I rarely visit a real-honest-to-God Tranny Bar much anymore, but I go once in a while to reaffirm my roots. I'd been at the Oxwood Inn on a Saturday, a venerable Lesbian bar in the San Fernando Valley that is now your basic Tranny bar for two nights a week, and was pulling out of the parking lot to go home. I moved my beat up Chevy into the driveway, and was and about to turn right onto Oxnard Street when a massive white American-made Lincoln/Caddy/Whatevah started flashing his brights in a manic fashion at me. I have spent many, many years leaving tranny bars at the end of the evening and I know that this is the Universal symbol for "Hey, I'm too fucking lazy to get out of my car and too cheap to pay the five bucks to get into the club, but I'd really like to have you give me a blow job, because, after all, you are a tranny, and desperate for any affection at all, even if it's just my sweaty fatass body beneath my unzipped fly for five minutes, so, how about it?"
I used what has become my patented and universal response to this form of tranny-speed-dating; my upraised middle finger as if to say; "Admire THIS, Asshole!"
I turned right onto Oxnard, but Mr. Dumbshit is still flashing his brights; I slow down in the vain hope he might actually be trying to pass, but no, he pulls up alongside my driver's side that, to him, is apparently the equivalent of the late-night blow-job window. Instead of taking his order, I gave him no doubt this time how I felt about it and raised my middle finger to the middle of my face. He drove on, and I pulled a boulevard "U".
I have been followed in my car for miles by these desperate fucks, harassed in parking lots, honked and cursed at on city streets and experienced the classic "pull-the car-over-and-say-'hey-baby'-as-the-tranny-walks-to-her-car" countless times. It now gives me great joy to flip them off, not because I don't like having sex with men (I do, a lot) but because some of them value me and my sisters so little; no wonder they kill us and beat the shit out of us on such a regular basis across the country. We aren't alone in this; prostitutes of all sexes are considered just as disposable as we are, but in our case, the immediate assumption is that since we are physically male and wearing a skirt that our mouths and bodies are automatic guilt-free late-night receptacles for their anxious male spew, and who are we to deny them, they think.
Am I some fucked-up tranny feminist? I dunno, maybe I'm just a girl that's not gonna give it up without dinner and a movie, and I don't mean a Whopper meal and a Chix-with-dix DVD in a motel that smells like pine disinfectant. Furthermore, I realize most men think very highly of their dicks, but a little time in the front seat of a car that reeks of too much aftershave with one in my mouth is hardly going to be a moment I'll press into my book of golden female memories.
I'm not going to single out the Oxwood Inn on this front, but just say that it is the latest in a long line of tranny bars with insufficient air conditioning;the Queen Mary and Lodge were no better, only that meat market of all meat markets, 7969, has air conditioning that will make your nipples stand at attention, even if they are fake. These bars also cater to,and depend on, silent men nursing one to three beers a night, who may or may not ever get up the nerve to actually talk to one of the girls who put everything they have on the line to go out and strut their stuff and be themselves one night a week, a month or a year, in some cases. I can't blame the bar, it's an economic reality; maybe fifty admirers a night at five bucks a pop, three beers and tips at about six each, carry the one, that's about $1150 in cash after you deduct for the wear and tear of their asses shifting on the seats. Throw in a few desperately frustrated alcoholics and you may come close to covering your expenses.
Oh there she goes, bashing admirers again; I beg to differ. I saw no less than four guys who I have had sex with in my sordid and glorious past in that bar last night; living evidence of a time when I was desperately trying to find the heart of my own sexuality. The experiences, as any female who had sex with a man will testify, varied from glorious and intimate to drunk, sloppy and disappointing. I know one thing, having spent a long time trying to be a guy and doing a fine job of male drag as one to pay my mortgage each day; our culture is brutal to guys and creates the monsters they can become by the way we raise them, sell to them, and employ/exploit them. Men are raised to constantly jockey for social standing and the title of "I'm the biggest asshole with the most shit, so now you have to listen to me" Our pious pissy-ass culture is actually Mammon/Magog/Golem dressed up in a travesty (ironically) of the ancient unnamable God of Abraham and Moses; I'm just sayin'.
I feel incredibly lucky that I was forced to confront who I really am and have been saved from being one of those older guys with a constant pained, beaten down expression on my face as life begins to close in toward the end of the run. Pathetically, one of the only places left where men can release their frustration and anger with the constant humiliation dished out to them by Greedy Pompous Self-aggrandizing Pricks is in the world of porn, prostitution, titty clubs and tranny bars.
That said, don't you dare disrespect or fuck with me because I'm a woman, no matter what I have between my legs. You may hate yourself, you may hate the fact you are attracted to me and that's why you drink so much and say so little, but you know what? That is not my fucking problem, that's your problem. That little girl with too little beard cover and too much eyeliner has more courage than you on your best day because has she taken at least one tiny, tentative step towards being open and honest about who she is, what she likes and she's going where she wants to.
I asked my gorgeous friend Leigh last night "What do you think it takes to spur these guys into action?" as we stood among them on their stools, like two warrior princesses in a petrified forest. "Let's ask them" Leigh said, with an adorably raised eyebrow. Boy, talk about making somebody squirm; the first guy acted as if we had asked him if he'd like an anesthetic-free root canal. The others just did their charmingly male "yorp-a-dorp I dunno-Gawrsh!" Goofy imitations; no straight answers. God, we never leave Junior High behind, do we?
There was a guy there last night who knows me from my little home community out here in Breederville, California; let's just say he knows me from a setting in which I am open and honest about who I am. He was giving me the old "Well, I like to go everywhere and try new things and just thought I'd check this out." Right.
I personally have always found him really cute, and was definitely feeling him out and keeping my options open. Later, after he was a few beers the worse for wear, I saw him hitting on Olivia, a gorgeous transsexual porn star who also happens to be deaf. Olivia speaks in that unique way deaf people speak, a lot like Marlee Matlin; she also has a personality that bubbles over with life. My poor friend just didn't know how to get at her and finally came over to me and ceremoniously announced that the place just "Wasn't his thing". Wow, never heard that one before; we shall see, my friend, we shall see.
While I was working at the now-defunct and much-mourned Lydia's TV fashions, there was a guy, a movie industry truck driver, who relentlessly pursued me online, on the phone and then in person. He took me to lunch once, and I guess you could say that I felt like I was getting mixed signals; I told him how I felt later and he basically called me a "drama queen" and I basically told him to go fuck himself, in so many words. He made contact with me again a few years later, after I had lost forty pounds and was managing Glamour Boutique in Studio City. He started a very insistent charm offensive which I found kind of cute; he had a soft Texas accent which was also kind of fetching. He began telling me that he really had it bad for me and wanted to get more serious about it, then demanded that I get an HIV test before we took things further. Oh yeah, I'm a dirty tranny, I forgot; I decided that I'd get one for my own sake when I felt like it, thank you. He still kept up a crazy obsessive approach/avoidance thing with me, fueled by alcohol and the apparently agonizing feeling that he was attracted to, omigod, a girl with a penis. I think the last time I saw him was at the Lodge; he insisted on making out with me(I didn't protest), then walked away from me in a tortured way as if he were somehow a victim;I left him there drinking and avoiding eye contact with me. He later whined to me in an instant message that he almost got a DUI on the way home. I told him in our last phone call that not only that, he missed the best fuck of his entire life, namely me, and tough shit for him; have a nice life. Fast forward.
I'm now, among other things, teaching men to drive rough terrain forklifts (like a Gradall, good buddy, c'mon) safely for a living and guess who shows up in my class? Mr. Tortured. He had no fucking idea who I was because nobody does male drag better than me; "OK guys, here's what we're gonna do"...such a hoot;years of practice. When his time came to drive the 524D, he was a nervous wreck and needed me to gently guide him through the entire process, although he's the fucking truck driver, for Chrissakes; how hard is it to get forks into an empty pallet and lift it? I guess not being able to get it in or get it up carries over into other areas of life, too(meow).Never told him who I was; I'm proud of that.
There a few of that rare commodity in the bars that all females seek everywhere: the man who knows who he is and what he likes. Sometimes they are friendly and open, sometimes the quiet type that sits by himself, but there's a difference, and we girls feel it; they love and respect us. Maybe I need to print up coasters with instructions for tranny chasers; "Don't just sit there, tell them they look nice, ask them if they'd like to dance". How hard is that?
I don't go to many places that are strictly trans-oriented very often,anymore, preferring to mix with the greater world, as do my best friends. I don't think this makes us superior to anyone in the bar scene, but just different; as different as the experiences of trans people everywhere.
No matter where I am, the beating heart of what defines who I am is in places like the sweaty old Oxwood where girls are taking their first tentative steps of discovery about who they are. I took my first steps at the Queen Mary Show Lounge which was still just a bar, no matter how legendary, a bar that was often too hot with overcrowded bathrooms, too.
I saw a girl at the Oxwood last night who was happy and smiling about who she was with a confidence I had never seen in her before. Was she fashion-model perfect? Jesus, no; she needs tons of work, but then, what girl doesn't? I have another friend who actually is always "perfect" but her inner un-confronted demons make her the most perfectly dressed girl in a personally isolated Hell; my guess she would trade anything to get an ounce of the feeling that the other girl in the blue party dress and the wrong shoes has about herself.
That's really the crux; we gather together in our bizarrely beautiful diversity in places like the Oxwood because we need each other's love and support, even if we don't say a world to each other. The working shemale, the TS lawyer and doctor, the fierce ad fabulous drag queen, the scared-shitless Crossdresser on her first night out in heels all have more in common with each other than any would care to admit.
The admirers are really secondary; along for the ride, and without us they wouldn't be there at all. It's our game, we need to start acting like we own it
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
I'm a 56 year old transwoman, who is not yet fully transitioned (whatever the fuck that means), married (still) and living with her two college-age kids who theoretically don't know that dad is...well..what?
They know dad dyes "his" hair blonde, knows a lot about product, seems to have a lot of women's clothes hanging in the garage, has his ears pierced(twice) goes out every Saturday night and comes back late, and has extremely well-trimmed eyebrows. Oh sure, they have no idea.
Don't diss me 'cuz I'm dysfunctional.
There's a lot more to me than being "trans", although it's pretty much the defining experience of my life up to this point. I have over 60,000 hours of time logged in the Movie Industry as a focus puller, camera operator and cinematographer;in other words, making other people's dreams come true. I'm still making a living in the industry in a 40 hour a week teaching job. Love and/or hate them, studio workers are my homies, and a lot of who I am is defined by the profane, heroic, cynical and absurd nature of film set culture.
The movie industry also has given me opportunities to work closely within Labor Unions and Labor political action organizations; I've testified before state senate and assembly commitees and the board of the Employment Development Department. I dare you to ask me about the WGA Strike or SAG/AFTRA meltdown...
Let's see... I'm an alcoholic in recovery; just took a ten year chip, and I'm grateful. My drugs of choice are now caffiene in the form of Venti Americanos and a few cigarettes and Red Bulls when I dance. As I sobered up, I realized I liked to have sex with men and that I am Transsexual; go figure
I like semicolons; a lot. I capitalize randomly.
I love to dance. I love music, period, and if I had my life to live over I'd know how to play a guitar or keyboard, but real fantasy would be to be a singer-songwriter. Given my age, I should be listening to Classic Rock, but I prefer the 80's, especially the L.A. punk bands like X, Bad Religion, Social Distortion, Richard Hell, et al..I'll make a list later.
I'm an unpublished poet, and I'm told my stuff is pretty damn good.
When I first began to explore my Trans-ness, I identified as a "Heterosexual Crossdresser"(an oxymoron, in my experience) but soon was lured to the slutty side by three of the baddest bad girls who ever put on a pair of platforms or threw back a shot of Stoly. I owe them my identity and my life; someone once said "inside of every good man there's a bad woman". That's basically my story.
I worked in a venerable store for Trannies on subsistence wages in the middle of what I now would define as a colossal midlife depression initiated by bankruptcy, unemployment, a serious illness my wife had(she's fine now) and just coping with "this gender shit", as I fondly call it. My bosses, who had just taken the business over, were addicts, which I didn't realize at first; One was a crossdresser addicted to crack cocaine and his wife who was addicted to heroin. In my humble opinion, heroin addicts are far more reliable. I stayed sober working there; which was amazing and slipped out before the L.A. County D.A. got interested in them, for good reason.
One Christmas season I worked selling sausages in a shopping mall; kind of a contrast to pulling down $120,000 one year on a TV series, mostly in overtime.My wife is alcoholic too (not sober, by the way) and we have a tendency to piss away every dime we make.
After that Christmas, I went to work as the manager of a tranny store in Studio City next to that most historic of Tranny Bars, the Queen Mary Show Lounge. I worked six days a week as a woman, and went home to the family as a "guy"; kind of ass-backwards, isn't it? I loved my job, and that's where I began to take female hormones (bootleg but pure Premarin) and got most of my beard lasered off (whoo-woo!!). I did makeovers, did fashion shows and interacted with every single type of person our community has in it; I'll take credit for Godmothering a few on their way to transition, too. Eventually, working for less than $100 bucks a day without health insurance got to me, and I left the boutique (amidst much sturm und drang) to operate "B" camera on an english language telenovella; great while it lasted.
My best friend is the world's only Armenian MTF, to the best of my knowledge; yala!
There's more, but that's we blog, right?
Darya, Los Angeles, California, 7.30.2008