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Thursday, January 20, 2005

Left it alone

I got an email from a disability activism/support group which I'd attended regularly, six years ago.

Under my old name, of course.

I thought about this awhile. It might be fun to see them. On the other hand, members are from all walks of life. More than half of them may well have voted for my oppressors in the last election.

But I had promised to myself, no more hiding. Everybody gets at least one chance to meet me for the first time.

So I emailed my correspondent and explained the situation, asking her to share my info with the others.

The next day there was an email from a young woman whom I remembered for her leadership qualities, sunny disposition, and terrific cooking.

It was a good one. I cried, of course.

At this group's meetings there are goodies afterwards, nothing heavy, so I prepared for my debut by putting together a plate of bell pepper, carrot, celery, tomato, broccoli and pepper cheese strips. In the center was a little dish of tofu dip, with a spoon. I shook out a little basil over the whole business, to give it a little more sophisticated look and flavor.

I wore my best outfit, black ribbed turtleneck, black slacks, black bandanna, black shoes, with silver accoutrements, including the little silver goddess pendant.

The evening, on the whole, was a great success. I can tell I don't have as much to offer here as elsewhere, for now. But I definitely felt warmly welcomed, and will be back.

:::

This week I met a man, whom I hadn't seen in awhile, in his 70s, grizzled, wearing what writers call a "battered fedora," with large liquid eyes that seemed out of place with the rest of his face.

He asked me, with a wry smile, if I had been aware of my transsexualism when we met.

"No, I was trying hard not to notice."

"Yeah, me too."

I looked sharply at him. Did he mean him or me? His expression had become terribly sad, and I realized he was speaking of himself.

He looked up, eyes brimming with salt tears. "Yeah. Me too."

"You've never been able to do much about it?"

"Nah, ya live with family, ya take care of 'em, ya know how they'd, uh, ya know how they'd -- any, any way, no good, ya know? It wasn't gonna be good, I, uh, left it. Yeah. Left it alone."

The eyes held me.

"What's your name, dear?" I asked.

She told me.

-- risa b

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