“My Parent, Neal”: Transitioning at Sixty-two

[swoosh music][upbeat music][Host] Men have the luxury, they can have long sideburns,they can have mustachethey can have a goatee, they can have a beard.I can see now because I’ve never been into beards,I don’t like guys with beards and here I am with a beard.There’s all sorts of ways that they can play.I didn’t get

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[swoosh music]

[upbeat music]

[Host] Men have the luxury, they can have long sideburns,

they can have mustache

they can have a goatee, they can have a beard.

I can see now because I’ve never been into beards,

I don’t like guys with beards and here I am with a beard.

There’s all sorts of ways that they can play.

I didn’t get a chance to do that for how many years?

My always, my cliche is I make a great man

because I’ve been a woman.

Sometimes I forget to respond to sir

or it kind of startles me a little bit.

The only regret about feeling like a man is I’m not really

still crazy about most men.

[Cashier] Thank you.

[Interviewer] Was there a moment for you

where you realized?

[soft music]

[Host] When I really kind of realized strongly in my head

and being with your mom, I didn’t want to lose your mom.

I really wish I had done this sooner

but I may not have been because

as I get older I’m a little more braver.

[soft music]

[Interviewer] How do you feel about your body now?

[Host] I’m building different muscles.

My body is shifting.

I noticed that I fit pants

and shirts much differently than I used to.

I don’t feel it necessary to go through fallow plasty.

Also, there’s the emotional thing.

I tend to like women who are lesbians will that stump

my ability for a relationship, you know, at my age

finding a partner is not easy.

[Interviewer] And you want a partner?

Nothing more than less,

I’d like to at least have sex one more time before I die.

[Interviewer] I was talking to Avi and both

of us felt like when you got top surgery

like we weren’t in our heads being like, oh, mom’s trans.

Both of us were sort of like,

mama doesn’t identify as female.

But having never had the conversation.

[Host] Not telling you directly sometimes is,

it’s like not telling myself for all these years,

now, in the beginning it was going to be comfortable

just being gender fluid,

but that didn’t feel satisfying enough.

And then so the top surgery was the first step

into admitting that I was gonna go into full transition.

[Interviewer] Part of me wanted you to sit me down

or have told me in a way that felt a little more personal.

[soft music]

[Host] You’re very good about your exterior world.

I guess maybe I was afraid of losing you,

I kind of thought you knew,

I thought we were communicating maybe not just

as well as you would’ve liked.

[Interviewer] Sometimes I have to correct my therapist

she’ll be like, oh your mom, and I’m like my parent.

But then it’s interesting when Avi will correct me

and I’m like Mama, and Avi goes, parent

[Host] I don’t want to say that you’re doing it wrong.

It’s a matter of just getting accustomed

if you keep calling me mom and I thought it would be okay

if you keep calling me mom here.

That makes it that much harder to remember when

you’re outside.

[soft music]

I mean 64 years being Nina, I sometimes

if I hurt myself, I’m oh shit, Nina and I mismarker myself.

[Interviewer] So how did you get to the name

Neal from Nina?

[Host] I wanted something Judaic like we wanted

for the two of you.

I thought Nico might be cool

and nobody liked any of those.

And when we went back to Neal and it was okay

and then I had to decide whether I wanted to be N E I L

or N E A L and I thought, ah,

I don’t want to be Neil Diamond, so I’ll be Neal.

It’s easy when you’re born, somebody dubs you.

Nina, when you have a choice to now choose something

for yourself, it’s hard.

[engine roaring]

[Interviewer] How did it feel

when the name change legally went through?

[Host] Oh, well nice because now I can fit

the profile going into a new dispensary,

giving the guy my driver’s license,

going out to go get something because, and then coming back

and he’s signaling me to come over to him and saying.

[Bartender] I think you gave me the wrong ID.

[Host] No, didn’t give you the wrong ID.

He says.

[Bartender] Yes, but this is a girl’s ID.

[Host] And I said, yeah, looks are deceiving, aren’t they?

[Bartender] I’m so sorry.

[Host] And then he was so apologetic and he was so sweet

and so cute and I’m like, don’t even worry about it.

I’m used to this.

It’s uncomfortable ’cause I certainly don’t look

like a Nina any longer.

Going through the steps is going to get me that much closer

to my freedom again.

And it’s not because of any other reason

than what other people perceive.

And it’s not me telling somebody that I’m an FTM.

[soft music]

I just, that’s why I want to find something

that’s comfortable for both of us still.

I’ll always be your mama.

I was born, I mean that was the thing.

Your mom was mommy, I was mama.

I mean, I’m still that person.

I just look differently.

♪ Happy birthday dear ♪

[Host] I only have,

I don’t know how many years I’ve got in my life.

[soft music]

If you look at my family lineage,

they, 7srcs is their line.

I know things are different now

and I take care of myself much better than they do.

I don’t know how much life I have.

[soft music]

I want to live it.

Ready, two, one.

I’m finally free.

[upbeat music]

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