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Tuesday, June 22, 2004

The token tranny

I give a ride to new faces. We are members of a hiking group.

Gorgeous day.

Rear-view mirror says: “So, I know why I’m here, but why are you here? I mean, you people are coming from a different place? How come you
show up at all our stuff these days?”

I check the mirror. Open, honest looking face. I think he really wants to know.

"The flyers do say LGBTQ, right?"

"Well, yeah, but you know how that happens."

"OK, gotcha, I'm the token tranny. But think about it. All those people out there, they think we're both pretty wierd, much the same sort of thing, right?"

"Ok, right."

"Now, if I stay with my Beloved, their idea is going to be, we're lesbians."

"Uh, yeah."

"But if she leaves me and I take advantage of that to go marry a guy, that, to them, is really a gay couple."

"Uh ... ummm ..."

"So I can contemplate either; I must be bi?"

"But ... but ..."

"I'm all the letters, guy; you're just one."

The rest of the passengers crack up. He's a good enough fellow that he laughs too. Whew ... must have gotten the tone just right.

I tell him: “I grew up in the Sixties. Peace marches, rights marches. They'd crack heads at any kind of a march. So solidarity made sense. Still does to me. If they’re going to put us in this box together, shouldn’t we be helping each other out?”

What else, I’m thinking, should I tell him?

I could say: we almost had no role models, no vocabulary, nowhere to go for help. Christine Jorgensen was all there was, and we saw how the papers treated her.

We learned from that to hide. I could say: some did the other thing: entered the traditional Gay culture, learned to be queens. DRessed As a Girl! Style it, child! And when the policemen came, one day, a queen, later known to be a transwoman flipped out, threw a beer bottle, made a scene.

I could say: Your Stonewall, brought to you by us. But there are those who want to kill you. They come looking, find us, and think we’re you. Honey, I could say. Honey, we will always be in this one together.

Days later, I meet him at Movie Night.

He says: “wasn’t that a beautiful hike?”

I nod, handing him crackers & cheese.

-- risa b


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