The following was my reply in a transgender persons support group to the question, "What was your first time out in public?" :
It's hard for me to nail that one down for sure, but I think the following story was likely my first time:
I was still in the military at the time, and committed to finishing my 20 years; being caught out dressing would have been a huge disaster. At least I thought so at the time, now I'm not so sure about that, but I digress.
My car at the time was a loud, souped-up hot rod that I had built and I used to drag race with. No pun intended! Not exactly the best vehicle to be inconspicuous in, but it was all I had besides my motorcycle.
The best idea for an outing that I could drum up the courage for, was a trip through a fast food drive-through. I still have no idea whether it was my appearance, the car, or maybe the terror in my voice; maybe it wasn't what I thought at all? Whatever it was, I was certain the guy at the drive-through window had clocked me instantly and that's what I could see he was telling his coworker about after he closed the window to go put my order together.
I think my heart was broken, and I remember the hot sting of tears in my eyes.
He finally finished my order and brought it to the window, and I handed him my money. I have never wanted to be invisible so much as I did right at that moment, and I was desperate to get out of there as soon as possible.
After what seemed like an eternity, he finally brought back my change and what he said still seems so hugely inexplicable and filled with portent. Nonetheless, it was without any detectable trace of sarcasm that he simply handed me my change and said, "Thank you miss, have a nice night."
It's really been a lot of years since then, but I have always done my best to remember my feelings from that night and from all the other trials I have been through. I keep them in my heart for every other person I encounter who is going through what I did, whatever that might be in pursuit of.
- ► 2008 (26)