In many more-conservative areas, there’s still an anti-transgender mindset, some of it violent, as when three young thugs in Toledo, Ohio recently beat up a t-girl shortly after one of them yelled “look, there’s a dude in a dress” or idiotic words to that effect. This made their anti-transgender mindset pretty darn clear.
The good news in this case is that the girl is expected to recover, authorities and the community are outraged, one of the bad guys (a 20-year old) has already been caught, his bail has been denied, his face picture has been shown in the newspaper and on the Internet, and it’s being treated as the hate crime it is, which means stiffer penalties.
The newspapers are accurately referring to the t-girl as a girl, including using female pronouns. A few years ago, such an article might have read “3 guys beat up another guy in a dress. The victim, John Smith, who calls himself Jane …” and so on. Journalism has come a long way.
So has everyday street culture, in my experience, as recently as yesterday. I was in downtown Reno, looking slightly more rugged than I usually do (and certainly not as nice as in the pictures shown here) – 4” heels, long skirt, female-style top, big fake boobs, and a happy smile. I was about to have my hair done. I needed it. In other words, I wasn’t looking as I do when I’m at my most glamorous. Yesterday, saying “I have dirty blonde hair” had more than one meaning, especially if we gloss over some punctuation. I was also travel-weary, having just arrived back in Reno after an international trip, plus I was windblown. Not that I’m a beauty queen in the best of circumstances, but yesterday the gap was a bit wider than usual.
Kind folks sometimes say otherwise to make me feel better, but really, there is no way someone with reasonably good eyesight is going to take longer than two seconds to figure me out as being a transgender girl. I like to pose “just so” and I throw away the majority of the pictures I take, those that make me look more androgynous than I like. But in real life, there’s no such privilege. No “stealth mode” for me.
So, there I was, looking like the t-girl I am, walking along the sidewalk of 5th street in downtown Reno, and about to cross a street, at an intersection. The oncoming traffic had a stop sign and so I had the right-of-way, but I was just far enough from the approaching motorist that it made for awkward timing. I’ve seen so many motorists struggle with the “should I go quickly or should I wait” decision that when it’s iffy, then I like to help by making it an easy decision. I stop, turn around, and non-verbally convey a total lack of interest in crossing the street, so that they can move along and I’ll cross later when there’s nobody around. Normally, this works well. Yesterday, it didn’t.
A nice man in a dark blue 4-door Acura Legend had my moves all figured out, and he seemed to appreciate what I was doing. There was no other car behind him, so he smiled and pointedly backed up his car a few feet to emphasize that I really did have the right-of-way and was welcome to proceed.
It took me a few seconds to notice this and figure out what was going on, but then I smiled back and cheerfully marched across the intersection. His window was open, so I loudly said, “that was a very nice thing to do, thank you!” and he smiled and said, “well, YOU’re a very nice person.”
So, when a t-girl in downtown Reno experiences this sort of benevolence from a random stranger, it gives her more hope yet, for the world.
Thank you, kind Reno gentleman, whoever you are.