Today was the day of the Human Library that I mentioned here.
Sally, my wife, was a human book with the title My Genderfluid Marriage. I was a human book with the title My Genderfluid Life.
The day began quite early. My makeup regime has changed over the past few months. I now use exfoliator and primer and apply foundation with a brush rather than fingers. It takes a bit longer but, for me, it works better.
We set off for Windsor at about 10:20. The car park at Victoria Street presented its usual challenged. The Windsor residents Advantage Card was ignored completely by the machine on level 1. A trip to the ground floor resulted in three failures to validate the card before success.
At the church people welcomed us both. Warmly and genuinely. Many are close friends of Sally and some are friends of us both.
We have a safe phrase in case any readers where to become bothersome. But the readers were all fine.
The librarians introduced themselves.
There was a format, but it wasn’t rigid.
As readers arrived they would ask the librarians if they could borrow a book.
The book and the reader then spend about 10 minutes together. The book tells itself to the reader and the readers ask questions. The book then makes itself available to the next reader.
Quite a few of my readers were people that attend Windsor Baptist church. Several of them I know as Andy, but haven’t met as Andrea. Some that I have met as Andrea as well. Two readers were Polish who were studying in England.
There is a sense of freedom in being able to share a personal story with people. It’s a thing of beauty. Very special.
I presented my story as an overview of how I got be be where I am.
It a story of a journey from a place characterised by secrets, fear, guilt and shame to a place of acceptance (both self acceptance and acceptance by others) and openness. A journey of healing.
Pretty much all that I said is written somewhere or other in this blog.
I don’t know how much of a difference the day meant to the readers of the books. You’d have to ask them to find out.
But I do know the difference it has made to me. The smiles. The conversation. The looks of understanding in people’s eyes. The hugs.
And most of all acceptance. Not begrudgingly. Just simple, affirming acceptance. The knowledge that I don’t need to be afraid or ashamed of being the person that I am.
It’s been a few years now since I learned that lesson. But it’s always good to have it reconfirmed.