Oh Boy

•January 9, 2010 • Leave a Comment

This afternoon something refreshing and ultimately complicated happened.

I was taking the train back home from having a therapist appointment.  I was sitting on the train completely  lost in my head thinking about everything I had just talked about.  I was staring off into space, and my eyes just happened to land on this really attractive guy standing across from me.  Everything about him was cute and I couldn’t help but stare.  Occasionally we looked at the same time, and then I quickly would look away.

We got off the train at the same stop and I walked up the stairs and walked out of the station doors. All of a sudden he sort of ran up and stopped me.  He paused for a second, and then said “so, um, would you like to go out, um, anywhere?” I was a bit taken aback.  The really attractive guy on the train wanted to go on a date! He ran after me! He took a chance and actually asked me out! WTF! This never happens. So, in my shocked state gave him my number.

And without fail he text messaged me an hour later.  We chatted a bit, and I just don’t know what to do with this one.  I should never have given him my number. I’m so bad!

So this guy “D” as I will call him, is a straight boy who thinks I am a straight girl.  Is it wrong to go out with him pretending to be a straight girl?  I could tell him I usually sleep with women but like men as well.  He’d probably think it’s hot.  If we have sex, would I know what to do?  Truth is, I have never had sex with a man and I’m worried I wouldn’t be good at it, or I would touch him in a way I would touch a woman which would just be weird.  So even if I tell him I usually date women, I can’t tell him that I don’t identify as female.  Word on the street is that straight guys don’t like to date those on the trans guy spectrum. 

When I think about putting his cock in my mouth, it seems really gay, and really hot.  I would love the experience of dating a guy and being with a guy, but I know it’s not fair to him if I’m not honest about who I am.  And clearly, If I am honest about my identity he won’t be interested.  While it seems obvious that I can’t go on a date with “D” for practical reasons, there is a part of me that just might be naughty and do it anyway.

Conflicted, and kind of aroused by it all…

-Goddess Lacey

First Night

•January 7, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I descended down the stairs, clutching the railing harder with each shaky footstep.  As I had seen so many others do before me, I ripped a paper towel off the large brown roll and sprayed some unmarked cleaning solution onto it with two big sprays.  I turned away from the stairs, walked across the stage, and wrapped the paper towel around the pole.  After a few wipes up and down the pole, the smudges and fingerprints dissolved as Lenny Kravitz’s “American Woman” blasted through tinny speakers.  

I shuffled around the stage in clear plastic 5 inch heals, aware of each tiny movement or body tremble.  I pushed the short hair out of my face, avoiding eye contact with the customers sitting at the bar.  The fluid sexy movements of my imagination translated into a jarring realization that this would be much harder than I expected.  I kneeled down, slid my legs around the base of the pole and started to gyrate around it.  Almost immediately, a customer threw a few ones on stage.  As the bills grazed my back I turned and looked him in the eye. I removed my bra as I stood up, discarding it on the stage. The more I took off, the more I made.

As my clothing came off my body was revealed and I felt free.  The money I made on stage that night confirmed that I could be a dancer.  I realized that I could really be that male fantasy that so many girls long for.  I could be anyone I wanted.  Taking the job at the strip club felt like something I needed to do for myself, and I do not regret the decision.

Bedroom

•December 20, 2009 • 1 Comment

The bedroom is a box, filled with a mess of pink and leopard print.  Black and white photographs of fashion mannequins adorn the walls, while fake flower arrangements filled with pink petals and glitter hang above them.  The rat cage sitting on top of the dresser is filled with pink bedding while the rodent is asleep in the leopard print hammock strung between the wires.

Clothes are stuffed into all five drawers of the small dresser.  The top drawer is overflowing with flirty underwear and socks, some of which have lost their partners.  The second drawer is filled with a stack of colored t-shirts, a stack of black and white t-shirts, and the occasional argyle sweater.  Third down is stuffed to the brim with more sweaters and sweatshirts, a faded black sleeve hanging out the left side.  The next drawer down contains pants, messy but in order of fabric and color.  The blue and black jeans float near the top.

The last drawer seems obvious enough.  Some more winter clothes, some shoes, something to combat the fierce Boston weather.  What resides in this drawer though, the fifth drawer, is a gender-fuck of whips, dicks, heels, and handcuffs.

The very bottom of the drawer is lined with the patterns and stripes of boxer briefs, and tight spandex belonging only to that of breast binders.  Near the back, three soft phalluses lie each with a different size and color.  They look worn, stretched, and discolored.  A warped harness floats directly under one of the nude shafts.  These do not look like sexual toys, but rather a representation for a man who is without the flesh and blood of his own organ.

Snaking around and resting on top of another dick is the frayed thick tip of black leather, connected to a long braided rope and handle.  This whip is not for torture, but temptation. For pain, pleasure, and power.  

With this drawer open, the room begins to take on a new identity, breaking out of it’s perfect, flirty, feminine box.  The photographs on the walls depict mannequins, yes, but these mannequins are clad in black lingerie and are tied up and chained.  The faux flowers above, a campy attempt to hide the content, or as it seems now, to critique, question, and play.  This fifth drawer is a box in a bedroom filled with conflicting identities.  This is the bedroom of a male identified female sex worker.  

                                                                                                                                                                         This is my bedroom.

Transgender Day of Rememberance

•November 22, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I’m going to keep this short and to the point.

Friday was Transgender Day of Remembrance and I attended the vigil in my area.  I had such an intense Thursday night, and got very little sleep going into Friday.  During the day on Friday, I had meeting after meeting and seriously didn’t now if I was even going to be able to muster up the energy to go to the event that evening.  I knew I would be something powerful, and since it was my first TDOR I figured I really did have to go.  I went home and grabbed my camera and went to meet up with some friends before heading over to the church.

I’m not sure if I purposefully distanced myself, but I went into complete photographer mode.  I didn’t really let myself process what was going on in front of me.  The service at the church was nice.  Completely non denominational, just a time for some community members to get up and speak.  After that, we lit candles and walked through Rita Hester’s neighborhood.  It was eerie making that walk with all those people and all those candles.  It’s a walk I have made so many times, and I never thought about Rita or her death in combination with those streets.  We all gathered at an open square to stand in solidarity while community members read the name and a short description of each victim that passed away this year  at the hand of someone else, due to discrimination and hatred.

I stood there, and listened, and took pictures.  After all of the names, far too many names, were read we walked back to the church.  At the church there was a reception with hot apple cider and cookies and treats.  Once we got back to the church, I pulled away and sat by myself for a while.  I tried to make small talk with some people, but I just felt numb.

Pretty soon after, a friend of mine gave me a ride home.  That night was really tough for me.  I sat, and finally processed all of the emotion that I wasn’t able to process at the event.  I think a lot of my emotional release had to do with my own identity, and the fact that I can’t hide from myself any more. 

I spent all day developing and scanning the negatives I took on Friday.  So far, it looks like I have about 40 frames that I am happy with.  A bit more tweaking and editing and I should be able to get them up online and share them with the community.

Love.

Goddess Lacey

Transgender Awareness Week

•November 21, 2009 • Leave a Comment

This past week was Transgender Awareness Week and it was both a time for the trans community to come together, and a time to educate the cisgender public about issues facing the trans community.

On Tuesday night, I attended an event as a photographer and ended up with some nice photographs.  It’s funny how when I am photographing an event, I’m not sure if I’ll come out with anything I like.  Once I am at home and sorting through the photographs I realize that I actually did quite a good job of documenting the event.  I have also realized that I have my own style, even with documentary photography.  I know my personal style with more formal work, but it’s exciting to see my own artistic style developing.

Thursday night was the big night for me.  I am producing a documentary about a church’s involvement in Transgender Awareness Week, and we had our big shoot on Thursday!

When I first agreed to the project, I was a bit skeptical.  I am not a religious person.  I also have had some negative experiences with religion in the past, and have never been made to feel that God (whoever/whatever that is) loves me.  The project was born out of a conversation I had with a good friend at the Trans Pride Parade in Northampton at the beginning of October.  She attended the parade with members of her church, and was really excited to bridge the gap that so often exists between the LGBT (especially “T”) world, and the church world.  Quite possibly on the same day, this friend of mine also had a conversation with the director of the transgender rights organization I am interning for.  They decided that the church should hold an event during Transgender Awareness Week to continue to bridge the gap.  Once that was decided, my friend asked if I would be interested in shooting the event and putting together a short documentary piece that the church could use for their website to show how inclusive of a community they are.

Although hesitant about being involved with a church, I liked the idea of connecting these two communities.  I couldn’t think of any real reason not to get involved.  I figured I could bring my little HD video camera and then put together a short piece with final cut pro.  The more we talked about the event over the next few weeks, the more I realized how much bigger this project could be.  I’m taking a video production class this semester at school, and decided that I would make this a much larger documentary shoot and use it for my final project for class.  I then reached out to students in my class, and also found some students in a documentary production class who were also interested in getting involved.

The final crew that I ended up with was amazing.  There was only one student who was a bit of a weak link, but in the end even he pulled through.  I planned the shoot, and worked with my friend from the church to make sure we were on the same page.  I am extremely proud of my communication skills and my ability to plan ahead and follow through.  I am also extremely proud of all the hard work my friend put in to organizing the event at the church.

The evening was broken down into two separate parts.  There was a worship service that focused on understanding transgender identity and then a queer open mic night.  One of the incredible things about this church service is the inclusiveness to all identities, and religious ideologies.  There is no one set belief that everyone who attends this service believes in.  People come from all different backgrounds, and all come together to for this special community.  This community is very LGBT friendly, and takes you exactly as you are when you enter the door.

The shoot itself went pretty smoothly.  We had a few problems with audio during the first part of the worship service, but we found a way to make it work.  The open mic was fantastic, and quite a joy to shoot.  The people who performed  did a range of different things.  Some read poems, some told personal stories, some acted out skits, and some sang and played guitar.  After a short intermission, Leslie-Ann Rios sang and played guitar while my friend from the church who organized the event got to drum alongside with her.  It was exciting having Leslie-Ann at the open mic night.  She was the first runner up at the Miss Trans Northampton Pageant, and has become quite the “transelebrity”.  Her performance was by far the most fun to shoot with the camera, and the entire crew was really excited and passionate about the whole event.  Our shoot just kept getting better and better, and by the end we really bonded as a film crew.  There is something really exciting about shooting a documentary.  The energy you are capturing is raw and in real time and can’t be re-created.

So everything was very successful from a documentarian’s point of view.  On top of making sure my shoot went smoothly, I was trying to deal with my separate worlds colliding.

About half way through shooting the worship service, this man that I have a history with entered the church.  I’m not sure if this man is homeless, but I know he bums around near Park Street.  I hate to say this but, he smells terrible and creeps me the fuck out.  I’m sure he means well, but He is someone I really don’t like to see around the city.  This man comes into the strip club every now and again.  If I am working, he will not pay attention to any of the other dancers.  A few weeks ago, he was in and be bought three lap dances from me and tipped me about $30.  Where did he get this money?  I don’t know, and I really don’t want to know.  Anyway, so I was on camera shooting the worship service and simultaneously trying to monitor the audio levels when this man walks in.  I panic because I know he saw me.  He came up to me, while I was holding this giant camera mind you, and tries to hug and kiss me.  He is saying things like “you are so beautiful, I love you, kiss me, I love you” etc. and I was trying so hard not to loose it and completely freak out.  It would be one thing to see a normal customer at church, but this guy? Absolutely not OK.  The idea that I was stuck and couldn’t leave was terrifying.  I had to stay and deal with the situation, no matter how difficult it was.  

I hate the idea that this man, this dirty nasty man, has seen my naked body.  I hate that this man has had be dance naked on top of his crotch, and that this man has probably jerked off thinking about me.  And then there he is, in front of me, in church of all places. Great.  As soon as the worship service was over I tried to avoid him as he stood around but he came up to me again.  After another hug and his repeated attempts to kiss me, he finally left. 

The open mic portion of the evening was up next, and we only had about 20 minutes to tear everything down and move it from the chapel and into the other room.  Once we got into the room that the open mic was held in, it was already packed.  There was standing room only, and I was aquatinted with more than half of the people in the room.  Some of my friends were there, which added another pressure for they were watching me at work on my documentary shoot.  This part of the evening was the part I was originally most nervous for.  This was the part where my queer community and my emerson community would be coming together.  One of my close friends who I met through my internship sang a couple of songs with her guitar.  When she got up there, she thanked our friend who organized the event and thanked the Emerson film crew for being there.  She said something along the lines of :

          “Just want to say thank you to Emerson College for being here doing an amazing job, and specifically to Jesse, he            is organizing this shoot and he is doing such a good job, and I am really proud of him”.

Bam.  Just like that.  Outed to the entire room.  And my film crew.  I was wearing a name tag with male pronouns on it earlier, but ripped it off when I saw that man come in during the worship service. There was something absolutely terrifying about being outed, but also something wonderful.  It felt good to have it said out in the open. It felt good for someone else to say it.  Hearing her say that over a microphone made it feel very real.  I know my crew members heard it, but none of them said anything about it.  I also realize that this moment was captured on two separate tapes, which again, makes it all the more real.

The whole night was a giant endorphin rush.  I was just going, going, going with no time to stop.  I’m excited to see how this changes things with those people in the future, but I’m also a bit scared because this may be the event that triggers everyone at school finding out how I identify.

I do apologize for the novel, but this was one of those really important days in my life.  I have a feeling I am going to remember it forever.

– Goddess Lacey

Girl Crush

•October 20, 2009 • Leave a Comment

One day this summer, I went to the beach with a good friend of mine.  Even though it was a bit of a trip, we decided to go to the beach in Lynn.  This is a friend that I’m not out to fully, and she does not know that I have been using male pronouns.  I haven’t told her because I am wicked afraid of our relationship changing because. In Boston, she really is one of those people I consider family.  This is important, for I was wearing a cute little 1050’s inspired halter bathing suit and lying out on the beach.

This girl approaches us and says something along the lines of “I don’t know if your gay, and I don’t know if you two are together, but if you are gay and not together you should give me a call”, handed me her phone number, and ran away.  I honestly didn’t even have time to decide if I thought she was cute before she ran off.  I decided one date couldn’t hurt.

She lives in Salem, and I took the train to see her soon after.  We had a nice time, and I found her interesting.  The next weekend she came to see me in Boston and we went for dinner and watched a movie.  We ended up kissing for a little while that night, and it was disappointing when I had to walk her back to the train station.

Now, this all sounds great, except for the part where she saw me as female.  I met her presenting female and she assumed I identified as a lesbian.  I guess I gave in to the pressure, and on these two dates, I presented female and did not mention my gender identity.  I did however tell her the truth about everything else.  I told her I work at a strip club.  I told her about kappa.  I told her my goals and ambitions. I told her about my phobia.  She was really open with me, and I tried to be open with her.

Except for my gender identity.

I knew I needed to tell her the truth about my identity, but I got so afraid that she would no longer be interested.  Instead of telling her the truth, I pulled away.  I didn’t return her calls, and I didn’t reach out.   About a month later, I was talking to a friend from school and ended up coming out to her.  My friend was really supportive and was actually a bit hurt I had not told her sooner.  This gave me a fair amount of confidence in regard to coming out, and I decided that since I was still thinking about my Salem girl, it was worth asking her out again.

I went to salem to see her two Sunday’s ago and we had a really nice time.  I went to a work party with her and actually felt really comfortable around her co-workers.  I met her roommates and liked them too.  That night while we were snuggling in bed, we talked about my gender identity.  It was really scary to talk about, but she handled it well.  She asked me what I was comfortable with, and how I wanted her to refer to me.  I told her I would prefer her not to use gendered pronouns at all, and she said that she would try really hard not to.  She told me it was OK with her, and that she was glad I was honest about it.

We talked a bit last week on the phone, and she asked me out again this past Friday.  I ended up going back to salem and we had a very relaxed night in.  We got some take out, drank a bottle of wine, watched some horror movies, and I ended up staying over.  I honestly didn’t plan on staying over when I left my house on Friday, but I did.  On Sunday afternoon she came into Boston to spend time with me, and go to a party my co-worker was having.  It was nice to bring her into a trans space and see how comfortable she was with it.

I think I’m falling for this girl.  She’s not my type and she lives pretty far away.  If I’m still interested, then it means I must really like her.  I usually meet people and get bored with them after we see each other a few times.  With Salem girl, it’s different.  She is the first person I have met in a while that I actually want to spend time with.  When she texts me, I get excited. 

I have a few things left that I need to do.  I need to ask her to use male pronouns.  I got scared of asking her to use them, because she identifies as a lesbian.  We had a talk, and she said that she’s really not interested in men.  I guess I just wonder if it’s possible for a a woman with a strong lesbian identity to be attracted to me, and actually see me as being male.  I get really discouraged because I don’t think people really see me as male as it is.  I’m not sure how to be out as trans in a relationship with a woman.  I’ve never done it before.

The last really positive relationship I was in was a few years ago.  We worked well together because we both could play with gender and presentation and we had an understanding that gender exploration was positive.  At the time though, we were both just out as lesbians and I had just started to play with the idea of using gender queer as an identity.

Now I find myself in a new space that I don’t know how to navigate through.  I like this girl.  I want her to like me for who I am. I want her to actually be able to look at me and see me as male. I want her to be able to sleep with me and still see me as being male, regardless of the biologically female body parts.  I know the relationship will not work if she can’t see me this way.  I’m just scared she won’t be able to see me correctly, or won’t be able to date a male identified person.

Fingers crossed for now,

Goddess Lacey

Therapy and Shifting Pronouns

•October 11, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Over the past month I have really begun to explore the complexity of my identity, and I have started co come to terms with it.  In the transgender community I have been using male pronouns for three or four months now and it is beginning to feel completely natural.  I no longer pause when asked my preferred pronoun.  When people are using male pronouns to talk about me, I am aware of the connection and it feels comfortable.

I am actually rather surprised at how much has happened in the past few months.  Just before school began in September, I started therapy.  The therapist I have been seeing is wonderful.  She specifically works with transgender clients, and has helped me figure out how gender relates and intersects with other aspects in my life.  We have done a lot of work around gender and relationships.  One of my biggest fears is that as I become more comfortable with my transgender identity, friends who are not part of the trans or queer community will pull away.  

I am afraid of how my relationships with people will change.  I don’t think that they should have to change, but the dynamic between men and men, men and women, and women and women are all very different.  As a man, my relationships with others will have to evolve into something new and hopefully equally strong.  Being out with everyone is jumping the gun a bit, but it’s slowly becoming a not so distant reality.

From my work in therapy, and my increasing comfort in the transgender space using male pronouns, I decided that I needed to come out to my sorority.  We currently have girls pledging and I wanted to tell the active sisters before the new girls are active.  I addressed the organization at a business meeting last week.  I have never come out to 20 people all at once about anything, let alone something as terrifying as my gender identity.

I told my Kappa sisters a condensed version of what’s going on.  I told them that I had been working with this transgender rights organization all summer and that I had been using male pronouns at my internship.  I told them that I wasn’t asking for them to use male pronouns right now, but that I would let them know if that changed.  Everyone was really great about it, and I honestly think that things are OK.  I believe now I need to learn how to navigate in this female space as a non female identified person.  I wish there were other sisters who came before me who were dealing with the same issues.  As far as I know, I am the first trans identified Kappa in the organizations history.

So as of now, I am out and using male pronouns at my internship.  I told my sorority about my gender identity, but I have not asked them to use male pronouns.  I told my new roommate (who is amazing) roughly the same thing I told Kappa.  There are still a few people that I feel like I need to talk to.  I get worried because the people who are left are the people I really don’t want to loose.  Part of me thing that maybe I shouldn’t say anything unless I’m asking people to use male pronouns full time.

I have come so close to asking my professors to use male pronouns.  I’m not sure what it is that snapped in the past month, but I have really been coming to terms with the male identified part of myself.  The female part is still there, but the male part is totally trumping the female part these days.  

I also find that the more involved I am with the transgender rights organization, the more often I hear myself being referred to with male pronouns.  I think that the more often this has happened, the more comfortable I have become with it.  There was a while where I wanted to be able to enjoy it, but it just felt wicked foreign to me.  I remember that these feelings made me often question weather I had a right to use male pronouns.  I now know that I do.  I have a right to use any pronoun that makes me comfortable in any given situation.

-Goddess Lacey

 
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