Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Cashier, The Waitress and the Tow Truck Driver - A Blog for Suddenly Fem by CiCi Kytten

I looked around a SoCal night club recently and I noticed that I was one of the oldest girls there. Not in terms of actual age.  Although I’m one of the oldest in that sense too. <sad face> But in terms of how long I’ve been out and clubbing.

I joined the SoCal social scene in a big way in ’07.  But I was going out to fetish events and places like L.A.’s legendary Queen Mary as early as ’01 or so.  Back then I only went out maybe once or twice a year. (And if it was twice, the second time was always Halloween. The National Crossdressers’ Night Out.)

So I was hardly a fixture on the scene in the early 00‘s. At that point, most of us weren’t bold enough to venture into mainstream clubs  So we hung out in safe, trans-friendly spots. Afraid of being insulted. Afraid of being assaulted. Afraid of being recognized. So we played it safe. Ironic when you consider that, in those days, the simple act of stepping outside your door was an act of great courage. And a bit of a political statement.

Back in the day. At an L.A. fetish event.

Not that any of us will ever be famous. No one will ever write books or make movies about us. When the Jackie Robinsons and Rosa Parks and Cesar Chavez’s of the trans movement are remembered, it won’t be us.

We dressed too sexy. Stayed out too late. Drank too much. Partied too much. Took too many drugs. Had too much sex. Concerned ourselves with superficial matters over larger, more important political issues.  And, in general, allowed ourselves to get caught up in nothing more than, well, ourselves.

Of course, there were other groups of cross dressers and trans girls out there who lived much different lives. Girls who avoided the party scene as passionately as I embraced it. But the girls I hung with. The girls I admired. The girls I emulated. We hit the clubs.  And we hit them hard. Some of those SoCal clubs -- Shine and TGirl Nights -- are still around and still packing in the crowds. Others like the Lodge and Encounters are gone.  Syren is on hiatus.  (You, of course, can fill in the names of the clubs that existed in your local area. And the memories that go with them.)

We sang, we danced... we posed on the internet as if we were lingerie models.  We posted videos as if we were movie stars. We paraded through casinos in Vegas, wore bikinis to hotel pools, and were asked to leave more than a few establishments because we were making too much noise. Or because we were dressed inappropriately. Or... quite simply, because we were men dressed as women.

It was an amazing time. I caught just a small part of it. I lived a small portion of this madness. And I loved every minute of it. There weren’t any rules because no one had written them yet.  We had no role models.  We were making it up as we went along. In the end, we became each other’s role models. We taught each other how to be trans. We taught each other how to be ourselves.

But we changed the world. I completely believe that. At least, we changed our little corner of it.  In our own way.  Because when we posted our photos online -- on alt.com or urnotalone or MySpace -- newbies all over the country saw our pix, heard our stories, and were inspired. Young trans girls -- still in their teens -- could now look online and see us and see the possibilities. They could see a glimmer of hope.

We acted like teenagers. (And we often dressed like them too!) But teenagers have the excuse of youth. They’re new to adulthood. They’re new to decision-making. They often don’t have the maturity to see the big picture and behave accordingly.

We were old enough to know better.  Most of us were in our 30‘s or 40‘s or ... OMG.. .even older!  So why didn’t we behave better?  Who knows? Maybe we were just too caught up in that sudden surge of freedom that comes with coming out.  That sudden rush -- after a lifetime of denial and repression -- of self-acceptance.  Of emerging passions and power.  Of a whole new way to approach sexuality and sensuality and gender and life.

Or maybe we were just plain tired of hiding and wanted the whole world to know that we were hitting the streets. Loudly. Boldly. When every societal instinct told us that we shouldn’t. When every societal instinct told us that we were risking our wives, our girlfriends, our families, our children, our homes, and our careers.

That element of danger probably added to the excitement. I know that for me, there were nights when I felt like I was absolutely the very first trans girl to ever walk down a certain street. The first man in heels to strut his stuff on that particular boulevard. 

I can assure you I wasn’t. I was usually out in Hollywood, West Hollywood or Las Vegas -- on streets well-walked by many transgirls before. But so rare was the sight of a trans person in public, that it felt that way.  It felt new and fresh and exhilarating.

We were rebels. Reluctant rebels as my friend likes to say.  And our revolution was underway.

When you stopped for gas or a snack in a convenience store, you could see it in the eyes of the person behind the counter. Or in the eyes of the waitress in the all-night diner. Or in the glance of the tow truck guy that AAA sent. They had never seen a trans girl in public before. They may have seen a drag queen on stage or on TV. But they’d never seen us.  We weren’t performers. We weren’t full-time.  We weren’t what they expected to see when they looked up from their cash register or their clipboard. 

And in those moments, we changed the world. I know we did. Because in those moments a member of mainstream society saw a real-life trans person -- caught in the act of being herself -- for the very first time. And it changed forever that one person’s view. Because what he or she saw wasn’t a freak. Wasn’t a social deviant. Wasn’t a human oddity or moral delinquent.  What they saw was a human being. Dressed for a night out. Hungry for a snack. Hoping to get their flat tire fixed and get back on the road.

The cashier, the waitress, and the tow truck driver completed the transaction, watched us walk out or drive away.  And that was it. That was the moment of realization. The world didn’t stop spinning because a guy was in heels. Mountains did not crumble because a man was in a mini skirt. The world economy didn’t grind to a halt because a male was in make-up. 

Of course, I can’t confirm this. I have no idea what those people thought when me and my friends walked away or drove away.  Maybe they did think we were freaks.  With our bad wigs and our messy makeup. But any thoughtful, caring, compassionate human being had to see past that. They had to see the nerve. The guts. The courage it took to ignore everything that society told us was proper and conventional and right... just to be our true selves.

That was our activism.  Simply living our lives. Stepping out from the closet.  Stepping out en femme. Stepping out into the night. A little bit slutty and a little bit rock and roll.

Sometimes there’s nothing more revolutionary than the simple act of being yourself.

I often wonder where the trans movement will be in ten years. Or twenty years. Or fifty. How soon will acceptance come? How soon will trans people become commonplace? I can’t answer that. I can’t see into the future. But I consider myself quite fortunate to say that I can recall a bit of the recent past. And this is what I recall:

We weren’t pretty. But we tried to be.
We weren’t brave. But we had to be.
We weren’t a community.  But we came to be.

I’m honored to have been a part of it.

Take care out there.
Be safe. Be smart. Be sexy.



Angel said...

Yeah that kinda sums up my last couple of years in Melbourne too.

Carollyn Olson said...

You hit the nail on the head and had a great time doing so.

Anonymous said...

I have been living this (almost) every day in the last year. I knew I had to live femme just as anyone lives who they are. My experiences here in Ontario Canada...with one exception, have been pleasantly positive.
Alexis W.

Mikhaela said...

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOW! What an AWESOME article! I LOVE it! So well written. you go girl!



Pippa Nicholas said...

awesome and super well written young lady...

whilst for me it's 2 years since I ever had the urge to put a dress on i was out the first night and its grown to every day , passport changed, driving license changed international travel ( 40 plus times in last 8 months) from Australia to Europe and USA ( including some of the middle east ) and I have had a ball....Lucky for me I have a beautiful wife who fully appreciates every step and fully supports me and we own our own international business that affords us the time and money to enjoy life to the full.... shame we can not make Vegas and catch up this year BUT we will again for sure and I love suddenly fem products.....

Anonymous said...

You girls are so right. I'm 42, please don't tell anyone, it rude lol. I've been going full-time as a girl, womn transwoman, I don't know which to pick so pick you're favorite I suppose. Anyway I've been doing this wow has it only been 3 months? Anyway this includes hormones so I'm going through teenage growing pains I guess. In any case I can relate to all that was said in this article. You "girs" ae so brave and I look up to all of you. Btw this is my first comment on an internet article, so if it looks juvenile it's only because it is. You are all braver than you know and my heroes, heroines? gawd I want a new pronoun. lol At any rate here's a girl who looks up to you and is slack-jawed with awe at all of you :) Charlotte in Concord, Calfornia

Trisha said...

thank you for that

peter Elphick said...

Get with it it's hot being a chick with a dick and people make lovely comments because you're a hot tart and feel good about yourself in public every day

Shirley Corning said...

Great progress has been made for trans rights and public acceptance. It's accelerating and gaining momentum. I should know. I'm practically a walking billboard traveling around the country attending various events. I'm especially happy for the help trans youth are getting. One more suicide is one too many.

Trisha Ann Glynn said...

Where will the trans movement be years from now? I hope it will have gained acceptance. But not taken for granted. I have never wanted to pass or blend in. I wanted to, and still want heads to turn when I walk down the street.
Your post said what many of us feel,
And yes, the leather outfit; "you're hot"

Carmin said...

Hi CiCi I always love reading your blog and you never seem to disappoint.I'm 51and been dressing since the 90s and wish I had come out .But I've been in the shadows only going out a hand full of times reading this blog and others you wrote has helped me to feel good about myself and have the courage to be Carmin thanks you so much for all you and others have done keep up the great job can't wait till your next blog :-*

Tasi said...

Guess I'm missing something here. I understand the thrill of being out and about and the desire to show others that we are real people, but I got the sense that Cici's image was the leather clad, tight bodycon dress look that projects a less than real image of us as women. Not the right kind of attention. Hope I'm wrong

Tasi said...

Guess I'm missing something here. I understand the thrill of being out and about and the desire to show others that we are real people, but I got the sense that Cici's image was the leather clad, tight bodycon dress look that projects a less than real image of us as women. Not the right kind of attention. Hope I'm wrong

Lauren said...

With new found courage I revealed my grnder identity to family and friends and was so very happy with their acceptance. They were more angry that I wasnt true to myself earlier in life than me actually being transgender female.They understand I was born this way and am merely allowing myself to adjust my body to reflect my feelings and i love them even more for this. I believe society is beginning to understand that we are not just gay men acting out feminine fantasies but in fact being who we are inside.CiCi, girls like you are paving the way for our acceptance in normal society and I so admire and love you for this.I've waited way to long because of fear and have missed out on being happy most of my life.You are a " Rosa Parks " of transgender ladies in your own right ! Thank you so much for showing society we are here and we live and love life the same as all.I look forward to your future articles girl power!!

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