Here we are midway through the trans-people conference (not its official name). Most attendees to this particular convention are male crossdressers and male-to-female transsexuals. There are also a lot of significant others (chicks like me). As I expected, it's an older crowd. In fact, there are a lot of ladies here in their seventies, and they are inspiring. Here I am, a "genuine girl" in her thirties who is too lazy to dress up and go out and too frightened to wear high heels and actually *walk* anywhere, while these gals are middle-aged to elderly and so excited about wearing feminine accoutrements in public they are ready to paint the town in high heels, falsies, and mini-skirts.
One of the coolest things about being here is getting to show off Delia
. Of course I'm biased, but I think she's the hottest girl here. She is getting a lot of nice compliments and admiration, and not simply because she's got a perfect kisser and long legs; she's getting compliments on her style, "presentation" and class.
I myself have gotten advice. More than one lady insisted I must marry Delia (preferably before the year is out), and one of the significant others told me I need to have kids. About six of them. Normally I'd find this kind of advice annoying, but this week I feel receptive enough to see morsels of wisdom in both suggestions.
The conference is being held in a small city near ours but is even deeper into redneck logger territory which makes for some interesting dynamics. Here you have a general population that wouldn't naturally be knowledgeable of or receptive to transgender people but for years have hosted this conference and perhaps have BECOME better informed and especially more tolerant in large part because they're getting paid. The conference has become a reliable source of revenue for many small business owners over here so they are extremely nice and hospitable. The local media and I imagine the chamber of commerce seems to have tried to train the locals over the years to know what to expect and to be nice.
Of course, there are still some people (ahem, teenaged boys and assorted ugly men) to be wary of. It's hard for me (always is) to find a balance between submitting to people's bullshit and antagonizing it. It's not in my nature to turn the other cheek when someone harasses my girlfriend on the street; ignoring overt rudeness seems like acceptance to me and that barfs me out. I don't have ridiculously high standards of politeness so I think it's understandable when people stare at anyone who looks different. Fuck, I love staring at people myself. But staring with a wide open mouth and turning around to keep staring after you've passed by before audibly making idiotic remarks? That's some fucked up shit.
Most people (grownups, children, and men without insecurities) have been nice or at least normal, but in addition to potential insults there's another worrisome aspect of walking around in public with your boyfriend when he's wearing women's clothes and makeup: DANGER. It's scary enough to be a woman, but being a man acting like a woman? That adds a whole other layer of vulnerability onto a stroll through the streets. A man in drag really seems to be perceived by some people as a direct confrontation or affront to all of their hick values while other people perceive it as an invitation. I feel like there are enough people out there ready to justify their actions with a "you asked for it" defense that it's seriously risky to go out in public like this, even with a whole convention of trannies roaming the town.
Today's scary incident? I *knew* I should have walked Delia all the way back to the hotel room, but instead I left her a block and parking lot away from our door so I could get a coffee. I saw the black guy getting out of his old grey Mercedes and felt like he may have been the same guy who craned his neck to look at Delia the other day but I went to get my coffee anyway.
When I got back to the room Delia was a little shaken up and told me that this guy followed her through the parking lot and up the stairs to our room without her realizing it until he knocked on the door. She opened it with the latch on and the guy told her he was from out of town and wondered if she knew any good places to go to just "chill". Sort of a normal way to hit on someone hot IF YOU HADN'T JUST STALKED HER THROUGH A PARKING LOT TO FIND OUT WHERE HER ROOM IS. Then he asked if she had a boyfriend, and Delia adamantly stated that she did -- and a girlfriend too -- at which time the guy turned tail and left.Welcome to the club, Delia. You've just been initiated into the International Order of Vagina Owners.
This is the club where you don't know if someone is misguided or actually predatory. You don't know if you should laugh it off or call the cops. You don't know if you should change rooms so he doesn't come back in the middle of the night or if you should just never go out again at all. This is the club where you second-guess everything because you don't want to blow something out of proportion, but you also don't want to get raped or worse.
On the other hand, men who are used to hitting on strangers with dicks probably have a fair amount of luck with this uncouth approach. There are entire city parks with ample roving cocksuckers to prove it. Guys hitting on guys seem to play from a different rulebook and Delia said that this fellow didn't act aggressive or scary (apart from the whole stalking her through the parking lot to our room thing which is sort of hard for me to write off as a totally innocent mistake even though he'd have to be CRAZY if he meant any harm to do that in broad daylight as a black guy who kind of sticks out like a sore thumb in this neck of the woods). He probably was too nervous to approach her on the street like a normal person where everyone could see him hitting on her so maybe that's why he followed her to a more discreet location. Or maybe he just thought he'd have a better chance of getting laid if he propositioned her in close proximity to a bed. Who knows? I guess that's the danger right there: who the fuck knows??
Labels: gender issues