Penny's Story

A cute little drummer living her dream.

Archive for crossdresser

I am Mad Proud

I went to my first Pride yesterday. That’s not entirely true, I suppose, as for the last two years I’ve drummed at the Cathedral‘s Blessing Ceremony which follows the Pride Parade. But for the first time I actually ~went~ to Pride; I wasn’t going just to perform, I was going specifically as a member of “the community.” And I even had the pleasure of bringing my boyfriend who crossdresses and for the day was my girlfriend, Molly. And even cooler, not only did we go to Pride, but we ~marched~ in the parade. We marched with the group from Mad Femme Pride. I mean, oh my god. I can’t believe we did that; I used to be so shy and scared and I used to hide in my bedroom all the time; now I’m marching in the GLBT Pride Parade chanting and interacting with the people along the parade route, and getting cheered and celebrated. Holy crap I love Boston!

All right, let me do a little rundown of the day.

Things have been a little strained with my boyfriend lately, as I’ve written about, but I told myself that I just wanted to enjoy the weekend; we have so damn much fun when we’re together that I figured that no matter what happens in the future I wanted to enjoy our time together. So, with that said…

We got up around 7:00 AM and took our time getting ready. We took the subway to the Cathedral so I could drop off my cymbal bag. We bumped into Rev. Steph and I introduced her to Molly (she’s already met Tim, but remember this point, it comes back later). After dumping the cymbals we hopped back on the subway to the place where our group was assembling. On our way Alana called me and engaged in her very specific brand of being a super-awesome-best-friend; she knew how stressed I had been all week so she told me just to breathe (she even left me a voice mail with instructions). We got to where Mad Femme Pride was gathering and I had my one pang of anxiety for the entire day. I’ve been to a couple Mad Femme Pride gatherings, but not for quite a while, and I’ve met some of the women in the group a couple times, but I don’t know any of them well (any that were at Pride, anyway). So Molly and I sort of hung out next to them for a while, and I finally worked up my courage and went up to them and said hi.

Mad Femme Pride’s theme for the Parade was “Subversive Beauty Pageant,” so we all got make sashes with whatever we wanted. Perhaps the most interesting was the girl who had a fake pregnant belly and a sash that proclaimed: “Miss Da Period.” Several of us had trouble finding the perfect slogan so we fell back on our names (I was “Miss Picky P” and Moll was “Miss Molly,” though on the back of her sash she wrote: “Don’t Back Up Severe Tire Damage” – she’s such a goofball). As we waited for the start of the parade the anxiety that I had felt completely disappeared. I was so excited and happy to be a part of this, and I’m really glad that we chose to march with Mad Femme Pride, they’re just such a positive group of friendly, groovy folks.

As we marched through the streets of Boston I felt absolutely amazing. I don’t care where I fall in the whole “queer pantheon,” nor where my relationship as woman of transsexual history dating a crossdressing man falls in the sphere of relationships. It was one of the most positive experiences of my life. Celebrating just the fact that I’m me was great, and having the whole city do it with me was beyond words. I think it was even more special for Molly than it was for me, which is saying something. There’s something very infectious about all of that love and positivity; it’s impossible not to get carried away with it. I handed out rings and Molly handed out business cards and carried a rainbow unbrealla. People cheered. Folks took our picture. I saw Alana and ran and gave her a hug and a ring. I carried the banner for a while. It was amazing. While I was marching I cried tears of joy and smiled my biggest smile. This was a special time.

I can’t finish without sharing our chant:
If you’re proud and you know it clap your hands; If you’re proud and you know it clap your hands; If you’re proud and you know it and you really want to show it clap your hands.
If you’re femme and you know it stamp your feet; If you’re femme and you know it stamp your feet; If you’re femme and you know it and you really want to show it stamp your feet.
If you’re queer and you know it shake your ass; If you’re queer and you know it shake your ass; If you’re queer and you know it and you really want to show it shake your ass.

YAY!

After the parade we had to rush over to the Cathedral for the blessing service. I set up the drums and the service started soon after. We played “One Love” and “You’ve Got a Friend.” Molly and I went up to stand before Bishop Shaw so he could say a blessing for our relationship. Then I was back over to the drums and we played a few more songs before ending the service with “Yes We Can Can.”

After the service Molly was chatting with Rev. Steph and it became apparent that Rev. Steph had not realized that Molly is Tim most of the time – and hilarity ensued. 🙂 Seriously, I knew my girl looked good, but Rev. Steph knows that my boyfriend crossdresses; I’m amazed she didn’t put two and two together without being told. Life rules.

We took a few more pictures after the service, including a couple with me and Molly kissing, which I just think are all sorts of awesome.

So, ~*YAY*~; what an incredible day. My first Pride kicked ass! I will ~so~ do this again next year. Boston is my favorite place most of the time, but on Pride Day it becomes simply magical and warm and lovely.

Happy Pride! Yes We Can Can!

Transgender Day of Visibility

   So, apparently today is the first “Transgender Day of Visibility.” I say “apparently” because when I google for the phrase, I have very little success in finding anything remotely official or organised-looking. I’ve seen it mentioned in a few places, including on Facebook, but it seems very underground. That’s fine, I guess sometimes I just think that there are more transfolk than there are. I was hoping there’d at least be a domain dedicated to the day (you know: “www.transgenderdayofvisibility.com”) or something. But, whatever, maybe that just proves the point of why a day like this is important. What could be a better example of transfolks’ invisibility?

   I struggle with this sort of thing all the time. I’m pretty comfortable identifying as a woman nowadays, with no prefixes or suffixes, and the rest of the world seems pretty happy with that as well. I didn’t ask for the physical anamoly of my birth, nor am I particularly proud of the fact that I’m transgendered (I’m not the slightest bit ashamed, either, mind you), yet it will always remain a part of the history of my life. That’s one reason I really dig the phrase “woman of transsexual history,” because it puts the fact that I am a woman front and center, but also acknowledges my history. But for most people that I encounter during my day, I’m “just” a woman.

   So, how do I work on my “visibility” as a transperson?

   The real answer is that I’m not sure. I’m out to pretty much everyone who knows me, I blog very openly about things, and I’ll answer even the most prying questions from relative strangers. But I still usually think I could be doing more. I guess today when I went to Walgreen’s I think I was supposed to wear this shirt proclaiming my transsexuality for all the world to see. I can’t help it, when I go about my everyday life, everyone sees me as a woman. As I said in a recent post, I’m not trying anymore, it just is what it is. I don’t know how I could ~more~ visibly trans without handing out business cards to everyone I meet, and I’m not going to do that.

   I think this is one of those issues within the trans-community (such as it is): the folks who integrate and blend well in their “target gender” tend to just sort of recede into the woodwork, so the folks that are left to be “visible” are the folks that have trouble integrating into their target gender, or the folks who have less interest in blending anyway (genderqueer people, androgynes, and the like). Women who are like me seem to be much less visible, especially post-surgery. Sometimes there’s an argument in the trans-community that in the popular vernacular most people think that “transgender” and “transsexual” are synonymous (they’re not). I am both transgendered and transsexual, but one can be transgendered without being transsexual (my boyfriend, as a crossdresser, would be an example of that, actually). But, lots of people think that since I’ve had my surgery I’m not any sort of “trans” anymore (I’ve had a few of my cisgendered friends ask me that, actually). For the record, I will always have a transsexual history, so I still include “transsexual” in the littany that is my identity (“woman” comes before “drummer,” and “drummer” comes before “transsexual,” and “transsexual” comes before “Swedish,” and so on). It gets so confusing, so many folks that are visible as transgendered people are visible only because they feel they have no choice, and many people that can blend just do (wouldn’t you? it’s pretty tiring sometimes being the “visible transperson” in a room full of cisgendered folks).

   And I have mixed feelings about women like me being totally invisible when people think of transgendered folks. Most transfolk I know are just everyday folks, going about their lives, but in the popular imagination transfolk are the extremists of gender transgression. Sometimes I feel invisible both as a transsexual living in a cisgendered world, but also as a very gender-conforming woman in a world which considers transgendered folks as gender-rebels. 

   Huh.

   This seems like one of those posts wherein I ask a lot more questions than I find answers. I’m never sure if I’m visible enough. I’ll talk to almost anyone about my life and my story, but I don’t run around screaming that I have a transsexual history in crowded restaurants either. It’s a very fine line. I just want to live my life; I’m a woman with a fairly interesting history, and I’m part of a very small and very misunderstood minority. I guess I just do the best I can.

   Happy First Transgender Day of Visibility.

   🙂

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