The above photo was taken approximately 16 years ago. At that time, people were still getting used to surfing the internet, and AOL chat rooms were still a big thing. This picture is a rarity - it has most of the active hosts from the AOL Widows and Widowers Chat Room, and hosts from the former GROWW Chat Room started by former AOL hosts. I can't remember all of these people's names, and many of the older folk in this picture have passed away. But if you were to bring us together again, you'd likely find a camaraderie that few groups ever are lucky enough to have.
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I know for a fact that there is one transgender person in this picture. But this person won't be identified, as it is important to preserve her privacy. The way each spouse died is unique, yet there many commonalities: Car Accidents, Diseases, Suicides, and even an auto-erotic asphyxiation. One can only imagine how that woman (not in this picture) felt when she came home and found her husband dead. The police did a thorough investigation, and ruled the man's death was tragic and accidental.
When one is transgender, how does s/he discuss a past life when s/he was not yet "out"? I tend to discuss life with my late wife with me as the female and she as the male. Instead of my wife dying of uterine cancer, I describe the death as coming from untreated prostate cancer. There are many incidents that I can't directly discuss, that I could easily and tastefully do if I were in male mode.
One of the women (out of view from the camera) who was there for the gathering lives about an hour and a half from me. I have gone past her town in both male and female modes. But I have never called her to say hello, in part because I don't always have much to say. Would she be shocked to find out that I am transgender? Who knows? But I'm not likely to tell her about this side to me, unless I have good reason to do so - such as if she talks about a family member and wants advice.
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If I ever get married again, I wonder how I will dress for the wedding. Meg, in her inactive blog, had pictures of her wearing an ivory dress in her second wedding. I envy her. Like me, Meg is a TG who attended Queens College. We might have been in the same classes together without realizing it. Even though we are not close, if I am fortunate enough to find a mate who would be comfortable with me wearing the white dress at the wedding, I plan to invite Meg and her wife, so that we'd have good company for the dinner afterwards.