I had a drink with a friend the other night, at a newer brewery*. It was a really great night. Even though I got carded (I really need a new drivers license, hopefully in 3-4 months I may legally change my name, and at least have a female name and appearance on it, even if it still says “M”), but it was no big deal. They were respectful, and treated me like any other woman. No one stared at me. I not only felt comfortable with my girlfriend and our friend, but I felt comfortable in the place, chatting up waitresses and being my usual bubbly self. We had a little food, but I was watching my waist & my wallet, and I didn’t have a full dinner (I split appetizers with my girlfriend). I only had one beer, so I didn’t get drunk or even tipsy (well, I do get pretty animated after just half a drink, and at home I put plastic wrap and a rubber band over the half-empty beer bottle and save it for tomorrow, hashtag cheapest date ever). But it had been a long week at work. My girlfriend politely ignored all my nonverbal / discreet attempts to say, “Your sweetie is exhausted!!!” So I was loving the conversation, but went home a bit after I was worn out.
Then I did a stupid (albeit very small stupid, in the grand scheme of things) thing. I wanted to stop at the supermarket for a couple of things for making brekkie after sleeping in. So the supermarket that’s around the corner is the kind of place where there are semi-abandoned-by-their-parents groups of kids with bad manners roving around. Kids incidentally who are too old to be awake, let alone in the store, at that hour. Anyhow. I’ve gone in there during the day, dressed en femme, and it was cool, but this was different. These kids did some serious slack-jawed staring. Now, you should know that African American kids, especially, stare at me en homme too, maybe even more. They even ask me if I know I look just like Michael Jackson (I don’t, but I’m polite and say I get that all the time in my best southern charm) or go get their sister to show them. So I don’t even know if they were staring because they knew I was trans or because I’ve just always been something unlike anything they’d ever see before. But tired and late at night and … It really got to me. I cried and cried into my sweetie’s shoulder in bed that night. Everything can change in a moment – it had been such an affirming evening.
I get over myself pretty quickly. As I was crying, my intersectionalist nucleus** was already gently pointing out that these are poor minority kids, who are left to wander the supermarket at 11 PM, and even being trans, I sadly have a huge number of advantages over them, and in most of society outside of a supermarket at 11 PM on a Friday, I am way less marginalized than they are. By the morning. I was proud that I held my head up and got everything I needed instead of bolting out. And … honestly, I don’t feel emotionally different on estrogen, but crying in front of someone else, and for myself (as opposed to over someone else or a movie or story) is something I’ve never been able to do, so I felt really proud of myself for being able to cry in my girlfriend’s arms. And then again, I was chopping cilantro to put in the omelette and listening to country music on the SoundLink, and again, everything can change in a moment. Thank god for that.
* Excellent, incidentally – they have saganaki and sausages they light on fire, and it’s fun to let boys light stuff on fire in a safe environment, and I had a great dark cherry wheat beer. Also my girlfriend lets me make her order things I want to taste, if they look like she’ll like them too, and having been played by that one many times, I am really enjoying being on the other side of it!
** Usually, it’s called a nucleus if it’s in your central nervous system, and a ganglia if it’s outside, but the basal ganglia are an obvious exception. Anyway, I’m trying to internalize my intersectionalism here, people!