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.

San Francisco Forty-Something

San-Francisco-Gina

San Francisco Forty-Something

San Francisco, my city. I have never been there. I met a San Franciscan last Friday in a bar, like a Catholic meeting the Pope; or a younger version of me discovering you've been to Disney World in Florida. We sit there, two forty-something cis and trans. I hang on the person's every snippet of daily existence, admiring photos on an iphone of a space age stadium. Listening to words that slip effortlessly off the tongue: Berkeley, Monterey. The San Franciscan coolly sipping on her cocktail in front of me almost shouldn't be allowed to say those names so easily.

I can't imagine living in my shimmering, golden-gated city. What did Lacan say about desire? Always circling, never touching. Reach out; it disappears.

On my one big trip to America, I sold books door to door one humid summer. Knock, knock, slam: always failing, imagining how the perfect sale would be. Selling only the cheapest kind that any fool could sell. I slunk from one gated path to another, early afternoon was the worst with hours going by without any conversation, an Arthurian knight having somehow, accidentally, gained entry to the Castle of the Holy Grail but failing miserably to find that fucking cup while others are more successful. That summer in America I remember taking shelter in a library as things were winding down. I read Uncle Vanya, the start of a love affair with Chekhov. That, and calling home each week, realizing for the first time how much my family meant to me. On doorsteps people offered me iced water, even if they didn't want my books. One time, being hit by a car as I was cycling the wrong way up a one-way street. The woman asking if I was alright, me apologizing profusely while limping away with my bike. I crawled into a cinema another time, to watch a second-rate fantasy but I was too exhausted to stay awake through all of it. I don't remember how it ends.

We talk about these things, the San Franciscan and I, the bar is now pulsating but our table remains candle-lit and quiet. She's wearing blue and we imagine afterlives, utopian places you wake up in without memory, time does not exist, no end or beginning, just deja vu and small studio apartments with heavy locks.

2049 A.D. I'm in the city with the bay shimmering before me. I'm embracing my Made-It! moment, wearing a scarlet-and-gold T-shirt of the San Francisco 49ers. Taking trams and walking hills, never wanting this to end. An alternate dimension, though my accent isn't Californian (I was always crap with accents, even in dreams), maybe I'm still transgender or this time a cisgender woman, somehow knowing from past lives that it's important to be there, that I've made it and that life doesn't get any better. I'm ignoring all the homelessness, it's not enough to put a crimp in my day.

4900 A.D. Or watching the oceanic sprawl of a night-time city, distant sirens and honking cars and helicopters chopping cold night air overhead. They're looking for cyborgs – WHO AREN'T REAL PEOPLE – and the Cyborg Recognition Act seems like a long time ago. It's time for me to turn to my run-down car, my trench coat hiding a giant pistol. I head to my motel room with one last night of rent in my pocket, wondering if I could maybe sleep with the awful but apparently single manager, does he suspect or maybe doesn't care? Some men in their fifties have on occasion expressed an interest in fucking me. Otherwise I am going to commit my first crime because no one will pay me to do anything, WORTHLESS, but maybe I won't let the manager fuck me, but rather kill him and take everything because not every case is solved, if I leave the gun in someone else's motel room, someone with a plausible motive, or maybe make it seem like suicide because people kill themselves all the time now in golden-gated San Francisco, while there's an abandoned library nearby where I can maybe squat, underneath the section starting C for cyborg in case anybody needs to find me, or perhaps that should be C for cash (there's always time for irony), there must be writers under C that I can read while I'm waiting, Lewis Carroll or Anton Chekhov, the latter whom I've never read but always wanted to-

2018 A.D. again.

It's weird trying to imagine heaven, or even something heavenly. Barely perceptible fantasies of San Francisco transform upon closer inspection into something anxious, menacing. Someday, as a personal reward for completing my PhD, I'll visit this gleaming bay-area city, the completion of an important cycle in my life, a place I've never been to but always wanted to. Like entering a cinema for a film that's meant to be brilliant, I'll be slightly high, and also somewhat fearful.


(Image of San Francisco taken from Lonely Planet.com; image of me taken by me after my San Franciscan evening and isn't it cool how I shine with the scarlet-and-gold colours of the San Francisco 49ers?)

The Whiteness of LGBT+ Spaces
 

Comments

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

Captcha Image

What's On This Week

My Latest Posts

November 18, 2018

The Crimes of Grindelwald

The Crimes of Grindelwald A curious film, one to categorize under 'part of a series' than self-contained. But you sit down to these 'multiverse' sagas from Marvel and Warner Bros. (et al) expecting the cliff-hanger concept that really belongs to TV shows. With this expectation, I entered the dark cinema an intrepid explorer like Eddie Redmayne's Ne...
November 09, 2018

Gifted Transgender Writers: Jamie Berrout

in Books

Portland Diary by Jamie Berrout I never use to read short stories, but I'm glad I found Portland Diary: Short Stories 2016 / 2017 by Jamie Berrout. As a transgender woman of colour, Berrout is able to go beyond the clichés of isolation and domesticity of cisgender appropriations (David Ebershoff's nauseating The Danish Girl , for example), but also...
November 03, 2018

Bohemian Rhapsody

Bohemian Rhapsody It's received so-so reviews, a biopic imbued with a trashy, karaoke lack of quality. But I quite like Bohemian Rhapsody . The star turn by Rami Malek as the iconic Freddie Mercury is on the nose, projecting talent, swagger and vulnerability. His loneliness as his marriage ends is poignant, with the other band members settling down...
October 28, 2018

San Francisco Forty-Something

San Francisco Forty-Something San Francisco, my city. I have never been there. I met a San Franciscan last Friday in a bar, like a Catholic meeting the Pope; or a younger version of me discovering you've been to Disney World in Florida. We sit there, two forty-something cis and trans. I hang on the person's every snippet of daily existence, ad...
Venom
October 21, 2018

Venom

October 21, 2018

Venom

The trailer for this film was not encouraging: Tom Hardy becoming host to a slimy parasitic alien of fangs and giant tongue, with blank membrane eyes. The hero turned into unsettling CGI nightmare: is this really what I wanted for my hero? After the event, I can say that the film is better than the trailer, and progressively has its giant, sli...
October 20, 2018

Trauma Queen: a memoir by Lovemme Corazon

in Books

Trauma Queen: a memoir by Lovemme Corazon There are times when it's right to judge a book by its cover. Trauma Queen  (2013), the memoir of then-19-year old trans woman of colour Lovemme Corazon, has a beauty within its pages and on its surface cover that's simultaneously self-confident and obscure. As I gaze at the book's front imag...
First Man
October 14, 2018

First Man

October 14, 2018

First Man

First Man In an age of flag-waving white power, this film could have been a Trumpian Triumph of the Will , a paean to American greatness. But in focusing on Neil Armstrong (played by Ryan Gosling), his associates and his family, First Man is a curious thing: a gaze at the tree, rather than the forest, in a way that feels substantial. From the ...
October 08, 2018

A Star Is Born

A Star Is Born Before the film review, my background focus on its star. I love the work of Lady Gaga, up to and including the fluorescent brilliance of her album Artpop (2013). It coincided with an important period in my life, a year of upheaval when I realized I wouldn't live to please the norms of others anymore. Gaga's album was a sci-fi or...
October 06, 2018

The Whiteness of LGBT+ Spaces

The Whiteness of LGBT+ Spaces I'm not writing this in a fit of white self-hate. I've noticed recently that as a transgender white person, I inhabit mainly all-white spaces. I unconsciously select the company of those I'll have things in common with – company that's identifiable to me, company that feels unconsciously familiar. I may not like this p...