom of a transgender son. So perhaps we could maybe start there in terms of thinking about are you really you sharing kind of when your daughter at the time, when she realized that she identified more as a male and a female. 

Lisa  
Sure, so really the resources that are available now, so my son is 31, we're not available when my son was 8,9,10. So it was really when my son was in college, that he let us know that he wanted to transition. My recollection was that my son was very different at a young age and startedwearing dresses at seven for Christmas, I stopped with the Fufu dresses with he and his sister. But there was not really much talk in the late 90s, of transitioning, not as much available as today. So my guess is he may have felt different much earlier, but started binding his chest in high school. I guess High School was was really where it started and college is where he transitioned. So it's been over a decade since he transitioned.

Kelly  
And so forgive me because I essentially call him your daughter, and I recognize that he is your son. So not the right language from from my perspective, so I apologize. But so he started that really kind of in high school, it sounds like and then what, what was that, you know, experience? I don't even know what the right question is to ask, you know, I guess, you know, as a mom, you know, we, we all want to support our children with whatever they're going, what we're experiencing and living through. But so when he came to you and shared that, were there resources available for you, as a mom? You know, how did you process that?

Lisa  
So the way he came to my ex husband, so Chris, is my ex husband, when he came to us was we got each got a text message, are you both available to read an email, and he wanted to make sure we were available at the same time, he was in college at that point. And we responded with Yes. And he, we read our email, he had sent an email, talking about transitioning. And on campus, he had been going, there been some groups that were really great resources for him and, and helping him with, you know, living with a different name on campus. So he had a lot of great resources, I didn't have as many until that point, then it was up to me to do some due diligence. I didn't really think much when he was binding his chest in high school because transition even in you know, the early 2000s, just still was not something that was discussed. But it was, you know, it was eye opening, I will tell you that I was with a friend of mine who's 14 years younger when I got the email. And it was very helpful because I find that there are some people of a different generation that really just don't look at it, I'm 51 don't look at it the same way, so it was nice and reassuring. They were able to reassure me that they had been more familiar than I was with it.

Kelly  
That that's helpful and I'm sure he your son appreciates kind of the support in you processing that. What, what is his experience been like? I imagine, you know, by the time he came to share with you and his father, that his friends were familiar and knew, and if he was in college, likely, maybe more comfortable being more open about how he identified?

Lisa  
Yes, he and he definitely on campus at that point had been walking through life as a male and his friends, he has some great friends. His friend Shoshana was his friend in college and it's still his friends. So, you know, he had a lot of support, which is great because the the LGBT community in general has a very high suicide rate. And the trans community for sure, has a has a very high suicide rate. So that is something that I'm very lucky that he has, you know, friends and support, because that is something that I always worried for him was that his mental state would get to him. So, you know, he had a lot of support. I do what I know, we went back to saying that you called my son, my daughter, that's fine. One of the hardest things for me was actually, you know, it's fine to correct yourself. It was one of the hardest things for me was learning to use my language that even when I refer to him when he was younger, to know it's just kind of it took a good long time though. It's just kind of calmI just say my son, I don't ever use his dead name or anything like that. So it is, but it is really a learning curve. So I appreciate you correcting yourself. But we all have to have grace because we all learn with this, it took me a good long time to go from that past to the present stuff.

Kelly  
I imagine. So you, you mentioned dead name. And certainly I am familiar with that term. I've got friends that are trans and so I understand that component. But maybe you can talk a little bit about what that means for folks who aren't familiar, and how you know, how you felt as your son chose his name. Given that, you know, I think people are at least, I imagine people thinking of there's a lot tied as parents when we name our child. And then to have our child want to choose a different name. 

Lisa  
So it was, it was difficult. When he had sent the email letting us know that he was transitioning, he had already chosen a name. As a mom, I would have loved if he had given me three choices. And I could have kind of picked his name. Didn't work that way. Thankfully, either. His name is Isaac, which is not necessarily super common, and his sister has a not very common name. So it would have been odd if he was Mike and his sister was Cerise. So at least at least both of my kids have not common names. But I do often get when people will say Oh, why did your name you know, they'll, they'll hear about my kids and ask about their names. And you know, my son shows his name. Because Isaac means to laugh.  In Hebrew, and it's biblical, and also from the Bible. You know, Isaac was not expected as a child, because they were, his parents were not supposed to be able to have children. You know, they were very, very old. So, it really, but he chose it because it means, you know, he laughs and so I just tell people, it's biblical. I just don't let people know that I didn't choose it. I will tell them, what a dead means for those who may not be familiar is their name that they were given at birth. And it isn't something we use. You know, his middle name was after my grandmother, so that hurt a little bit more than the first name. But I you know, I certainly understand and it's, it's wonderful that he has a name that that makes him feel the way that he knows he is.

Kelly  
Can I ask how the rest of your family handle it?

Lisa  
Yeah, absolutely. So, um, his father's phenomenal. You know, my ex and I are very close. We take vacations, we do holidays, minus COVID. So we started to, you know, from a relationship. It is and, you know, I don't know how he would have been, well, I do know how I would have reacted if he didn't take it well. And I don't, I don't think, I don't think of my daughter who my kids are four years apart, I don't think her relationship with her father would have been the same if if he didn't accept her brother. So everybody, my immediate family and my you know, my daughter, my ex husband was great. My, my older sister was great. My mother was a little harder. And she didn't really know for a little bit, my son was away at school. And we thought we kind of let it just happen that as he came home, it became more obvious. And were the I guess it was a double edged sword. My father passed away in 2012. And a lot of my extended family had not seen my son, you know, he had been away at school. And he had facial hair, and at this point, had been taking hormones for a good few years. It was almost like my father, and my father and my son were extremely close, it was almost like my dad gave Isaac like a birth announcement because at the wake everybody saw my child. And some people said, well, it's obvious that and I won't say his name, but he's got you know, he's not using that name anymore, what should we be calling him so it was really lovely because, you know, a lot of people used to say, oh how's and they'd use his his dead name. And I would just, you know, to just and family moves. Oh, good, you know, at school at Buffalo. So it really was a nice way, and nobody said anything to me. I think my mother had the hardest time and perhaps my daughter only, because she had a lot of friends that knew her brother from high school. And I don't know, if it might have, at some point put her in a situation where she would have to answer questions, but she had a lot of great, very close friends, everybody was fine with it. And she was getting ready to go off to college. So I think it worked out, okay, where she was able to transition in and just say I have a brother.

Kelly  
Well, that's good that they were so receptive, because I certainly heard and read and you know, of others who, unfortunately, are not in it, everybody, I think is at a different place in their understanding of the process, and that people feel differently, right, just because you're born a certain way doesn't mean that's how you identify.

Lisa  
Absolutely. And I think, I think the hardest for my mom was, a lot of people still to this day, don't understand the difference between sexuality and gender identity. And my son has a partner who is a male, and I think that confused my mother, that he was then gonna transition to be a male, and date males. And I think that's probably very common that people don't understand. They have a real hard time separating identity from sexuality.

Kelly  
Yeah, I could, I could see that and understand that. Is there a way that you or your son try to help people understand that?

Lisa  
There are some good resources. It's really about, I guess, the easiest way to say it really is, you know, when I wake up in the morning, I feel female, I am, I feel fully engulfed in my femininity, even though for the most part, I don't always, you know, I don't even wear makeup, and I haven't, and probably a decade. But I still feel, I still feel supremely feminine in my fact that I guess for me, it's probably the fact that I'm a mom, and I have four children. And I think that's the most feminine thing you can do in my opinion. But who I feel like doesn't really impact who I love, you know, and who I choose to partner with. So, it's, it's really just about, you know, explaining that, and I think we do that a lot. When children are a little too we, we often don't realize the power of our words. And it might be something I'm more hyper aware of. But even small kids, you know, we will say to them, oh, you're gonna be a lady killer, when you get older, look at those eyes or whatnot. And, and we just often assign, if they're a male, we're talking to a little boy, we often assign, you know, you're gonna be a lady killer, and you know those things. So I try to think about just the separation that we don't know who they will like, just because they present as a male or female, it's, that's probably one of the more difficult things. Because I think we just wrapped those two together.

Kelly  
I agree. And I would say, Well, I wouldn't say that I, like trying to find the right word here, right? While I would like to say I don't wrap them together, there's a part of me, I think that does like subconsciously, so trying to separate those in my mind and sort through them is still that piece, right? Because in a very binary way you think about men and women, right? So if you've, if you've transitioned from female to male, you know, what I'm hearing you say, And I think what is what is true is right, doesn't mean that automatically now you are going to be attracted to women because you've transitioned to male?

Lisa  
That's absolutely correct. And that's, I think, a word that, for anybody that follows the Facebook, the Agape group, there's always a lot of great resources on all kinds of things being put up there. And somebody recently shared about intersectionality. And I think that's a great word to use. Because we often when we combine these things, we don't think about the intersectionality of that, that those things are separate. We do often just kind of merge things. And a lot of it's just our bias or just just years of kind of training that these things seem to go together or we have an auto normative for things. So it's just really about relearning how to, to set your mind to not automatically pair those two things.

Kelly  
Yeah, it takes some work. I mean, it's a conscious effort to be thinking through and and I'm learning about some of those nuances and pieces too and realizing, like I really got, it's almost like you have to retrain your brain from what you've been taught.

Lisa  
Absolutely, it's it's definitely a training. And really, I always call it a pause, you know, and it makes me I mean, for me, this experience, I think, makes me a better person when it comes to other other things that I was not familiar with, whether it's a you know, differently abled people, you know, both of my children don't have any learning disabilities. So being able to pause and step back, when I see children who might look like they're misbehaving, and realize that they might be differently abled. So I think it's made me a better person, because it allows me to realize that I might have a bias in my head about something that I need to put aside.

Kelly  
Yeah, we all have biases, right? Like, they're just natural. So it is being, I feel like there's a level of more conscious awareness of that, and then starting to be able to identify when they pop up. And yeah, processing them. 

Lisa  
Yeah, and a lot of us, I think, you know, the problem is, we sometimes don't process we just go right into it. And I think you're right, that, you know, being conscious of it, so that we can process it in a little, you know, in a fashion that allows us to not, not traumatize or offend somebody or, you know, really bring trauma because there are a lot of times that microaggressions bring trauma on people, whether the intent is there, the impact is still the same.

Kelly  
Right, and apologizing for it, and saying that wasn't my intent doesn't erase the pain and the hurt that has happened.

Lisa  
Absolutely. And so that's why I think, you know, it's great that Agape, and there's, it gives people really, some articles and different conversations to, to learn about all kinds of things, that, you know, there have been some things posted on Native Americans and indigenous people. And just to give us, you know, some really different perspectives, we have so many sisters from all walks of life all over this country, in the different places in the world. And it's, it's nice that people are able to share on there, because they may have different articles that they're aware of. And it makes it I think it makes us all better people to be well rounded.

Kelly  
Well it does help us educate ourselves. Right. So you were gracious enough to come on and share your experience. And let me ask you some questions. But that is not the norm adn and we need to make sure that we're educating ourselves and not expecting everyone else to educate us.

Lisa  
Absolutely, absolutely. And I think having Alpha Sigma Alpha, have podcasts and Facebook page to give people places where they might feel comfortable educating themselves. I mean, we can Google a lot of stuff, but there are times when we might want to have a conversation. And on that page, you know, gives people the ability to converse in a in a fashion, a respectful fashion with one another. So people can share their differences and, and maybe ask questions and feel that they've got the grace to do that, while educating ourselves. Because reading alone doesn't necessarily give you that, that perspective. So I think it's I think it's helpful. I spoke with my son prior to doing this. And he does actually for work, do some, do some speaking and talking about his transition. It isn't something that I always disclose to everybody. In fact, there are times when I'm talking and I'll say Oh, and you know, my, my daughter didn't do Girl Scouts, but my and I realized that my son had and if it's it's a lot, most people don't know, he transitioned. So there are times I have to catch myself, but he is he's aware of having this conversation. And he does it at work during Pride, he gives presentations and talks about things. But in general, it is something that he goes through the world, not disclosing that he's transitioned because he has transitioned for a reason. And that's something that's also a very different in the in the trans community, that I think people often think about outing and actually somebody, I think Kelly Miller just recently posted about that, the difference between outing somebody in the LGBT community, somebody coming out, and then just closure. So it's, there's a lot of great resources out there. And some of our sisters are sharing amazing resources.

Kelly  
Yeah, I did see that. Well, thank your son for allowing you to share his story with us because we certainly appreciate that.

Lisa  
Oh, I will. And he knows that, you know, I have my own story with us because, like I said, you know, the name was very hard for me. A lot of really what I felt, though for him was scared. I was afraid

Kelly  
I was going to ask you about that, because, you know, there is a lot that I've read, especially and I'm familiar with in the trans community about, you know, the lack of acceptance, the bullying, the harassment, the, you know, the suicide rate is high. And I would imagine, as a mother, you know, you're always worried about your child and now, this, this gives you maybe some extra worry, because you don't want him to experience those things, and you can't protect him from them.

Lisa  
Yeah, and it's, you know, I was really worried when he first told me because it was many years ago, and things are a little bit more spoken about whether people, even even if they disagree, they it's not as foreign. But I was worried, I have to say, my son, even when he was my daughter, when he was considered my daughter, where people would have known him as that in high school, he was often mistaken for a boy. So he has the beauty, unlike some people in the trans community of looking very masculine even before hormones. Unfortunately, the people that sometimes take so much harassment may have been a male transitioning to a female, and it looks very much like they've transitioned and people are just, it's easy for them to bully. But some people, it's not right, but they see they can tell this person is they, they can tell usually that they've transitioned. My son, you could probably wouldn't be able to pick him out as a trans male, in a picture of a pile of men, because he has always looked very masculine. So the community, I was still scared for him. And I was afraid for when, you know, people found out, the great thing was he had changed his name legally before finishing college. So his degree always matched his name, because those are things that if you transition later in life, people may not think about what my degree says this, you know, how do you deal with that on your campus. So there were a lot of things that I was originally worried about, that kind of took care of themselves, because he changed his name legally before graduating. But I was also worried about the the hormones and you know, those, you know, types of things for him, you know, how a life of synthetic hormones and that type of stuff. So, there were a lot of worries. And that's where the resources and the learning, set my mind at ease. Those were probably the things that once I got over, not picking his name. Once I got I got over that picking his name that after carring him for nine months, that those were the things that really as a mom, you know, was always like most moms, we were worrying about our children. We, you know, I wasn't too concerned about what anybody in the family thought or would think. Because my standpoint would have been, then you would,  if you don't accept my son, you don't accept me. But me and my biggest concerns were really probably medical.

Kelly  
So can we talk about that a little bit?

Lisa  
 Sure. Absolutely

Kelly  
Your son has transitioned. I know you talked about that he was binding his chest in high school. And we talked, we talked to me a little bit before we hit record. So I know a little bit about that. But maybe you can talk a little bit about what his what his experience was like to transition or maybe that's not the right question, but what did he go through? So I think the hormone therapy most people recognize, but he also had some surgery, but not a full surgery.

Unknown Speaker  
So it's very common for this. It's called top surgery. And it's basically a double mastectomy. So he had top surgery so that he wouldn't have breasts that appeared feminine. And that's very common. Not everybody does a full transition, operations are expensive. Unfortunately, a lot of people in the LGBT community are sometimes disowned by their families, so they don't often have finances. My son is has finances and means but at this point, it doesn't appear he's looking to have a full surgery. Everybody has a different point that gives them that comfort level of what they need for surgery but he had he had the top surgery before he graduated college. So it was the surgery and the name change those two things happened, which is what, when he graduated college, and my father passed a month or two later, which is what made it just such a great transition for him to seal off the family, you know, extended cousins and stuff, because he had had that surgery, and at that point, had really what I consider fully transitioned for him.

Kelly  
That makes sense. And I could see that I definitely. And he's on hormone therapy, then for the rest of his life?

Lisa  
That is correct, he is for the rest of his life. So I often think about it, some women have hysterectomies early, for one reason or another, and in often take a hormone replacement. So it's, it's similar, you know, he'll be taking hormones for the rest of his life. But there are other people that need to do that. And this is something that allows him to live a great quality of life, the quality he needs, to be who he really is, and who he who he knew inside he was.

Kelly  
You had shared with me beforehand, that he, is one of one of the other pieces of his transition was to have a hysterectomy and the challenges that he experienced just being able to have someone do that for him, which is just crazy, in my opinion, you know, that, in general, in women that if you're married or whatnot, you know, even if you're not married, a doctor will look at you and say, Well, are you sure he wants to do this? Especially younger women, because they just assume every woman wants to be wants to have children? And we know that that's not the case. So the whole there's a whole piece around women and healthcare, right? And the fact that, you know, we still don't often get a say, in our own bodies and what we want to do, but for your son, it was, I think, I believe a bigger challenge, correct?

Lisa  
Absolutely. He had really, one of the things that often we as females don't even love is getting our monthly period. And could you imagine if you identify as male, and once a month, here you are...

Kelly  
Reminded?

Lisa  
Yes, reminded that your body is betraying your so to speak. And so my son really would have liked to have a hysterectomy. And, you know, had to go to many doctors and things aren't covered under medical. And some doctors won't do things because yes, doctors in general, and females are often you know, our fertility is something that seems to be in question for so many people. At that point might, at this point, my son had been on hormones for many years, which would really have some impact on your eggs. So the thought that a doctor would not comprehend that. But it is something that you know, he had been switching doctors and going to doctors, looking to be able to get that that final process for him. He was able to get the hysterectomy, but only because he ended up having some some female issues. One of the issues that he ended up having really when he finally was going to get his surgery was dealing with some of the technicians, and the snickers and things like that when you're getting an ultrasound and you present as a male. And then going in for an ultrasound, you know, those were some experiences he shared with me that we're not so great. Those are the things you want to protect your child from no matter how old they are, but unfortunately can't. And I do have to say the doctor that did his hysterectomy was outstanding. He was, I was went with him, his his partner and I were both there that day. And the doctor was really wonderful. But my son had switched to a few doctors and this guy was great. He treated him with such dignity, just the way anybody should be treated by a doctor. But we often are not so.

Kelly  
Well, I'm glad to hear that he got he did have a good experience ultimately, when he got to that point, it's it's disappointing to hear that not every one in that medical profession, grasped what was you know, what that experience must be like. And I, it makes me think too about you know, there there are babies that are born with both male and female sexual organs. So while it's not common, it is not like that has never happened before. And so it is just it's interesting to me how the medical profession works and how we look at the world through all these different lenses and make assumptions about things.

Lisa  
And I think some of its training in medical school and helps Either that will be changing. I don't know, I don't go to medical school. But my assumption is, maybe there will be a generation where they, they look a little bit harder at some of the biases that just keep getting passed down. And that, you know, the people in the LGBT community, and women in general, will be treated with dignity when it comes to our bodies.

Kelly  
Yes, we can hope so. So you mentioned your husband's partner, your husband, sorry, your son's partner. Did he meets his partner in college? Or did he his partner afterwards?

Unknown Speaker  
He met him afterwards. It was I don't know, it was either right before my dad I think it was right before my dad passed, but my dad had been sick for so long that I don't really remember meeting, I don't remember meeting Patrick until shortly after my dad had passed. So it was after my son had transitioned, a good bit. And they met out and they've been together since 2012. So nine years, nine years, we've been together good nine years, I call my son in law, because at this point, you know, they've got property together and six animals, so it would have to be a divorce to separate them, right. So I say my son in law. 

Kelly  
They're not married?

Unknown Speaker  
No, they're not married. I don't know that might be a subject I can't discuss because I don't I don't know. No, no, that's okay. I think, I think and sometimes I asked my ex husband, is it because we both been married and divorced twice? Neither my kids say they're interested in marriage legally, not that it may not change. But at this point, it seems My son is not wanting to get married. I don't know, I think I think Patrick might, might like it, but but you know what they, they work it out and they're a good couple. But I don't know how long I could call him his boyfriend. So I say I say his husband, my son in law.

Kelly  
Well they've been together a good long time. So where they are, there's still that whole common law, marriage and all of that stuff. So I think it's safe to call him your son in law.

Lisa  
That's what I do and Patrick, being part of the LGBT community didn't have necessarily all the family support that Isaac has. So he has us and he's stuck with us and me as his overbearing mom. 

Kelly  
He's very luck. 

Unknown Speaker  
So when I asked him the question, I was told, I'm like, you probably didn't you probably should have run when you started being the mom who calls all the time, but I love them. And, you know, I think he loves me. And but yeah, they're not married. But they definitely met after my son was out of college. There's about six years between, six years, seven years, so there's a little bit of space. Patrick's older.

Kelly  
I was just gonna say who's older?

Lisa  
Yeah, Patrick's older. 

Kelly  
And so how did they meet?

Lisa  
So they used to go, I think they had a common friend. But I think they met at a at a local bar that was really kind of an LGBTQ bar. So I think that's where they met.

Kelly  
very fun. I'm always I'm always fascinated by folks that meet in a bar, like life is so random. You know, you could find your your person anywhere, but I think, you know, I guess I grew up thinking, you know, I'd meet somebody in high school, I'd meet somebody in college, right. And then there's the, you know, I met somebody at work or, you know, I met somebody bar, I have friends that met in a, in an Eagles bar in California of all places. 

Lisa  
Oh, how random right?

Kelly  
Right. And they've been married for years. She's an Alpha Sigma Alpha, but like, it just I'm always fascinated to hear people's stories of how they met, you know, the love of their life. And it's just it's always an interesting story. So that's why I was curious. 

Lisa  
Yeah, no, and I think, I think so it wasn't like a club kind of bar. You know, it was interesting. And I think the LGBT community is a little bit tighter knit, you know, they definitely don't have the same type of job. There's a bit of an age difference. And you know, they probably wouldn't have crossed paths other than that, or having some common friends. But you know, it's, they're both big lovers of sports, which is, you know, probably something they talked about in the bar. Because that's, you know, their, that's what they love. And Patrick is a diehard Bill's fan and now my son is a diehard Bills fan after many years as a Jets fan. So it's, you know, they have so much in common, but I don't know, would they have met, you know, somewhere else where they cross, they would have cross paths, but I'm looking for that because Patrick is very different than my son and they balance each other out.

Kelly  
That's great. So does that mean mom is a Jets fan and the boys are Bills fans? How does that work in the house? 

Lisa  
No, my son was only a Jets fan because when he was little, the bills were great. And he had two cousins that were a bit older that loved the Bills. And he just wanted to antagonize him. You know how four year olds are? I don't like your team! And they said, well, what's your team and he said well I like that green team. I kid you not, but he was a, he spent about 20 years as a diehard Jets fan, even when they were like one in 16. But it was really just to antagonize his cousins that were 10 years older than him.  they must love that he's

Kelly  
And so now a bills fan.

Lisa  
They do. And he he's a season ticket holder. What had happened was he was living in Buffalo. So he was, he got season tickets one year, but he was still. And then after the second year, I think he decided since I've invested in this, I should probably just switch teams, neither of them were any good at the time. Anyway, so he has switched, they're now moving to Delaware. They're staying, they're keeping their season tickets. And hopefully they'll be able to, you know, come back and forth and see them because it's not that far. So it's, it's interesting, but yeah, it took him a while. I said well now you're gonna be close, you can go see the Jets, but they spent a couple of years you know, going to see the Jets when they played the Bills. And I think you know, if the Jets ever had a good season, he might and those in his heart really appreciate that. Mom is not a Jets fan. I grew up a Steelers fan. I grew up when I grew up. I grew up in the Terry Bradshaw era. But I'm not a Steelers fan. I left football for the love of basketball in high school and really probably didn't watch much football, when they had the walkout and sometime in the 80s was really, really kind of just was like whatever. So I don't really have a team, although my daughter's a diehard Ravens fan. So she's, she's in the DC area, and she's a Ravens fan.

Kelly  
Why imagine our Steelers sisters that are in Pittsburgh and you know, Christine Thomas, they're outside of Baltimore, sitting there scratching their heads going, What do you mean, you were a Steelers fan and you're not anymore?

Lisa  
And it's really just because I don't have a team I, I just basketball became my love. So I watch football, but I don't have a team that I love. I joke all the time that the Houston Texans are my team because when they got a team back, I said, Well, I don't really have a team this should be my team. Especially because my second husband was my second husband was a Cowboys fan at the time and so I just really wanted to antagonize him. We were actually at a Football Hall of Fame during the draft that year. This should be my new team, but I don't have a football team. I just like to watch a good game and let my kids fight it out.

Kelly  
Well if you're really going to antagonize your ex husband you should have become an Eagles fan. 

Lisa  
Well that I know. 

Kelly  
I mean come on, us Eagles fans. Yes, I love my friends that are Cowboys fans until the Cowboys Eagles game is on.

Lisa  
Absolutely. His best friend is a is a Eagles fan and I'm sure now that he's moving to Delaware. He will see much more of him than when he lived an hour away from

Kelly  
And there you go. So who's your basketball team then?

Lisa  
I am a Georgetown Hoya fan. And for many years, I fell, followed Patrick Ewing with the Knicks. But I, I don't have a professional team either because college is my true love. So I like to watch teams that usually would take the Hoyas ,so you know there was a time that I'd love to follow Allen Iverson i just i just, i know i know. Right? I so I just follow my Hoya. But it's college basketball and I'm through through and through Georgetown Hoya fan. Even though I live pretty close to Syracuse country and take a lot of ribbing. Everybody around here is pretty orange.

Kelly  
Yeah, I can imagine. So I am a Villanova fan, given the fact that I live out here but he said Allen Iverson and I swear the only thing I can ever remember when anyone ever says Allen Iverson is the whole blowout about practice. My son came home one day he's gonna be 15 but he came home probably a year ago with slides on his feet that there Allen Iverson slides and I'm like Okay, first of all, you You're too young, right? To even pay attention when he played. But I'm like, God of all people, like, all I hear in my head is like, I'm like you do understand practice important. Like don't follow this because this guy was like, oh, whoa, and I'll practice going. It's just practice, man.

Lisa  
I agree. That's the one thing that, that killed me. But I could hear that so vividly in my head. It's only practice of it is, you know, but he was he was Hoya and probably one of the last great ones we had. And,

Kelly  
He had an amazing career, don't get me wrong.

Lisa  
No, I know his his work ethic things a little scary. He was no Kobe Bryant, that's for sure.

Kelly  
There's another good Philly. Boy.

Lisa  
Kobe, one thing he did was go to PE practice all the time. Now. I'm like, they definitely have a different work ethic. But yeah, no AI is definitely had an attitude. It was a diva for sure. But

Kelly  
Philly has a couple of them intheir sports so I'm not surprised. 

Lisa  
Yeah, well, you said Villanova. So you really, there is only one team that I root for, root against no matter who they're playing and that's Villanova, because they beat my Hoyas in 1985 in that final championship, so I'm still not over it.

Kelly  
So I won't be calling when there's a Villanova Hoya game?

Lisa  
No, no, I think it was 36 years ago. And I still have a hard time when, I think they played Syracuse a few years ago, maybe in the Final Four. And I found myself rooting for Syracuse. And I said, This is horrible. I hate Syracuse. I don't like Jimmy Boeheim. But I was like, can't root for Villanova.

Kelly  
Aw come on, Jay Wright gots a great team. He has built a fantastic team.

Lisa  
He does but I'm still bitter. It was terrible. They would have been a back to back to that. I mean, and they were so heavily favored Benza lose, it just broke my heart. You're a bit younger than me. So you may not have been watching the game in '85 but it was it was painful.

Kelly  
I wasn't, but I will take your word for it.

Lisa  
Well, it's been great. It's been great chatting with you. Hopefully this will be something that, you know, people will be able to start if they have more questions, looking into resources for themselves or other people.

Kelly  
Yeah, and I appreciate you, you know, being willing to open up and share your story because I am sure for some, it will be helpful to hear a mother's story. And what that's like, because you can read all you want and still have questions. And the challenge is well who do I ask? And where is the safe place? And how do I how do I understand more. And I think the opportunity where people are comfortable to share their story and their experiences is another way to help people learn, and in this kind of, you know, medium, where you're not getting barraged by a bunch of people with different questions kind of all over the place. And certainly I was not perfect. and I knew I wasn't going to be perfect when we hopped on this podcast, because I'm still learning myself and trying to figure out you know, the right words and all of that, but certainly trying to also recognize when I say the wrong thing, and to correct it. And that's part of my learning. So I appreciate you giving me that grace as as we've gone through this conversation as well.

Lisa  
Oh, it's all part of the learning like said it took me a long time to, to kind of work out how I would refer to my son prior to his transition until now. I guess I do it so well that I sometimes people who don't realize they were like, What did you just say, you know, you're son was in Girl Scouts?

Kelly  
I will tell you, when you when I first heard you talking about your son, I did not know that he was a transgender man. And quite frankly, it doesn't matter. But then one day, you said you had a trans son and I went, Oh, I didn't know that. Okay. I just kind of moved along because it just never occurred to me to ask not that it should. But you, you certainly as you talk about your children, it comes out very naturally. And I think that's one of the things I respect tremendously about you, is it and i think you know, you would hope this for every parent, but you know that that's not always the case. Everybody kind of deals with these things and processes them in different ways. But I can tell in all of our conversations we've ever had, that there's a genuine understanding and support and love and, and i'm sure Patrick feels that as part of your family as well. And certainly You know, Isaac is very lucky to have supportive parents like you and Chris and a supportive family that, you know, understand that this is who he is, and that there are no questions around that. And so I think your ability to just talk about your son is, is a testament to that.

Lisa  
Well thanks. It took it took a couple of years. Like I said, we had to unlearn all those times that I would use his other, his dead name and unlearn putting different pronouns when I referred to times that if I'm picturing them in my head, it's all a learning curve for all of us. I think that's, I think that's life. You know, every day we should be learning something, whether it's impacting us personally or not. And, you know, it's taken taken some time. But I think that I know that I'm unlucky to have my son, there were times I worried you know, about suicide and those things. So anything that I can do to make sure that he walks through this life every day, knowing he's loved and comfortable to be him as important? 

Kelly  
Well, I hope if he hears this, he knows how much she's loved, because it has definitely come through. So thank you. So Lisa, before we wrap up, there was one more question I wanted to circle back to. You had mentioned that Isaac changed his his driver's license, but I was curious to know has he changed his birth certificate and what that process was like, if he did?

Lisa  
Well, he did not change his birth certificate, he changed his license when he changed his name over a decade ago. So that was an easier process. And after investigating, and learning some stuff about this, it is different state by state. And he let me know that in New York State, it was going to require an in person day, and he didn't feel the need to do it and take a day. So what he does is anytime he's required to present a birth certificate, he also with that has his raised seal, court document for his name change. And I think, really, the biggest thing for him was, which it is kind of easy in New York State is the license gender identifiers, because obviously, we probably use our license more than anything else. Here in New York State, prior to COVID, you could just go across the border to Canada with your license. So it was that I know was the easiest thing. But as it turns out, New York State for being what a lot of people consider rather progressive or liberal state is not so easy to change it, it's redid a scene or online resources, where you can check and see different things for the trans community, the processes they would need to go through, and it's given a C rating, which is pretty sad. Because, you know, it shouldn't be very difficult than I would love to see, just like marriage, you know, once again, talking about dignity, being able to do the same things easily that people can do in other states, you know, just go down and get your birth certificate, prove your name change. But without having to go to, you know, all day and have that process.

Kelly  
It's interesting that you'd have to spend the whole day in court just to make that change, when there's so many other things you can just send in paperwork in the they update it for you.

Lisa  
Right, like, I mean, I could tell, you know, DMV, especially during COVID, that I moved, and I could update all this stuff, and do they really know if I've given them an address that I truly live at. So it is interesting, the things that, you know, are easier, and just sometimes the hoops that you have to go to, but at this point, it's been, you know, over a decade, and he's been able to not run into any problems. So it doesn't seem that he's looking to change his birth certificate. And it is, it is something that I think everybody has a different process. And same thing with surgeries is what type of surgeries they'd like to have, and I think it's all something that just gives you a comfort level, but he's clearly as an adult had a comfort level with the documentation he has.

Kelly  
Sure. So when he travels, I would imagine though, when he travels, he doesn't often you don't need a birth certificate to your point, you've got a driver's license, I guess he just needs it. Like if he applies for a passport or somewhere that wants more than one form of identification?

Lisa  
That's correct. Yes, yeah. And like I said, here in New York, we have different levels of driver's license, so some would allow you to cross the border to Canada and being in Buffalo, they were quite close to Canada, and they have a lot of friends in Canada. So they used to go a lot and that was never an issue. So, you know, most of his busy travel was, you know, going to another country and there was never a problem with the license. You know, I don't know if things will change at some point. I mean, I really even think now what kind of documentation will all of us need for traveling internationally and with COVID so, um, there may be a point where that changes, but you know, he's letting me know that he has not had any issues and it works for him. And that's really for me, the most important part is that he's at a comfort level. If it was something that he wanted to do, and it was really difficult, I would probably be out there lobbying and make sure that it was something that was you didn't have to jump through so many hoops. Yeah, that

Kelly  
would make sense. Well, Lisa, thank you for sharing your story with all of us. I hope that our listeners learn some new things as well, especially if they don't have friends or family that have transitioned, that this provides them with a little bit of insight into that process. So I appreciate you coming on and sharing your story.

Lisa  
Oh, thank you. And I learned something new because at this point, I thought my son had changed his birth certificate, but it was just in his name. So it was this is all learning curve. 

Kelly  
Well there you go, you learned something new in the process as well. 

Lisa  
So thank you, Kelly. It's been a pleasure.

Kelly  
Thank you and to our listeners, until next time.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai