dariaphoebe: (redhead)
We sat in the same pub we'd had dinner in a few hours earlier. Separating those moments, we'd walked a bit over 4 miles around the small town in which we sat. Punctuating our walk were a college's grounds and the courthouse of the county that cleaved to the southwest flank of my own. Our party of 8 had shrunk to just 3: my ex and another friend who played the same game we did sat across from me.

We waited, at first, to see if someone would come by to take our order. Finally, the owner came by and queried as to what we wanted. As I spoke, I asked myself what was passing through his mind. Maybe he hadn't known I was transgender before I opened my mouth. It was certainly possible. I was quite certain he would after hearing me talk, though.

As they chatted, I passed to and from the conversation as I checked my phone compulsively. The world was changing around us as we sat there, and unlike them, I didn't have the privilege to ignore it.

I tried to stay engaged in the moment. There was nothing I could do, anyway. Still, as the musing continued, I finished my drink, and then the water in front of me. A 45 minute ride back to the city would follow, and one of my medications is a diuretic. Even though I knew what I needed to do, the burden had increased.

Finally, though, I steeled my resolve and walked away to void my bladder. I still had that option.

The state of North Carolina last evening passed HB2 of 2015, an act which in addition to some collateral damage of minimum wage and anti-discrimination laws would make it illegal for me to use the proper lavatory facilities in any state or school facility in their borders. More broadly, though, the local anti-discrimination laws which were struck would have also protected my ability to use the correct bathrooms in other public places.

The laws codify the gender on a birth certificate, so my Pennsylvania birth means that the surgery I plan to have when I figure out which rock I left the money under will entitle me again to the right facilities there. In that vein, my privilege shows again: I'm rather certain I'll eventually find a way to pay.

But the trend is now evident, and it points at an ugly future. It beckons the way to a world where I am expected to put myself in harm's way, in the path of people who would molest me because I am, and have been forced to be, accessible to them in moments where they might not otherwise be controlling their urges and impulses. It's not unique to me, either: a conservative estimate places the transgender population of just this country at over a million people.

Two interstates and a simple path of surface roads separated me from the bed I planned to end the night in, but the truth of the world weighed on me far more during the ride than the full bladder I'd traded for it had.
dariaphoebe: (redhead)
Life is filled with chances for redemption. Most things you screw up are not permanent. And so, as I sat next to an air pump with a jammed coin slot, I toiled alone at removing a tire in the humid morning air.

I was blocks from home, but the tire had gone completely flat. Intent on limping to the local tire shop, I went a block before concluding it was too far gone and pulling into a filling station to attempt to reinflate the tire. But upon failing, I resolved that I would change it. This time, I would do it myself.

The jack handle bent, but I worked until I got the car in the air. I broke the lugnuts free until they were hand-tight. I unmounted the bike rack from the spare, lightly cursing that within a minute a random Cincinnatian had offered to help last time, whereas at home I was alone. But at the same time, I wanted to do this myself. Of course, just as I discovered one of the spare tire lugs had stripped did someone come by and offer to help. I had to decline the offer, explaining why I'd lost. I again limped the car a block, to a garage, where a second passer-by offered to help. He gave it a cursory try before concluding I was right. Still stuck, I popped my head in the garage, and when they too couldn't make it work, a quick hit with their air hose got me to the tire shop 12 blocks away.

Like last time, I failed to change a tire. This time, though, I could not judge myself so harshly: the failure was mechnical, not human. And my neighborhood was redeemed to my eyes in the process, a gift all its own.
dariaphoebe: (redhead)
I concluded just where I started: confessing again my shortcomings to my audience while offering my desire that someone better qualified than me had appeared before them to illustrate our humanity. The woman next to me, the one who'd demonstrated the lack of understanding that had brought me here in the first place, countered that she felt I was the ideal person to be sitting where I was.

I didn't get a good read as to the sincerity of the statement.

I'd been nervous the night before, to the extent of picking out an outfit before I slept, sleeping badly, and then fussing excessively over minutia while getting ready. But by the time I arrived, I was calm. I'd had a leisurely ride over the river in fantastic weather. I wasn't worried. Why should I be? I knew the topic at hand: I had, and was still, living it.

I gave the capsule summary of my life, carefully explaining exactly what perspective I could offer, and what I was certain existed but had not experienced. They asked questions, and I answered. I was utterly transparent. The meeting was "off the record", but I can't imagine I'd have been more reserved even if it wasn't. I could imagine a couple of the questions making someone uncomfortable. I am not that someone.

My friend, who had arranged the meeting, sat on the other side of me, a couple times offering questions which may have helped lead them to things we'd all not considered. At the end, I regretted only one thing. The question was not an unfamiliar one. I'd considered it repeatedly for years, and still had no answer to satisfy my scientific desires. If you are lucky, you do. If you are luckier, it's one you've never felt the need to ask.

What does gender mean to you?
dariaphoebe: (redhead)
There are two stories I could tell you. The props and the characters are the same. One would showcase my utter failure as an independent woman. And so, here is the other.

I was about halfway into my trip, and I made a stop in a neighborhood not unlike my own. I had gotten into a pocket where the storm hadn't yet arrived, in spite of the fact that I had been driving just over 4 hours directly against the front and into the rain. Not wanting my bicycle to get rained on for the next 4 hours, I stashed it inside the car, then walked across the street to try a local beer. The plan was to have a drink, get a bite at the public market a block away, and then continue on. At least, that was the plan.

Headed to lunch, I noticed something on my windshield. A receipt, apparently. I looked more closely and realized it had been written on. "You have a FLAT TIRE". I checked. Yup.

Well, I knew where my jack was, so I got at it. And shortly thereafter, a stranger parked nearby, and volunteered to help. And so, in a random brewery parking lot in a neighborhood named by the Germans who had long ago settled there, I met a man named Corey, who got me set again. He introduced me to his friend, who he was late meeting. I insisted on buying him his first pint, and so had another myself before I walked to lunch.

In not even 10 years, I have shared a pint with many people. Many of them might have had no reason to so much as say a word to me, but there we sat, at least one thing in common: the desire to try an interesting beverage, a new or exciting flavor. There are many people in the world who can and do offer me scorn and disdain, and in many of them it's fueled by the drinks they've consumed. The fine line between blessing and curse stands out to me, that a thing which used poorly can cause so much trouble can just as easily serve as a unifier, an entreƩ into the life of many a wonderful person.


dariaphoebe: (Default)

May 2017

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