Wednesday, September 13, 2006


In moving to Austin years ago, I started signing my name differently, from my whole name to just "Jo Reyes B". I started signing my name just "jo". Naming became incredibly important in Austin when working with diverse communities.

I realized yesterday that "community" means something different in San Antonio. So does "family". In a conversation with a woman I dated for a little while, she asked what I wanted (in hopes of continuing our togetherness maybe) and I told her I wanted family. She insisted she could make family with me and Tigrette but I wasn't talking about nuclear couplings. I was talking about tias and tios, people not necessarily related but who are invested in you, people you can invest in.

Occasionally someone still calls me JoAnne. It's easier for new people to call me by my preferred name than for those I knew before. But it trips me up, like it's a throwback or like my mama's calling me or something. I had one woman ask me my full name and I told her I preferred Jo. Since that conversation she's insisted on calling me JoAnne - to be different? - and it's upsetting, like someone's not seeing the me I am now, the work I've put into growing and changing.

I like the beginnings of my life here. Lord knows it's not because I'm in San Anto (even if doors are opening for me). Truly, I'm just trying for a different mindset and while I would like a partner, I don't think it's possible right now to be in a relationship more and maintain my goals. I've found very few people who can be free, open and supportive, while their partner works on what they need to accomplish.

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