Tell you what. I picked the wrong year to detransition. Trans stuff is ALWAYS in the news. My good liberal group of friends consistently post memes on facebook on trans stuff. People who I clearly remember telling jokes about “tranny” prostitutes at parties now post “I’ll go with you to the bathroom” memes. I mean, that’s a marked improvement. But holy crap is it hard to not get drawn into it. I just want to correct their misinformation so much. Like, one guy posted this thing from a Kroger in Georgia that was a sign about their gender-neutral bathroom and his caption was, “See, this isn’t hard.” It took EVERYTHING for me not to correct him- the trans high school students who ran campaigns in NC and VA about bathroom access specifically were REJECTING the gender-neutral bathroom options their schools were offering. The Charlotte non-discrimination ordinance the NC governor signed this bill in response to was specifically about individuals not having to do any administrative stuff to access the bathroom they wanted- no school administrative procedures, no need for your government documents to have been changed to reflect the gender you live as. A gender-neutral bathroom added to the situation is totally irrelevant. Are gender neutral bathrooms great? Yes. Are they what the transgender students wanted out of their campaigns? No, they explicitly did not want those.
But it’s like- the NC bill is terrible. So if people are totally uninformed but they are posting memes against the NC bill that’s fine? There’s certainly no reason for me to get in a facebook battle over what the actual facts are when we both are against the bill. So much of what bugs me about trans activism is there’s no nuance to it, there’s a lot of misinformation, mostly people just don’t know what’s involved in medical transition or what the risks are (mostly because no one knows because there are so few studies) or anything about the laws around gender identification on documents. People don’t know anything. Except they know they want to be an ally if someone wants to do this weird thing that doesn’t actually affect them and supposedly makes the person doing it happy. That’s fine. That’s a good person to want to be. I get real annoyed by people wanting to be that person but really I need to cut everyone some slack. It’s fundamentally good to want to let other people do what they say is going to make them happy.
I always gotta slow myself down. I keep reminding myself this is about the long game. The long game in my own well-being and the long game in terms of being a support for other detransitioned people. No reason to get in a bunch of nonsense fights now and burn out. Really hardly any reason to fight at all. The trends are gonna go how they’re gonna go, and in the meantime hopefully I’ll develop some suggestions for how a person can manage their dysphoria without having to be dependent on doctors for the rest of their lives, if that’s a thing they’re interested in. If they like doctors and they like visiting them a lot then they can do the transition thing and what do I care?
(Sidenote: in my continuing effort to build some common ground around managing gender dysphoria I talked to a trans-woman I met over facebook about lifestyle changes to manage dysphoria. Or at least, that’s what I thought we were going to talk about, because that was the topic of the thread we both were posting on in this women’s group we’re both in, and she asked to friend me from that thread. But actually she wanted to ask me whether the “changes to my genitals” were permanent. I was like, I am for sure not going to tell you about my genitals, and then she apologized, and then she asked if I was poly, then she messaged me every morning and afternoon for 3 days in a row. Then I blocked her. The characters you meet in this scene are so bad at boundaries.)
So in the interest of nuance and complication and the complexity of real life here’s a moment from my detransition timeline which has a mythic tone to it, and also involved Beyonce, which of course, everything should. If conversation doesn’t involve Beyonce within a half hour I tend to check out.
I was working at the rich dude club, and I was new, I’d only been there maybe a week. They had this tradition of having a big party for Frank Sinatra’s birthday every year. The women serving staff at the club were supposed to get very dolled up for the occasaion- dresses and fancy hairstyles, all retro like. The dude serving staff were supposed to wear ties and look nice too, but that’s always what they wore, so it was less special for them. So I ask one of the serving staff what I should wear, and she says I could probably just wear all black. Well I showed up in a black button down and black pants, and frankly I looked dumb with everyone else looking so nice.
But the serving staff at the time at the club was kind of a mess. There just wasn’t a sense of urgency that you need in a restaurant- like, if someone breaks a glass your natural response needs to be “I will get the broom and address this,” not “I wonder who will get the broom and address this.”
So it’s Frank Sinatra’s birthday. The club members show up decked out. There’s a suit contest judged by a famous comedian, who later would go on to hit on a coworker and be savagely rejected by her, which OH MY GOSH, it is so good for my soul to see male comedians strike out with women. I consider it a gift from the goddess everytime.
I worked my ass off that night. Like, worked and worked and worked- and if I hadn’t worked and worked and worked that party would’ve been in really bad shape. And also I was picking up on the many vibes I was getting from club members that they were freaked out there was a woman working at that club without makeup, and with short hair, and not wearing a dress. San Francisco bankers really need femininity from female people. I’ve said this before, they don’t make eye contact with you if you don’t do that for them. Specifically that night there was a crowd around the bar and I took a young guy’s order and he rolled his eyes at me with such open and unashamed disdain for me. Like I was being annoying by working to get a drink in his hands.
So by the time the party is over the last BART had already run. So I had to take the late night bus across the Bay Bridge, which is always a shitshow- lots of people having little freakouts, lots of people who have been on too many drugs for too long and not the drugs they need either. I’m just feeling real weird. I’m feeling weird about how hard I worked and how much disrespect I got. I’m feeling weird because I was so thankful to get this job and I was really like, “Oh thank god now that I’m making more than 30 bucks a shift I can get this transition plan back on track, get back on T, fulfill the reasons I moved out to Cali at all.” But I’m already feeling weird at the job. The social dynamics I talked about in Ice Balls were already showing.
I’m looking at twitter on my phone at the bus stop. Every tweet is about Beyonce releasing a SURPRISE ALBUM. I was like, WHAT. A NEW BEYONCE ALBUM. WHAT WHAT WHAT. Who cares about the rich guy club? Who cares about the famous comedian not getting pussy from my coworker? Who cares about piece of shit young dude bankers? BEYONCE HAS GIVEN ME A NEW ALBUM.
My friends, for some reason I couldn’t download the album right then. San Francisco has surprisingly bad cell coverage. But friends, I was able to stream, over and over and over again on that two hour bus commute back to Berkeley, this song:
DON’T YOU TELL ME THE UNIVERSE DOESN’T LOVE ME AND HAVE MY BACK. This song, THAT NIGHT. Me in my dumb all black outfit, feeling ugly and freakish and tired and my feet hurt and I was beginning to suspect I had signed myself up for a lifetime of variations of servitude to the upper classes, headed back to that basement bedroom in that nasty hippie house, and Ms. Adichie says to me, “We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller.”
Friends, you gotta know I quit and restarted my transition over and over and over again. I had so many moments of “Oh shit this world has been hating on me for being female for awhile and I gotta learn to love this female existence because female existence is the original blessing.” And then less than a second later I’d be like, “Well yeah but I’m trans though and once I get my money right and then fix this disgusting body life is gonna be great.”
I look so good tonight, god damn god damn god damn!
If I had transitioned, I would’ve been shrinking. And if now I kept quiet about being detransitioned I’d be shrinking myself. And if I left out telling you that OF COURSE I spent that winter stoned out of my mind on edibles in that basement apartment watching the music videos from that album every day, and while I was working at that terrible club that Beyonce album was one of the only things in my life that kept me going, I’d also be shrinking myself.
Someone recently wrote me and said I was the center of my own world. They clarified it was a compliment, but believe me I’d already taken it as one. I’m trying to figure out the inside of my head here. I’m interesting enough to have a little corner of the internet for naval-gazing. My journey was/is trippy enough to necessitate a lot of focus on the details. And I don’t feel like making things more black or white, or making myself more of a role model, or making myself more of a moral authority than I really am. I don’t want to be an opinion dispenser. I don’t wanna shrink myself that way. I don’t need to make myself easier for people than I am.
Post up, flawless
Ride round in it, flawless
Flossin on that, flawless
This diamond, flawless
My diamond, flawless
This rock, flawless
My rock, flawless
I woke up like this
I woke up like this
We flawless, ladies tell ’em
I woke up like this
I woke up like this
We flawless, ladies tell ’em
God DAMN GOD DAMN GOD DAMN.