I was fortunate enough to see my amazing trans friend T and his lovely partner C this past week, and it was one of those evenings that was almost too good to come to an end. The conversation carried us from my front patio to the delicious vegan restaurant (T and C’s preferred cuisine – I certainly would have gone for BBQ) and then back to the street outside of our house over the course of five hours. We would each take one step away – my gf and I up the front steps, T and C towards their gigantic rental car, which would immediately propel one of us into another amazing and hilarious story guaranteed to magnetize us right back to our places. In one of the final of these multitude of exchanges, we somehow got onto T’s guilty pleasure of terrible movies where women dress in drag (aren’t they almost all terrible?). He mentioned that he believes his “root” lies in this pleasure – from an evening during his elementary school years where he caught the end of Just One of the Guys on tv. Having missed the premise entirely, T’s eyes still lit up as he explained feeling enrapt, watching the antics of Joyce Hyser parading around her highschool, disguised as a boy. His genuine delight registered as “I know you’re a girl, but you’re dressed like a boy, and everyone else thinks you’re a boy. I want that. ”
This got me thinking about my own root, which is tangled in the fact that I’m the youngest, by far, of three girls and spent most of my young, introverted life trying only to be whoever it was my sisters wanted me to be.
But my root may be clear – my earliest memory goes something like this: I am three years old. I am sitting under the kitchen table, wearing my everyday uniform of light blue Mickey Mouse sweatshirt, black denim shorts, and red suspenders. Oh, and also my ratty green Peter Pan hat with my given (girl) name embroidered on it in yellow thread. I am squeezing my eyes tight shut, praying in whatever words I understood, that when I opened my eyes, God would make me a boy. Every time I opened my eyes I was sad.