Transgender Life

I don’t want this site to be solely about being transgender. From my experiences so far, it’s not even something I could write about every week – being in the closet is far more intense and frustrating and writeable. However, there are moments when things happen, unique to trans people. I’d like to share those moments with you, and let you into the mystery.

Please, I don't want to dance

a-fantastic-woman-04-768x512

After the cinema yesterday evening, I entered a gay bar with some friends. I never go to gay bars – or any bars, except in cinemas. I get anxious in crowded rooms of strangers, where alcohol is flowing and the music is slightly deafening. Like Alicia Vikander's cyborg in Ex Machina, I feel vulnerable in my artificiality.

In the gay bar we were okay at our upper-floor table. A group of people I didn't know joined us, squeezing in at our table. Perhaps there was someone who was studying me from the corner of my eye, but that's okay. It was late, and people drink on Saturday night, and what's wrong with looking anyway. People are not machines. Only I am a machine.

We were asked to move, after a while, the upper floor was being closed, it was midnight by this time. Like a gay bar equivalent of Dante's Inferno (14th Century), we were, in fact, being moved, level by level, to the basement, with the deafening music and the gyrating shapes of people dancing. Such rooms really are my idea of the seventh level of hell.

I tried to avoid going down there, sipping at the Jagermeister someone had got me, sipping it like an old woman with sherry. I guess it's meant to be drunk in shots. I don't know how to behave in bars and clubs.

I entered the basement dance room to say goodbye to the friends I'd come with. A guy from my original table grabbed me, tried to make me dance with them. No, no way, I said trying to pull away. Please, I don't want to dance. It might be my imagination but others from our table were shouting in encouragement, dance, dance. After several seconds/minutes/hours/years, I broke away, made my goodbyes and exited.

I feel wretched for yanking myself away from that guy. Like there was something wrong with him, that the idea of dancing with him revolted me, was anathema to me. There was nothing wrong with him, I just didn't want to dance. I never want to dance. And to those voices shouting encouragement, which might have been from the friends at the bar, or from the inside of my head, please don't think that everyone likes dancing, and that there's something wrong with me for not wanting to dance. I don't cast aspersions on people who don't express themselves through writing. Some people dance, while I can only write, and so the cosmos goes. The only constant is the way we wake up Sunday morning, after a late night out, and in our heads are echo chambers telling us how shit we are.

Written the following Monday:

Few articles, and few experiences, shook me and distressed me in their making than the above. With my transitioning going smoothly, my life with its routines, my documents all stating 'F' under gender, last Saturday night felt like a traumatic regression. How or why do I describe myself repeatedly as artificial? Why deny myself the possibility of something sensuous with another? I guess what it exposes is how your transitioning identity can move at different speeds. Professionally and academically and also with friends, I am comfortably trans female; what you see is what you get. But sexually, this part hasn't developed at all, mainly because I haven't allowed it to. I guess this will continue for the time being, my conscious barrier remaining. I won't go again to bars or clubs until I'm ready, and I feel my body is more at one with the identity I yearn for, and to some degree have successfully, finally begun embracing. Until then, I remain Gina in almost every situation except the most intimate kind of all - a place where I don't exist, and am not even sure I have the language for, until some day.

Saturday Night Party at Valentina's
Identity Politics
 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Guest
Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Captcha Image

My Latest Posts

June 15, 2018

Anxiety Dreams and the Cisgender Label

Anxiety Dreams and the Cisgender Label I know it's bad form to talk about one's dreams but I'd like to start this post by talking about how I woke up in darkness last night, after an evolving, unpleasant, anxiety dream about being trans. In the first half of the dream, people saw me in a nice apartment, and wanted to take it for themselves because ...
June 09, 2018

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Darker and more disturbing than any Jurassic Park film before, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is an epic, popcorn movie that channels our pessimistic current zeitgeist, leaving me to leave the cinema with a feeling of unease. I watched this film and thought of the way the real world is going, with a feeling of dread. ...
June 03, 2018

The Breadwinner

  The Breadwinner Afghanistan. The Taliban. A youthful female protagonist, gender-bending for the sake of her family's survival. The Breadwinner is a hypnotic, enchanting animation that has, at its core, the tensest of dynamics, sometimes re-calibrated with kaleidoscopic colours and emotions. Mixing brutal realities with recurring fa...
June 03, 2018

On loving a film that others hate

  On loving a film that others hate Instead of going to the cinema yesterday, I stayed in with my flatmate to watch a film I really like, High Fidelity (2000). How to describe the 'oh shit' moment when you realize a film you recommended is going down really badly with the other person? Following the ending, my flatmate spoke of it as if emergi...
May 30, 2018

Star Wars Spirituality

  Star Wars Spirituality I'm sitting on a plane as it's rising; it hits the clouds, breaking through, and the tension in my shoulders gives way to the smile across my face. Sunshine glistening against my window, with fields of cloud below me as far as I can see. I sit back, waiting to sip at the plastic see-through cup of blood-red wine. A hun...
May 27, 2018

Excluded by Julia Serano

in Books

Excluded by Julia Serano When she poetry-slams , the conviction and the eloquence Julia Serano possesses as a writer is there for all to see. Her style of fierce, funny, thoughtful insights is also present in Excluded (2013), arguably Serano's transgender manifesto, with a particular focus on issues of trans exclusion and commun...
May 27, 2018

Solo: A Star Wars Story

  Solo: A Star Wars Story Growing up as a Star Wars fanatic, my favourite character was Han, the reluctant Star Wars hero who grounded the original trilogy with a cynical humanity. Luke and Leia were just too perpetually honourable to have arcs: only Han, you felt, might genuinely have contemplated a descent into the Dark Side. Such darkness i...
May 20, 2018

Transgender Art: Metanoia

Transgender Art: Metanoia Transgender art comes around rarely, I've found, or perhaps I just haven't felt touched by it before. One of the most famous trans artists, Del LaGrace Volcano , is the kind I don't feel drawn to, images of the artist all gurning and grotesque, seeming to depend on shock and incongruity. Their work for me prompts thes...
May 20, 2018

London: Digital Identities Conference

  London: Digital Identities Conference 18.05.18 Presenting at a conference on deprived sleep is like wandering Peruvian forests on Ayahuasca The last few days have seen me emerging from hypnotic tortures of sleep deprivation, of days blurring into nights blurring into dawns and hotel breakfasts. Train journeys taking me to speak at a conferen...