The Traditions Of My People

A  guy came up and needed a lunch ticket.  I reached down and pulled out one that a co-w0rker had just left.

“Nice magic trick,” Daniel Colb Rothman said.

“Well, that was my only ticket. It only works once.”

Daniel looked at me.   “When you need more, you will have more,” he told me.

I wasn’t sure that I believed him.

But when Ava asked if it was possible to get the gentleman she was chatting with at the bar a ticket for dinner, I reached into the pocket of my badge and pulled out a ticket.

A fellow was leaving and stopped at the desk to say he wouldn’t be going to the dinner tonight, and could someone use his ticket?  I promised I would find a good use.

It turns out that Daniel trusted my magic more than I did.

We have a peculiar kind of magic, we transpeople.

Ava suggested I bring other hair to try an updo, and suggested I bring more hair.   There wasn’t time to do anything fancy, so I tried it on and she cut in the bangs.

I looked in the mirror and immediately started singing “Love Can Build A Bridge.”  I looked like a drag show version of Wynonna Judd.

It wasn’t how I wanted to go to the gala, but it wasn’t bad.   I have hosted and performed in drag shows, after all.   It’s part of the traditions of my people.

Ava and I had a lovely chat with a periodontist from Boston, a transman, who came out to be with his people.  And even Amanda Simpson, well, she knows things and has experienced things that you can’t talk about with someone who hasn’t been there, done that, and eaten the t-shirt as the amazing Lindsay used to say before AIDS took her.

He couldn’t  imagine why men wouldn’t chase after Ava.  After all, weren’t there lots of ads from men looking for special girls?

That’s the same mistake Ray Blanchard made when he invented the concept of autogynephila at the Clarke.  What men say they are looking for isn’t necessarily what they want.  And while they want us for a wild night, well, we aren’t the kind of girls they feel safe taking to Sunday dinner at Mom’s house.

Our partners have to engage their own bisexuality, because they need to have a relationship with all of us, in the bedroom or walking down the street.   And men who are ready to stand up and deal with their own queerness are rare, whether they identify as straight or gay.

I had a spoke with a father from Maine whose child told him, at five years old, that whatever the shape of her pee-pee, she was a girl.   He has spent the last ten years fighting to make her life safe.

He was so proud as he, like any other parent, pulled pictures of his kids from his wallet, one of two young boys together, and then two school pictures of older smiling kids, one a boy and one a lovely girl.

“The LGBT group has gotten marriage equality, and now they think they want to do trans rights,” he told me.  “But I’ll be dammed if they use my 15 year old daughter as a poster child.  She thinks she can handle it, she wants to handle it, but she’s fifteen.”

I’ve seen some parents who want to fight for their kids, but don’t want to enter into the experience of being trans in the world.   Yet it is that experience, the traditions of my people, that have helped us get to the point where today’s transkids have a chance to be themselves.

“Thank you,” I said, as I shook his hand. “Thank you for helping your child be herself.”

And thank you, too, for entering and respecting the traditions of my people.

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