Sunday, June 7, 2015

Tranny


I find myself caught up in ye Caitlyn Jenner story, because of my personal trans history. When I was five and we moved into this neighborhood, I played mostly with the girls. We used to have tea-parties in a treehouse, and I always insisted on wearing one of the party frocks and being "one of the girls". When my father caught me dressed thus, he took me in to see our family doctor, who began to ask me questions about why I played with girls instead of playing ball with the boys. He asked if I wanted to be a girl. My brain was on high alert, and I knew exactly what was going on, so my only answer was repeatedly "I don't know." I knew very well--I wanted to be a girl, and at so young an age.

School was a torment, because I couldn't pretend to be a straight boy. I played with dolls, and when my parents were away I would wear my mother's shoes and get into her lipstick. At school, especially in junior high and high school, I was constantly tormented for being a sissy, pushed into lockers and bullied by boneheads. I became extremely introverted and lived in my own world, which at that time was a world of monster movies and reading Famous Monsters of Filmland. In high school, I was deeply involved in drama, and my best buddy and I wrote a  play together, a musical called Sugarlips. Brian had also written a play in which there was an over-ye-top campy character named Lillian the maid. At parties that he would hold at his house for our drama club, I would dress up as Lillian and serve food. It wasn't "being gay" for me--I was playing a character. Finally, I went on my two-year mission for the Mormon church. I worked for 16 months in Ireland, and then, because if health issues, completed my mission in Arizona and Las Vegas. It was during a church talent show in Vegas that I did my first real drag--borrowing a sister's wig and moo-moo and lip-synching to a Barbra Streisand record. 
"Lillian ye Maid"--I'm in high school, age 17. 

I no longer felt that I wanted to be a girl, until I began my friendship with Jessica Salmonson, who was going through the early stages of her gender reassignment. Jessica was working at the Seattle Sexual Minority Center, and I began to hang out there, and being with Jessica (who didn't know I was gay) started me thinking about my own trans needs. One weekly group that met every Sunday at the SCS was a support group for transgenders. I began going every week. They were lovely people, but I didn't really feel like I was "one of them," because I had no firm desire to become a woman. I loved being a transvestite but in a punky kind of way, being an obvious man who wore women's clothing and makeup without trying to "pass". It wasn't until I saw The Naked Civil Servant on public telly that I realized exactly what I was--I was a man who wanted to look effeminate. I was an exhibitionist. Quentin Crisp became my one and only role model, and his book became my bible. It wasn't until Boy George came along that I found a second role model, a bloke who was exactly what I felt I needed to be.
It was then that I first came across the term "gender-fuck". Yep, that was me.

So to-day I watched the Bruce Jenner interview on telly, and it rang a lot of emotional bells and lifted many childhood memories. When I was a girly child, I was just being myself in a very innocent way. I didn't know it was wrong or sick until my parents, society, and school bullies informed me of ye fact. When I got into punk rock, my drag became a form of defiance, a fabulous "fuck you" to uptight society. But now, in my twilight years, it is merely an absolutely natural form of being myself, and of embracing that queer trans child that I once was, that innocent tormented soul who stayed determined to live her life on her own terms. 



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