Yesterday, it seemed like the unofficial transgender pride parade was happening nearly everywhere I went in Los Angeles. I’m not complaining, mind you, as I’ve long considered transgendered people as truly courageous warriors, often times much more aware of themselves than their non-trans counterparts. (Sure, I’ve known some enormous trans-messes as well, but doesn’t “the art of mess” transcend all borders and classifications?)
I went for a run in the park yesterday and I noticed that a large percentage of the girls that I saw — sitting alone on low, stone fences with McDonalds-arch eyebrows, or walking in pairs, looking bored and examining their nails — all had functioning Adam’s apples and the faintest of pre-beards. As a car slowed down while passing a couple of these girls, some words of flirtation were exchanged. I could see the driver smile and drive off, as one of the girls gingerly punched the other one with a rather sizeable fist. The receiver of the blow exaggerated the fist’s impact, causing both girls to erupt into a fit of laughter. Suddenly, the girls linked arms and started skipping down the road, until their skipping returned to a sluggish shuffle — perhaps a more suitable pace while wearing mens size 11 1/2 sandals on a really hot day. One girl made sure her nails were still there at the end of her hand, screamed a little “Ayyy!” and swatted at a mosquito.
Maybe I’ve been kidding myself all along and what I really need is a weekend Cannonball run to Tijuana where I replace my moustache, my ample leg hair and love of boxer shorts with injections of girl-mones and the evolution of a different rack on which to display a t-shirt. Doesn’t gender reassignment seem like the natural progression for anyone who has just served 3 weeks of mind-numbing jury duty, immediately followed by a grueling preparation for a surprise tax audit by the government? Well, doesn’t it? Ok, maybe it’s not necessarily the most “natural” of progressions, but it’s a more colorful option than say, setting up a 401k plan.
As I appeared to be (innocently and coincidentally?) surrounded by transgendereds in the park, I wondered how many of them really are out there, in various stages of transformation, in the world. Working at Blockbuster. Driving subway trains. Making green tea lattes or analyzing stock portfolios. I also wondered how many of them watched “A Girl Like Me – The Gwen Araujo Story,” which aired on “Lifetime – Television for Women” last week. The movie portrays the true story of a teenage boy living as a girl in Newark, California, who was brutally murdered by a few guys who knew her after a jealous girl exposes Gwen’s anatomical gender to the boys, some of whom were intimate with Gwen. It wasn’t a cinematic masterpiece, but the grim reality deftly portrayed in the movie was one of those experiences that made you simultaneously cry the deep cry and hate the world.
I’ve always liked words and I thought of my transgender friends and thought that “transfriender” — a transgender friend — could be adopted into our modern dialect as quickly as “party” and “Google” have as new verbs. From recently watching “Mean Girls,” I witnessed the resistance one girl endures when trying to launch the adjective “fetch” into the world, as something to mean “cool.” The lead mean girl makes it very clear to her minion that minion’s pet word “fetch” will never catch on, humiliating her in front of the other minions at school. Since I prefer to keep all the mean girls at a distance, humiliation is not what I’m looking for here.
So, I texted the following to 412 of my closest friends: “Transfriender” — a transgendered friend.
Within seconds I received:
“Trademark it ; )”
“When you borrow money from a tranny — ‘translender'”
“Funny! how are you? are you coming into town in August?”
“When they get drunk and disappear for a few days — a transbender!”
“Ja ja ja ja, u loco.”