Three Weddings and a Reconciliation: How One Trans Man’s Patience Helped Heal Family Wounds

by Connor Maddocks

Hi, my name is Connor Maddocks. I’m from San Diego, California. 

When I was say about 45 years old, this amazing thing called the Internet came out and I met some folks online and one of them was a trans man. And I was coming out to my group online as part of my therapy to come out to other people, and everyone was really supportive except he said, “No, that’s not who you are, I don’t think.” 

And then he told me about himself, and he was a trans man, and I got so excited. It was like I knew about trans women, but I didn’t know about trans men. I felt like the light came on from the heavens and my mind opened up and it was so exciting.

So when I finally made the decision that I was going to transition, I couldn’t do it where I lived. It’s a very small state in New England, and there was no support there. And so I decided to move to California where I had grown up and transition there. I started seeing a therapist, and things were going good, and then she helped me write a letter to my kids to say, here’s what’s going on and here’s why and all that. 

And I wrote the letter and I never heard back from any of them. I finally called my middle child because middle child are always the cool ones. They’re always the accepting and the nice ones. Well, it didn’t go very well at all. We started arguing and screaming at each other and things like, “You can’t do that! That’s impossible! You can’t be a man!” 

And I’m like, “Yes, I can! And I’m going to take testosterone and this is what’s going to happen!” And it just went downhill from there. But it was obviously very, very upsetting. But I also knew if I didn’t transition and be me, then it wasn’t a life that I wanted to live or worth living.

“If I didn't transition and be me, then it wasn't a life that I wanted to live.”

We just kind of left it alone. And I would talk to them on the phone and conversations were just very like, “Hey, how are you? I’m fine. I’m fine. Okay, talk to you next week.” And then a couple years after that, when I’d started transitioning, my oldest daughter was getting married, so I went back east and went to the wedding and met all the new in-laws and everything, and they were great.

But when the actual wedding came, they asked me to take care of my grandson and to go off to the side, to the field next door, to play with him and keep him kind of from disrupting the wedding. That’s where I spent the wedding, just kind of watching him. I didn’t get to see it. I wasn’t part of it. I wasn’t introduced. 

Of course, after the wedding, we went to the reception that night and at the reception, I didn’t have a place to sit. Everybody had assigned seats and I didn’t. And even the family was like, “Well, we don’t have any room here.” So I kind of just went to the back of the room. So the reception to me was not fun, and it was all I could think about was I’m losing my kids. 

So about another three years goes by and my middle daughter who’s the mom of my grandson tells me that she’s getting married and I’m thrilled for them. And yes, we’d like you to come to the wedding. And so I was thinking maybe there’s hope here. This time when I got to the wedding, they actually told me to sit in the front row. They’re not putting me in the back of the room or no seat at all this time, and to actually be in the front row and to sit with my grandson who’s going to be part of the wedding. So I was more than happy to do that. 

It was an outside venue. It was absolutely beautiful. And then we went in and it was a country club, so then we went in for the reception right afterwards, and this time I actually had a seat at a table with my family. I was really much happier this time being part of this and thinking maybe there’s hope. Maybe there’s hope for us yet. 

I think over time, over the next few years that they started to see that I was a happier person and that I was interacting better with them. I had stopped drinking. I had had a drinking problem. I stopped drinking and my life was healthier. Now I have another, a granddaughter, so I have two grandkids now. And my youngest daughter was getting married, and so she called me and she said, “We’d like you to be part of the wedding.” And I almost fell off my chair. 

So the day of the wedding came, and I know I got dressed and I was in my tuxedo and just getting dressed and looking in the mirror and finally seeing me so cool in this tuxedo, and I was thrilled. I was just thrilled. I couldn’t stop smiling. I got to walk one of the bridesmaids down the aisle, like all the other groomsmen did, and that was just all the things you think of you want to be part of at somebody’s wedding, like your kids, I got to do.

Then the reception was of course immediately following, and now I had a special place. I had a place with the wedding party, and that was really exciting. I never pictured this would happen. This was not possible for me to even imagine a few years before that. It was a dream come true. It really was. And it was like a storybook wedding, and I will never forget that day. It was so amazing to me.

I took some moments at the end, near the end of that day, just to look back and see if far I’d come. I didn’t give up on my kids. Don’t ever slam the door. Give them time. They’ll come around. You know, you have to allow… if you want them in your life, you have to allow some things to happen on their own. I’m so happy that I never gave up at the beginning and said, They hate me. The hell with this. I don’t need this… I don’t need this hurt in my life. And walked away, which I could have done. I’m glad I stuck with it and I’m glad they stuck with me.

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