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[superhero secret identities]

September 27, 2012

Earlier this week, I was at work, sitting in our morning meeting. I had torn a contact lens that morning, so I was wearing my glasses. I tend not to wear my glasses all that often (staring at a computer for 8 hours in my glasses is no fun), and I guess this was the first time I had worn them to work.

My manager, ever the comedian, quipped:

“What’s with the glasses? Are you going all Tobey Macguire as Peter Parker on us?”

heh.

Later, he comes back to the very same joke when he calls on me, inadvertently using my chosen name in the process:

“Parker, what do you have for us today?”

Coincidences are fun, but in thinking about it, more and more I just wish I was out at work. I’m sick of living like a superhero who is trying to hide their secret identity. I want the world to know me as I am.  I’m hoping in the next 6 months, I can get the ball rolling on that. It’d be nice to be called “Parker” when someone isn’t thinking “Spider-man.”

I’m no hero. I’m just me.

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Someone is waiting

September 20, 2012

My life is consumed by transition-related thoughts. I honestly cannot concentrate on anything else, no matter how hard I try. I really feel like this is having a significant effect on my focus in my day-to-day life activities. The real bummer is that this obsession just makes my life seem that much slower. It’s like I’m a kid trying to fall asleep on Christmas Eve – you know if you just relax, time will fly and you’ll get where you want/what you want in no time. But like those Christmas Eve kids, I’m here, eyes wide, and that clock keeps ticking slower and slowwwwwwer.

If I’m at work, all I can think about is how much I’m disgusted by being stuck in boy mode – as I’m not yet out at work – and how much I look forward to getting home and wearing some clothes that make me feel less dysphoric. If I’m at home, all I can see are my more masculine features, focusing on my hatred for my facial hair. It’s a no-win situation. Until I’m living as the woman I am, I’m just biding my time in a body/social set that doesn’t match. It sucks.

I want to be curvy, cute and small. I want people to gender me female by default. I never want to hear my birth name again. But really, it’s not these somewhat superficial things that really consume me – how someone in public is going to gender me is really up to them – it’s the feeling that I’m in a place that comes up short on a number of levels in terms of where I want to be for myself, where I feel I can eventually be. After all, I’m not doing this because I want anything from anyone else. I’m doing this because it’s who I need to be.

(time passing slowly)

After hanging out with some friends last night (and having a few too many drinks), I found myself wandering the streets of Uptown alone for a while. At the time, the idea of taking a walk sounded great, but this morning I was reminded of the last time I was out late and drunk.

The following happened a little more than a year ago:

In August 2011 I was at a bar, hanging out with a friend after watching a football game. After having a few drinks, we decided to take off. My friend pushed on the exit, only to see it wouldn’t move. He had gone in and out of this door several times that night, so it didn’t occur to him that this door might now be locked.

A security guard begins yelling at my friend for trying to go through a locked door. My friend tells the security guard to cool down. The guard then shoves me into a wall. Up until this point, I was just standing there, waiting for the door to open. At that moment, several police officers walk in. Seeing this security guard holding me against a wall, they ask what’s going on. The security guard tells them that we were “trying to destroy property” (huh?) and that he was “just defending himself” from me. (both statements are entirely false)

Now, I had thought that I would at least be asked for my side of the story. That never happened. The police officer nearest me went on to slam my face into the wall, then knocked me to the ground. One officer kicked me in the ribs, bruising them. My head was slammed into the floor, breaking my nose. At this point, I blacked out.

When I regain my bearings, my friend and I are locked in a cell, handcuffed to a bar that runs along the back. I try to ask the nearest police officer why I’m in there. He simply says: “you know what you did.” (nope). He then went on to harass me, call me names, mock me.

I’m eventually moved into my own individual cell, with only a tiny glass window facing the hallway. I’m still not told why I’m being held or how long I’ll be there. I start to worry about my girlfriend, who didn’t know that I had been arrested. I had disappeared as far as she knew.

Finally, at 7:30am the following day, I’m released. My keys, the cash inside my wallet, shoe laces and phone were all missing. The person at the front desk could only tell me that they did not have them.

Without keys, I headed out into the world (from the police station on the south side), walking in the general direction of where I knew my girlfriend would be at that time. I show up, bloodied. She takes me home, I begin trying to recover.

I had been charged with two counts of misdemeanor battery. In the end, video evidence eventually proved that I did not do anything wrong, and the charges were dropped. Even still, I have nightmares about that night.

All this happened when I was presenting as a cis male. Now that I’m presenting as obviously trans in public on a more regular basis, I need to be even more cautious. The CPD arrests and beats first, asks questions never.

In my most recent session, my therapist kept bouncing back and forth between male and female pronouns when referring to me. Honestly, it was a little confusing. He knows my preferred pronoun set (female). I’m sure he just slipped a few times. No biggie. Getting pronouns and names right might be tough for some.

It’s just now occurring to me that it will probably be tough for those who’ve known me for an extended period of time to begin to refer to me by my chosen name. This seems to be an ongoing challenge for my girlfriend. She just can’t call me Parker. We discussed this for a bit, and I get it, she’s known me by my birth name for the 4+ years that we’ve been together.

The point that I keep trying to get across when explaining why I need a “new name” is simply: going by my birth name, especially in public, outs me. I hope to get to a point where the default perception from others is that I’m female. Do I then want to introduce myself by an obviously male name? Of course not. It’s embarrassing.

It’s not that I’m trying to be someone or something else, I’m just trying to sink into the background; blend in with my surroundings. I’m still the same on the inside.

To this point, I hadn’t been correctly gendered in public. I didn’t put too much stock in that, as I very often travel out in “boy mode” (work, at the moment…) or in some sort of androgynous mode.

Yesterday, I went to eat at the wonderful Heartland Cafe with my girlfriend for brunch. As our server comes up, he says, “hi, how are you ladies doing?” I don’t think my girlfriend heard that, but I was already trying to keep my jaw from dropping out of pure awesomeness. When he came back to take our drink orders, my girlfriend made her order, and then the server turns to me:

“…and for you, ma’am?”

BOOM! AWESOME! WHOOOOOA!

Rather than ordering a mimosa or a bloody mary as I had initially contemplated, I decided on the spot that I’d just get a Diet Coke so as to avoid outing (Drivers License: picture of me looking like a total gross dude and an “M” next to the gender marker) myself just seconds after this amazing moment. I did my best to order in a quiet and gender-neutral tone of voice (while I’ve never had a particularly “male” voice, I, again, didn’t want to out myself by speaking), and he went along his way.

Later in the meal, I got “ma’am”-ed one more time, confirming that, no, he didn’t say “man” (that’d be awfully casual of him, anyway).

My girlfriend was just as stunned as I was, as I wasn’t particularly trying to pass yesterday. Yes, I was wearing a women’s top, shorts with shaved legs, my hair was done up in a somewhat femme fashion, I had some basic jewelry and makeup on; but nothing that screamed, “look! I’m a girl!”

I had so much confidence coming out of that experience. We went on to buy some jewelry from a cute little shop.

My streak of passing came to a quick close, though, when we stopped in to Dunkin Donuts to grab some iced coffee, as I was “sir”-ed twice during that experience. Oh well! Still! Wow!

Here’s to future correct genderings! And, I guess, for the meantime, um, yay, androgyny?