Since entrusting myself to my best friend in summer 2016, I collected lots of experiences on how tolerant people really are towards transgender women like me. This time I want to share some examples with you. Some of them are very personal.
Lets start with her, my former best friendship with a plus. We know each other for almost four years now. We had our ups and downs, but after all we were more than happy with each other. I must say, that we spent our best times together. We shared many unique moments, and shared anything else. The model of an open relationship, was the perfect fit for our untraditional lives. We had our free spaces, and the bonus of a secure place to recover. Most of the time it was really uncomplicated. We skipped most of the problems that people could encounter in a more traditional relationship. I can’t really remember, how the situation was, when we initially spoke about my transition. One day I told her, that I was thinking, that I am a transgender woman. Before that day, there have been some smaller steps, that I took. Talking about stuff that I did, that usually only a woman would do. Wearing skirts for example. Her initial reaction was warm, and welcoming. She was stating, that she will support me, and that it was no problem for her, as long as the thing that we had wouldn’t change.
Reality however is different from promises. It didn’t take more than one quarter, and our relationship was a disaster. She was working against every single progress that I was doing. Every one of my thoughts was challenged by her. Trying to roll-back the steps, that I already did, and spreading insecurity about my future. Hoping that it would prevent me from proceeding my further plan. Tolerance seemed not to count in personal relationships. When you see, that a person that you really like, is changing in front of your eyes, the fears and insecurities can be overwhelming. People try to cling on what they already have. Loosing the vision, of opportunities that can open up in the future. For me changes are welcome, but she was different from my mindset. I took no considerations, no compromises. After 37 years, I did not want to loose more time. While she was seeing the world around her falling apart. She was my biggest supporter, but at the same time the biggest block on my road. Today I am happy, that we are still in contact. But there’s nothing left from the good times that we had. We are limited to exchanging some updates via mail from time to time. Finally that was maybe the highest price that I had to pay for my decision to live as a woman.
As many times before, I was on my Saturday night clubbing tour in Düsseldorf. It’s a beautiful city located on the Rhine River in the west of Germany. I am one of 600.000 residents, who call that place their home. I think once you are rooted here, you never want to leave again. Sure we don’t have endless beaches with aquamarine water, or the highest mountains, but this city has its own attractions. The nightlife was already in full progress, with lots of people around. Most bars and clubs are located in the ‘Altstadt’, which is the German name for the old city center. Why I love that district, is because you can hop from one bar to another. Düsseldorf claims to have the longest bar in the world, provided that you count all the bars together.
Switching places is possible at any time, and I loved that fact. I started off into the night on my own, and in one of my usual clubs. The name is ‘Anaconda’. It’s got its name from the interior layout. The long room in the form of a tube reminds you of snake. Well, at least a snake where you can have a good time inside. Alongside with the wall is the long counter, where you can order drinks, that were one of the very best in town for a while. Then the bartender quit the job, and it became more average, but still good enough. The both of us had a ritual, every time we met. We used to drink shots together. The first round was on me. Then usually he would invite me to the next round. The invite turned every round of shots, and normally it was many rounds throughout the night. Sometimes when I entered the door, and he realized that I was there, he put his hands in front of his face, gesturing ‘OMG’, because he knew, that he couldn’t skip our ritual. I wouldn’t let him. It was very funny, but also very sad, that he chose to work at another bar. After having several cocktails there, I was in the perfect mood to have a joyful night. Already dancing for myself, and dived into the moving crowd of human individuals. After a while I felt like it’s time to move on to the next location.
Salon des Amateurs
The club was named ‘Salon des Amateurs’. They play the same music as in ‘Anaconda’. Electro and house, which is one of my most favorite music, but I never paid much attention to that place in the years before. I started to go there in winter 2016. The people who used to hang out there were never of interest for me in former times, when I used to look like a man. Many things have changed since then.
Once I was hunting for my next pickup. It was like a competition. Mostly on my own, but in the last years I got to know a good friend, who loved to join me on my trips through the nightlife. These years were awesome. Anyway it changed fundamentally since I used to live as a woman. No need to demonstrate my maleness to the public any more. No more proves of the haul of the last night to my friends, who must have thought that I was another Barney Stinson from ‘How I Met Your Mother’. Those of you who know the series, know what I am talking about.
Forget anything around me
Today I go out just to enjoy my time, and to meet people. When I use to dance I can forget anything around me. Also a lady is not that offensive, in getting to know someone. Most contacts I have throughout a night these days develop more naturally out of the situation itself. No need to proactively speak to somebody. Commonly they do the first step, to get in touch with me. The typical guests of ‘Salon’ are folks, who want to let the night pass away pleasantly. Enjoying the benefit of the good music and relaxed atmosphere, where you don’t have to look like as good as in the beginning of the evening, when your styling is still looking perfect. Anyone enjoys themselves, without paying too much attention to, how the other people look like. The scene is more alternative, than in other spots.
When I entered ‘Salon’ I took a seat aside, and opposite to the bar. There were people crossing my view, but I hardly noticed them, as I was busy with my phone. It didn’t took five minutes, that a huge type of guy approached me – he looked like a real man, strong, and too attractive, to ignore him. He seemed to be very kind, and he asked me gently, if I would mind, that he takes the place next to me. I was impressed, that this man didn’t waste any time. We started a conversation, and he told me about a girl, that he was dating for a while. Not a bad idea to make himself interesting to me. But nevertheless I lost my interest in him, because it was not my intention, to jump into an emerging relationship of two loving people. However he didn’t give up on me, and finally we exchanged our phone numbers. It’s not the worst idea to have someone like him on my list, in case they broke up.
Then I went to the restrooms. There was nobody else there, so I could take my time in front of the mirror, to do some adjustments on my make-up. While I was still busy with my stuff, another girl appeared besides me. She washed her hands, then smiled into my eyes. ‘Do you have some powder for me?’ she asked. ‘Sure.’ I answered, and I started grabbing in my handbag. We started a discussion about the club, about the things, that I was normally carrying with me, and what our plans were for the rest of the night. After a while she invited me, to join her the next day. She was planning a party trip to Cologne with some friends. I thought why not, and replied ‘Sure.’ We typed our numbers into the phones, then left the toilet rooms. I got a new drink, and met her at the dance floor with some other guys that were joining her that night. This is how I met with Tina for the very first time. Later we found lots of parallels between us. The both of us, we had not the typical standard bios. We’ve been through some hard stuff in history, and that made a strong connection between us. Also we love to party. That was enough to start a new friendship.
We meet each other for a while now, and it’s always a good time. We can share any thoughts and secrets with each other, without thinking about it. She won my trust very quickly, and I don’t want to miss her any more. There’s only one thing about our relationship, that confuses me very often, and it’s something that is really annoying me from time to time. She uses the wrong pronouns, and is misgendering me. There was never an appointment, where she passed. Nothing more to say about it, it’s simply annoying. I tried to tell her a couple of times, that I want her to use the right pronouns, which are in my case she/her, but she simply ignores it. I don’t know why it is so hard for her, to stick to the correct pronouns. I can only guess, that she is not used to have transgender women as friends. Over and over again it seems, that she’s not really thinking about the importance, that it has to me. Even if I like her very much, it’s somehow oppressing our relationship. I also thought about breaking up our contact. I was questioning, how can someone who is saying, that she is really interested in you as a person, and in our friendship, behave so ignorant? She also talks to me, as if I wanted to be a woman, overseeing that I am a woman. Honestly I think breaking up, is the least thing that I’d like to do. But I’m somehow helpless how to tell her that. Maybe she reads that article, and starts to think about it. I mean it’s not that important for women, who are generally accepted as female beings. Most transgender women including me, we never had that benefit in our lives. We can stand that people are misgendering us. But we cannot accept, that those who are close to us, do the same stuff over and over again.
There was once a situation with one of her friends a few weeks ago, where a guy started annoying me. He introduced himself, saying he was a very tolerant person, and that he has no issues with me, being a transgender woman. Given he’s tolerant, why would he has to emphasize that? Was he afraid I wouldn’t see that? He said anyone can live their lives. But then my impression of him changed dramatically. Okay we were all very drunk, but what goes on in someones mind, who can’t stop annoying you? He said things to me like
Oh you have big shoes.
You are very big for a woman.
Seriously? Is this, what you would consider as tolerant behavior? Would you tell this any other woman, that you meet?
She could know it better
The point why I wanted to mention this is, that Tina knows all that happened that particular night. She could have known, that such things like misgendering transgender people, make me go crazy after a while. I mean I don’t mind when someone is misgendering me once, or even many times. But when it comes to no end, than I can get very emotional. Dear Tina, please stop that! I want to be your best friend, but that comes along with a little bit of more respect for each other. In the meantime we had discussed that issue, and she promised to pay more attention to it. It’s always better to face issues, and to solve them, instead of running away.
How many times do we push things aside, that need our interaction? Think about it in a positive way, and take action!
Have a good night