Column: Ducks organist Linday Imber shares her trans journey
Before she could be legally recognized as the person she always knew she should be, before she could enjoy the life she was meant to live, Lindsay Imber had to overcome rows of bureaucratic hurdles to establish who she has become.
Imber’s transition from male to female, initiated when she began receiving hormone treatments in June, accelerated over the summer when she filed a court order to change her name and sex, registered his new information with Social Security, and with that done, applied for a new driver’s license. Getting this card was an important step towards fulfilling a need she had felt before she could express it, since she was a child and silently wished she was a girl when she blew out the candles in her. birthday cake.
“It was super exciting,” she said. “For the first time in my life, I like the photo of my driver’s license.”
It’s no exaggeration to say that it was also the first time that she loved herself wholeheartedly.
“That could be correct too,” said Imber, who is the organist for the Ducks, a former basketball umpire and creator of closecallsports.com, which rates and analyzes baseball umpires.
“It has been a long journey to get here. The only thing, sort of this constant thing, is that you have a lifetime to suppress and hide and keep secret because that’s what all that teaches you to be. Society. So it takes a long time to properly assess this shame and its attribution. It is not me who is wrong. It is not necessarily a tangible or finite concept that is wrong. But there is a problem.
Imber, 33, grew up in Los Angeles and dated Harvard-Westlake and UC Irvine. She remembers being upset when she was 5 or 6 years old and her class was divided into boys and girls and she had to go with the boys. She was not allowed to play with her cousins.
She was expected to behave “like a boy”, to play difficult games, because that is what boys did. These expectations choked his mind. She turned to baseball and track and field, which doesn’t involve contact.
“I don’t want to stereotype him too much, but I’ve always been against more physical sports,” she said ahead of a recent Ducks game at the Honda Center. “But at the same time, obviously, I work in hockey and I love hockey. It’s this whole process. These are things that are not gender specific per se. It’s just holistically.
“I think when it all kind of gets mixed up on that elementary school playground, is it really sports or are you just using that as an excuse to fight?” And I hated it all. These are all of those things that I don’t fit in at all, so of course if you don’t fit in you’re like, “Well, there’s something wrong with me because I don’t. don’t fit in. And it lasts a long time. ”
She had a crush on girls, “the normal stuff,” but became confused after being sexually assaulted by a woman on a field trip in high school. “And then this is where I really liked a girl and I really liked a boy, and then they ended up dating and I was like, ‘This is really bad’,” said Imber. “It’s great to be able to love everyone but not when that happens.”
The arbitration website and her interest in politics – she was elected to the Sherman Oaks Ward Council – are secondary to her passion for music. She has been playing the organ for the Ducks since the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2015 and has been featured on several albums. It was therefore natural that his decision to be transgender and bisexual included an important musical component.
She began planning for an album to be released in June, selecting songs from a wide range of musicians and incorporating them into a narration of her journey and her angst I Don’t Belong. She chose October 11 – National Coming Out Day – to release “For Lindsay with Love: Baseball and Hockey Organ Pride” and go out on social media.
Because his name change had yet to be approved, Imber included his then legal name on the album cover – with a twist. “I put a gravestone. Capital letters. Name dead. It’s the last thing that person is going to do, ”she said.
That same day, Outsports.com posted a coming-out essay that Imber asked to contribute. Cyd Zeigler, co-founder of Outsports, said the organization has seen a better understanding of LGBTQ people in general and in sport in particular.
“We know that when people play sports, they are widely accepted, whether in offices or in clubs, because the interesting dynamic when LGBTQ people live when they go out is that people already know and love them. already and respect her and her profession, ”Zeigler said in a telephone conversation. “So it makes it a bit easier when you share with people who already love you that maybe you are a little different. They love you already, and they usually find a way to accept you.
Outsports, in collaboration with the University of Winchester (England) and the Sports Equality Foundation, interviewed 820 high school and college athletes in the United States and Canada about their experiences as LGBTQ in competition. Over 95% said their teammates’ responses were neutral or better. “All we’ve been told is that the acceptance levels and people’s behaviors in the pros are much better than in high school and college,” Zeigler said.
The Ducks annual workplace training session for employees included a new segment on transgender rights in the workplace and gender identity, giving Imber the courage to brief Human Resources on the club of its projects. They changed her name in the system and gave her a new, slimmer jersey that adapts to her changing body. Her face is rounder, softer, and her muscle mass has decreased to the point that she said she could no longer carry three bags of groceries at a time. “I have never been so excited to be so weak in my life,” she said.
In the way that matters, she has never been stronger.
“The takeaway from all of this, the reason I’m doing it, is because I feel like I’m talking to myself as a kid. It’s OK. Are you doing well. And you can be who you are, ”Imber said. “If this representation in sport helps you, that’s all I really want to do. I don’t want the children to have to go through what I’ve been through.