May 19, 2008

Michael Who?

Posted in Identification at 10:20 pm by Michael

Over the past week or so, twice now, I feel like I’ve had to “Impersonate” Michael.

Impersonate? That’s a weird word to choose, huh? Yeah, that’s kind of what it felt like.

As I’ve written about a lot, I’m a pilot. One of the non-fun things about being a pilot is dealing with aircraft maintenance. I’ve been dealing with that for the past couple weeks, but the thing is that the last time I had a plane in for an annual inspection (its an FAA thing, and a safety thing), it was “Michael” who was the operator, not “Megan”. The folks who do my airplane maintenance (Galvin Flying, at Boeing Field in Seattle – I like them), are nice guys and all, but I really didn’t want to get into it with them.

So, when I called to make the appointment “Michael” called. When the guy called me back, I didn’t recognize the number, and I answered the phone “Hi, this is Megan.” He said “Can I speak to Michael?” (or Mike, I can’t remember, he tends to call me either). I said “Speaking!”… It must have been an odd moment for him. It was super odd for me.

I also noticed that my intonation as changed too, especially when greeting/departing… It really struck me that I’ve changed my speaking pattern.

So, we’ve been talking back and forth now for a couple weeks (I recognize the number now), and I’m “Michael” to him. It’s become incredibly odd.

Another instance: I had to call for a hotel reservation that for a long convoluted reason that I won’t get into I had to:
a) Make it under “Michael Wallent”
b) Then add Anh to the reservation

When I called, I introduced myself as “Michael Wallent”, gave the checkin/checkout dates, and they found me, and then I said “I need to add my wife, Anh to the reservation” (there was a little more too it, but it wasn’t the point). I got the immediate “No problem Sir!”, and they fixed it.

I felt like a liar. I didn’t really like that either.

While we were out for a walk the other day, I mentioned this whole thing to Anh, and especially the part about my speaking pattern changed. Her reply was, sensitive, but along the lines of “Duh!”… It was really more loving than that, but that was the essence.

I’m also really struggling with what to refer to Anh as in every day conversation with people that are acquaintances. People tell stories, you tell them stories, and I increasingly just say: “Well, when Anh and I…” But the problem is that they don’t know her, and am probably not sure about our relationship, so its probably just confusing….

Technically (see below), she’s still my wife. I’m still her husband. Maybe I need to just get over myself and just refer to her as “My Wife” because duh, she IS.



  1. danielle said,

    i just wanted to send you some intangible support. I’ve been talking to lots of people over the last couple of months, and a lot of them (me included) find it difficult to figure out how to address their relationships and their role in it when one half transitions. For my part, I was/am afraid people won’t see my girl as a woman and will think we’re a “straight” couple. A friend of mine is afraid to call herself “lesbian” once her partner transitioned from male to female. both of us just find it hard to let go of the identities we worked so hard to define for ourselves.
    I wouldn’t imagine that would be any different for you, so I just wanted to send you support for your hesitations and that you’ll figure out what works best for you.
    and I think it sucks to have to impersonate your old identity, but sometimes it’s just easier. I co-signed a loan with my girl and had to use her other name b/c – as she said, “it’s just easier than trying to explain it to them right now”. my sympathies.

  2. Catherine said,


    I was wondering about the hurdles you had to go through with the FAA Flight Physical?


    >> Well, I haven’t done my new medical yet, but I wasn’t expecting a huge issue…. note that for the FAA, my *gender* isn’t changed, since I didn’t have GRS, and the meds I’m on aren’t disqualifying.

  3. Diane Juhas said,

    You’re going through the same issues that lesbian and gay partners experience, as far as not sure how to refer to eachother in varying situations. Most of it depends on familiarity, comfort level, and environment of the situation. I live in Boston, so, it’s becoming more of a non-issue up here.

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