Last night I got to catch up some awesome friends who I’ve not seen since I announced to the world that I’m transgender. They’re also the band who gave me my name: Eva Plays Dead. I don’t want this to be an unhappy post but a few things did happen last night which left me very unsettled.
On the way to the venue, the taxi ride was pretty standard: the usual verbal diarrhoea for the initial 5 minutes about how the day’s been, where we’re going etc. Basically trying to act like we give a shit before spending the rest of the journey in silence. Standard stuff. As we got near the venue, this particular taxi driver decided to go rogue. Maybe the silence was too much for him? Anyhoo, this Gandhi of the public transport world now felt the need to share his views on transgender and gay people. I wonder why??! Let’s just say he’s not a fan. To him, anybody that’s transgender or gay only exists to be a fetish. Something to satisfy straight people when they want to cross something off their bucket list. He started to explain about his friend who went to Thailand for that purpose but I switched off. Instead, I was sat there wondering “is this really happening right now??!” And he wondered why he didn’t get a tip at the end? Here’s a tip: don’t be a fucking dick.
Towards the end of the night, I noticed a couple of guys sat at the bar had seen me and taken offence to me being there. Both looking at me with equal amounts of disgust and hatred as they debated my existence. It was a rock bar. Despite how I look, I’d like to think I have more of a right to be there than they did, as they sat in their tracksuits, which clearly have never seen the inside of a gym. They were there as it was the only place still open. Fine, come in have a drink, make yourself comfortable…but respect the people there, yeh? Later, as we were talking to Eva Plays Dead outside, I spotted a group of guys in the corner sat on tables, leaning against stuff as they hung out together. It was like a scene from West Side Story as they protected their territory. Again, they didn’t seem the type of people who’d normally go to rock bars, or even drink (unless you count protein shakes). I recognised the same looks of disgust on their faces as they talked about me, nudging each other and pointing in my direction. To them, I’m just a bloke in a skirt with a face full of makeup. A freak. Somebody who disgusts them, and somebody who clearly offends what they believe in. But why is that my problem?
Afterwards, we managed to flag a taxi from the other side of the road and the driver motioned to wait where we were and that he’d turn round, to save us crossing over to him. That’s when I realised a group of guys were walking towards us. It was obvious they weren’t trying to get from point A to point B. They were just patrolling, in pack formation, wandering the area with no place to be. Quite sad really, when you think about it. It was freezing, really late and here you have a group of guys in their late 30’s hanging around the streets. I knew not to make eye contact as they brought their hunt towards us. As they got closer, some of them broke formation and sped up. They quickly passed us, but then slowed down again – trying not to make it obvious that they were surrounding us. That’s when I thought shit was about to hit the fan. One of the guys had his eyes fixed on me as he walked directly towards me. There was no chance he was just going to walk by. Just as he got to me, the taxi pulled up. Thank fuck for that. As the guy near me was distracted by the taxi’s arrival, we opened the door and threw ourselves in. I think the driver knew what was happening as he sped off immediately rather than hanging about to find out where we wanted to go. That was close. Too fucking close.
By telling the world I’m transgender, I knew the risks. I prepared myself for hate, the loss of people in my life and the potential violence too. But you secretly hope that never happens. What happened last night has hit home pretty hard. In a situation like that, I can’t use words as a weapon, nor do I have the physical means to handle any violence. It made me feel so vulnerable and helpless. I hate that. I also hate that it could happen again. And again. And again. There’s only so much I can do to avoid that sort of situation. A part of me doesn’t want to go out again…or, at least, wear the manliest clothes I can find when I do…which would be difficult as I don’t own any “guy” clothes at all – they got thrown out ages ago. Last night freaked me out and raised feelings of inadequacy. It was a reminder that the journey I’m on wasn’t ever going to be all smiles and jazz hands. It also reminded me that I can’t protect those I love when I’m such an easy target. I just want to blend in. What can I do to achieve that? Facial surgery is more and more appealing by the minute. I need to find ways to stop people noticing me. I already hate that I don’t look female enough, now I’m even more conscious of that fact.
Anyway, as I said at the start, I don’t want this to be an unhappy post. I’m trying my best to forget about what happened but I needed to write about it. I’ve been playing the events over and over, drowning in the what ifs. This is my way of externalising what happened and putting it into perspective. There’s nothing I can do to change the events now, so what’s the point right? So I want to finish by saying a HUGE thank you to Tiggy, Matt, Seb and Zach for their love and ongoing support. They played a great show last night and it’s always a so good to see them.
Featured image: by me
Featured video: “Bones” by Eva Plays Dead (via Eva Plays Dead’s YouTube page)