My hysterectomy was canceled and I’m horny as hell. I try to laugh off the inconveniences that seem comically specific to my jaded, caffeinated, testosterone fueled gender identity.
I laugh too, every time I order my hormones with a side of antidepressants. The pharmacist on the other end never seems to get the joke.
But underneath that, in the hiccup between heartbeats, I feel the pulse of friends who are deeply suffering without access to gender confirming surgeries. Friends who don’t have fast enough internet to do remote therapy sessions. Folks who can’t get to the pharmacy to pick up medication (or who, like me, can’t have theirs delivered, for unknown reasons.)
It’s the apocalypse that’s getting me to finally start my list. When I began my writing business I knew that I “should” make a list, and network and schmooze and establish an online presence, ka bla, ka bla, ka bla bla blah.
*pick nose emoji*
*middle finger emoji*
But when shelter in place orders started locking down the world, the need for connection and support amongst trans folx became painfully clear.
Maybe living in Seattle spoiled me. Wait - yes, living in Seattle definitely spoiled me. I took it for granted that every Friday my friends would be dancing Texas two step at the leather bar in a mixed crowd of gay boys, trans folx, lesbians, and pups. We’d hug each other tightly and nod knowingly as we selected which parts of the day to recap and which to erase from our memory with shots beneath the disco ball.
For dances like two step (and my other love, tango) that means we spend hours each week literally embracing our partners. But as of right now, none of us have any idea how long it’ll be until we dance with somebody in our arms again.
At first sheltering in place seemed surreal and many of us heard the myopic echoes of, “How long until things get back to normal?”
A month into it, I started missing my friends.
Two months into it and I realized it was happening again: depression snuck up, silent and numbing. Nights began bleeding into days and with no gym workouts to quell the dumpster fires of my emotions, I’ve become one angsty potato.
The recipe for the perfect storm has flooded major cities with a tsunami of protests. This is an explosive time in our history, with the defunding of police departments, widespread criticism of the American prison industrial complex, and statues of notorious bigots being torn down and lit on fire around the world.
As the moving, shaking, rabble rousing trans folks that we are, we want to rise up with our fists in the air. We want to join the battle cries of our forebears, ceaselessly resilient as we imagine the Black Panthers, Martin Luther King Jr., and the early NAACP to have been.
But there’s this frekkin’ hierarchy of needs thing that doesn’t seem to bow to our whim, no matter how much we kick it in the shins.
Sleep. Quality sleep. Eat. Quality food. Therapy, medication, video chat with a friend. Pay bills, feed pets. Give yourself a breath.
Now, consider joining a demonstration. With a mask, a helmet, goggles. You might jump in on a march, or be available to pass out water, hand sanitizer, and food. You might set up a first aid or art supplies station, or fly a sign with your organization’s bail out number on it.
And if you haven’t been able to get out of bed today, that’s fine. You’re fighting other battles and there’s no shame in that.
None of us want to feel like the wimpy snowflake who was on the wrong side of history. But if there’s one thing I know it’s this: we fight the battles that we’re ready for.
Thank you for sharing these moments with me. I hope my list will be a beacon for you of connection and encouragement.
As the president of the tequila for breakfast club I can assure you that there are no judgments here. Self selected accountability is second to self selected compassion.
Be kind to yourself. Reach out for help. Tell somebody you love them.
art credit: Glori Tuitt and Benji Hart from Trans Day of Resilience www.tdor.co