Posts tagged: friends

But…I am in the minority. You are in the majority.

By , February 7, 2011 10:57 pm

Over the last 48 hours, I’ve had some really good conversations with both of my roommates about the issues I brought up in my previous post. Namely, my discomfort at emphatically ‘straight’ bars (particularly ‘frat-like’ bars, more on that language in a moment), and the growing disconnect in my social life between high school friends and queer/theatre friends. (Not that there isn’t an overlap between queer and theatre. Shocking, I know.)

I said, pretty firmly, that I’m done going to frat bars, dance clubs, whatever. One of my roommates, who was in a frat in college, was sort of annoyed with my terminology. He made sure to emphasize that he was in the least ‘frat-like’ frat on campus, that they had gay members, all implying that they wouldn’t have had a problem with me. And, to be honest, I mostly believe him. My issue with frat-like bars isn’t the potential for bigotry or harassment (although I’m conscious of those things) its the emphasis on masculinity and pressured drinking. I don’t like the strict gender divides I feel at those types of bars, ranging from the mode of dress for the patrons to the way they interact. Likewise, I really don’t like what feels like a pressure to drink, Drink, DRINK! If one person is drinking, everyone must be! Drink! Shots! Beer! Booze! I don’t like it.

But that’s honestly a secondary issue to the growing gap between how and why I socialize with my high school friends and my queer/theatre friends.

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I don’t want to be here

By , February 6, 2011 12:50 pm

A friend of mine is in town this weekend, celebrating her birthday. (Hi friend, if you’re reading this!) The plan last night was to go to a tapas restaurant, and then to the bar that’s (literally) next door, for dancing and drinking. Tapas is fun. I don’t like the meat stuff (duh) but the way the menu and food works encourages a social, sharing atmosphere that’s really delightful with good friends. Lots of reaching and grabbing and passing, “Ooh, what’s that?” and “You have to try this.” In the past, I’ve occasionally been cranky about tapas bills, because I don’t eat meat and didn’t feel I should pay as much, but last night I realized that we’re all paying for the same atmosphere – a birthday party – and less so for the specific food. So I paid up my share without complaining.

Then came the dancing. Well, ‘dancing,’ because when we got to the bar (around 12:30AM) the dance floor was still pretty empty. The bar was in Lincoln Park (not, as I tweeted at 1AM, in Wrigleyville) and full of guys in sports-coats and ties, and their lady friends. I don’t like this kind of bar – it makes me uncomfortable from a social/gender/sexuality standpoint (something I’ll get into more below), I can’t hear friends or carry on a conversation, drinks are inevitably more expensive than I want to pay…the whole experience makes me unhappy.

Those last points seem to be the easiest to remedy (or, at least, the easiest to get over). My friends last night were being super-sweet, trying to get me to have a good time and buying me drinks. I felt bad because they obviously wanted me there, wanted me to be having a good time, and were willing to spend money on me toward that end. And I just didn’t want to be there.

When hanging out with this group of friends (primarily friends from high school, including my two roommates) there’s sometimes a background noise of “You’re trans, we’re not.” Never intentionally, and more something I think I put on myself than they actually put on me. But just an occasional niggling reminder that we share different life experiences. (I know, who doesn’t?) For example, before we went to dinner last night the boys were chatting about facial hair. I chimed in that it was a shame I never wanted the copious facial hair I was able to grow before my hair removal. Everyone chuckled, as they’d all known me then, but I was still reminded how different our backgrounds were in that regard. But not enough to detract from my enjoyment of hanging out with them.

Going to bars like that, though, cranks that discomfort way, way up.

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Walking out on friends

By , August 15, 2010 4:08 pm

A friend of mine is in the show Talk Radio, which closed today in Chicago. The show is described as follows:

Talk radio host Barry Champlain is a relic of an analog age, on the verge of a deal for national syndication. Tonight, not only is he under assault from many callers-in, but he also has digital communication thrust upon him.  Bogosian meets Orwell in this commentary on the media.

I went to today’s 3PM closing, and after 30 minutes of sexism, transphobia, victim blaming, and general obnoxiousness, I walked out. So what’s the protocol for walking out on friends?

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Departures and goodbyes

By , August 7, 2010 2:49 am

Today was the last day of camp where I work. It wasn’t my last day, but it was sort of a “conclusion of summer at work” event, with a post-show dinner for the staff and lots of goodbyes to campers (some of whom had been my campers a million years ago).

There were two shows today, at 3PM and 6PM, and it wasn’t until after the second show that I realized it was going to be a difficult evening. I turned to my intern, who was helping me run the box office, and said, “My goal for tonight is to not cry in front of campers.”

I…did not so much succeed.

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Coming Out Surprises

By , July 24, 2010 5:45 pm

Last night, I went on a bit of an adventure. First, I went to see Queertopia again at About Face. It’s part of their youth theatre program, and is very much worth seeing. I went with some of my high school students (though a bunch who said they were going to come didn’t show up…) and it was great being able to expose my students to very different work that other kids their own ages are doing.

Then, I met up with a friend for her trolley party.

Rebecca on on a trolley

Not a great picture, but undeniable proof of trolley-hood

I’m not totally sure why she was having a trolley party – I think a friend of hers was in from out of town, which is as good an excuse as any – but a bunch of people I knew from Northwestern were also there. One of whom hadn’t seen me since I’d transitioned, and clearly didn’t remember who I was.

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A night at the ER

By , April 7, 2010 12:21 am

I went to the ER last night. About once a month for the last few months, I’ve been having really crippling stomach cramps and pains, between my belly button and my rib cage. They’ve been pretty clearly linked in my mind with eating lots of rich food – deep dish pizza, really thick soup, etc – and even though they hurt and suck, I’ve been able to take antacids and make them go away. The antacids took maybe 20 or 30 minutes to kick in, but when they did it was like turning off a light switch: the pain was gone.

Last night, though, I took antacids and Pepto-Bismol, and the pain just kept getting worse. Finally, at 3AM, after having been pacing and panting and rolling on my bed since midnight, trying to find a comfortable spot, I asked my roommate to drive me to the ER.

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You don’t get to out me

By , March 31, 2010 8:48 am

I did end up sending an email to my friends, along the lines of what I discussed in this post:

Hey friends!

This is kind of an uncomfortable email for me to write, but it’s something that I’ve been thinking about and need to address:

Please don’t out me. That is, please don’t tell people I’m trans.

I love you all. I’ve said this over and over again: I’m privileged, blessed, and really fucking lucky to be surrounded by friends like you. In a world that isn’t too kind to people outside the norm, you all pretty much shrugged your shoulders when I came out. Not because it wasn’t important to me, but because it didn’t change our friendships.  I really value that. I love being able to have conversations and debates, to share joy and sorrow, with people who I’ve known for years, and who have known me.

But staying in Chicago after high school and college has also made transitioning occasionally more work than I’d like. To pick a really easy example, I went to the bank yesterday and the teller was the mom of someone I went to elementary school with (and not someone I particularly cared for, at that). She knew she sort of recognized me, but totally didn’t know how to respond to my presentation as Rebecca. It wasn’t a problem, and she was respectful, but it kind of threw me out of my stride to have to say, “Yeah, I’m going by Rebecca now…”  Even though I love Chicago, and am glad I’ve stuck around, having to be reminded of that pre- and post-transition disconnect takes its toll.
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Who gets to out you?

By , March 30, 2010 12:25 am

One of my roommates, Alice, had a friend over last night, Bob. The three of us were joking about Passover and Easter, and how none of us really practice what are ostensibly our respective religions. Alice was saying that she attended church enough at her (Catholic) middle school, so doesn’t need to attend now: she’s built up a quota. Bob replied, “Nope. You’re going to hell.” (He was joking. Don’t worry.) I laughed and said, “Well, I’ll be there too: I’m Jewish.”

Bob, chuckling, gestured to me and said, “Right. He’s going to hell because he doesn’t acknowledge the big JC…” And continued talking, using the incorrect pronoun, to the point where I started to wonder if he maybe wasn’t referring to me; most people catch themselves earlier than Bob did.

But no, I finally had to correct him, “She. Not he.”

He apologized, corrected himself, and the conversation moved on. Shortly thereafter I left and went to bed.

And realized I’d never actually told Bob I was trans.

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Voldemort! (Don’t say that name!)

By , November 15, 2009 2:10 pm

One of my roommates and I went bowling Saturday night (I did not great,  but not horrible – bowled a 94 and an 87) and we had sort of a funny conversation.

We were talking about bowling names, because we’ve both used the same ones for years. But I haven’t gone bowling since changing my name, and my old bowling name was based on my (male) name.

My roommate said, “Well, you can use the same bowling name. But I guess it was based on your old name. And now that your name isn’t…that that isn’t your name, we could try to come up with something new, based on Rebecca.”

I said, laughingly, “It’s not Voldemort – you can say my old name!”

I’ve been thinking about that idea since then, though, because there is an aspect of “He who shall not be named”-ness about it. I’ve entirely avoided using my old name on this blog. I only rarely use it when talking about my past, even with friends or coworkers. And it definitely bugs the hell out of me when I get mail addressed to…my old name.

I just hope that getting rid of my old name won’t require five hundred in-need-of-editing pages containing meandering, lost-in-the-forest whining and in-fighting…

I was a boy, I was a girl

By , October 1, 2009 9:24 pm

I was a boy, growing up.

At least, people saw me that way: I had a boy’s name, boy’s clothing, wore swimming trunks to the pool or the beach, had a Bar Mitzvah (however grudgingly), changed in the boys’ locker room before gym, wore a suit and tie to important family occasions, participated in Indian Guides (however briefly), had my hair in a buzz cut every summer for years,  played on the boys’ teams after school, lived in the boys’ section of the dorm at college, was never taught how to put on makeup…

Looking through old photo albums, or at the pictures on the walls at my parents’ houses, it’s clear – boy, boy, boy.

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