San Francisco

3 03 2008

The day I made my decision, this song was playing in my head. The day I came out to my Mom, it played as we walked into the grocery store, just as she was asking me if I was relieved about having told her. These days, when I get stressed, nervous and scared about what the future holds for me as a trans person, it helps to calm me.

Yes, although it might not show, I’m scared as hell these days when I think of what life might be like when I’ve begun physical transition. Scared of being a target of violence. Scared of neglect if I’m ever in some kind of accident and hospital workers discover what they may see as a freak. Scared that someone somewhere will try to take my son away. Scared that I won’t be able to travel to certain places in the world. Scared that even going through US customs will become an ordeal. Scared that women will be afraid of me when they see me walking behind them at night. Scared that men will never really accept me as a guy. Scared that I’ll always be the token trans person. Scared that people will only ever see me as a trans person first, not just a person. Scared that no one will love me because they can’t handle a body that has mixed sexual markers. Scared that I won’t be able to love anyone because I’ll be scared to really open up to anyone.

But in those moments when I feel like I’m drowning and wonder if I’m fucked up and crazy for doing this, I think of San Francisco. I imagine driving, alone, on a highway and seeing a sign that says San Francisco. I see my foot on the gas pedal, my right hand on the bottom of the steering wheel, my left elbow hanging out of the window. I hear the song playing on the radio. I catch a glimpse of a guy in the rearview mirror and smile when I realise that it’s me. And this whole image makes me feel like everything’s going to be OK so I wrap it around myself at night to keep away the fear.

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5 responses

5 03 2008
BT

Fear. Yes, I can empathize with that. I find myself terrified of pretty much all the things you’ve mentioned–except for having my children taken from me, because as of yet, all of them are inside here with me.

However, I find myself generally frightened of the idea of being institutionalized as a dangerous, terribly sick person. That I might get thrown out of school, or of a job, for daring to say how I function. I’m not nearly as paranoid as a bunch of the other crazies, some of whom I know only speak as themselves online and spend hours covering their tracks for fear of anyone ever finding out. But I still worried that when I tell someone, they won’t think I’m someone to ridicule or ruin: they will think I’m ill, unstable, or dangerous.

It might be sad, but I know that whenever any of us ever uncloset to anyone, we ready ourselves to bolt if it goes wrong and cut them out of our lives entirely. Then I remember the friends of ours who have stood by us and gotten to know us all over again, and I take comfort in it.

–Rogan, likely some Miranda

5 03 2008
genderoutlaw

Neat that San Fran is a place of homecoming for you, whether it’s in a song or on a signpost in a vision. Have you been before?

I haven’t yet been, but as a Deadhead, SF has always held a special place in my heart: the home of the Grateful Dead and the Summer of Love. Originally, I was planning to have my chest surgery done in SF, so I was excited about having another reason to call it a home away from home. Now I’ll be getting my chest done in Vancouver, but SF will always be home to “all the freaky people” who “make the beauty in the world”, and I really look forward to going home one day soon!

5 03 2008
Jacky V.

Thanks so much for sharing. Fear is not a fun thing to live with, is it? I’m really glad I have a solid group of friends that I know support me – it helps me cope.

5 03 2008
Jacky V.

Hey G.O. I haven’t been to SF yet either. I’ve always wanted to go but it hasn’t been this huge desire until recently. I saw the film Gendernauts where they interview a bunch of trans and gender queer people from San Francisco and it just seemed like such a haven. I might be idealising but, hey, even if I get there and my vision turns out to be less than perfect, at least now it’s providing me with comfort. It just seems like a place that, no matter who you are, you will fit in somehow and I think that for a lot of us queers, fitting in has never been an option anywhere else.

5 03 2008
Jacky V.

Oh, and G.O., thanks for the link. I had never heard that song.

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