Straight to the top, I told myself. I'm going straight to the top. But partway up, the humidity started to take its toll, and I diverted to a longer path. The long slow climb afforded plenty of time to think, and I started contemplating the discussion that would likely happen on Wednesday. I had no idea what questions they'd have. But I imagined I'd need to explain who I was, and where I came from. And as it went, I was no one special. I could speak only for me, and the life I could speak of included but a modicum of the disruption and pain that was possible. I feared for screwing up the opportunity, for letting other people down. But I had not even a slight urge to chicken out.
The dialog snippets gelled, before slipping from my head as I crested and began the more demanding bike ride back to the valley below. It didn't matter. I wasn't trying to prepare remarks. A friend asked why a letter to the editor would not suffice, why I was going to instead visit the editorial board. It was evident to me that the board, regardless of what the paper had otherwise printed, had little to no idea of what it meant in practice to exist as, to live, to be treated, transgender. And if someone sitting down and just answering questions would help fill in that picture, humanize people being spoken of and treated in the third person, it is the very least I can offer to be that someone.
The opportunity has fallen to me because I was fool enough to open my mouth. I know others will be judged by what I do. It is fair to neither them nor me. It's a big thing, this chance, and the only thing I can do is be careful and try not to blow it.