This is scary for me to write. This is going to be messy to read. Perhaps this e-mail results in my cancellation. Perhaps my celebration. Perhaps twelve people will actually read this and the world will go on, because ultimately does anyone really give a shit?
But I feel compelled to say something about myself publicly after once again indulging in psychedelic mushrooms and sobbing to sisters and strangers alike that: “Yes, I’m trans.”
I don’t know exactly what other implications that proclamation has. I’ve been comfortable with the label of “non-binary” for a while now. My pronouns are they/them—not that I feel the bravery to correct people most of the time. So to use “trans” in the umbrella sense of the term has been perhaps the best way I can linguistically explain myself these days (theeese daaaays). I love my body (though if my tits and ass felt like growing a bit, I wouldn’t stop them). I don’t have plans to alter it. I’m not currently on hormones, though to paraphrase Adam Driver’s swinging cock in the Girls pilot: “I’m considering it.” I at once feel like a twinky faggot bussyboy and a Keira Knightley-type sophisticated woman, and I also don’t know that I quite feel like either. To paraphrase my half-hearted coming out to my mom and dad on Parents’ Weekend freshman year at Emerson College: “I’m not sure.” To directly quote a deleted scene from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: “Who am I, Hedwig? What am I?”
But I do know some things about myself. I am and will always be a faggot who wants to have sex with gay men! But there is a woman living inside me (outside me, too, to be brutally honest). And as I thrashed among an endless sea of gorgeous, muscular gay men this weekend in Brooklyn (shoutout to Ty Sunderland—if somehow you end up reading this, sweetie, I’m so grateful for the spaces you create), one thought refused to leave the front of my mind: I am fundamentally different from the rest of these whores. I intend to have my facial hair removed this winter when I won’t experience debilitating FOMO from being required to stay out of the sun for three weeks.
I dare you to name a less passing, more clockable individual than myself. I’m taking a leap of faith here and owning the right to say the words “tranny chaser,” a community that has recently been showering me with praise, until they discover that my dick looks deceptively big in a swimsuit picture on Grindr (it’s (just shy of?) average!).
The last thing I would ever want to do in life is invalidate the experience of another person’s gender identity, specifically trans women. I’ve had conversations with dear trans friends of mine in the past where I’ve heard it voiced that unless you go through a medical transition, you can’t possibly understand that experience. I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment. And I would completely understand if a trans woman felt my use of the word ‘trans’ inadvertently invalidated the very real and painful experience of going through a fundamental overhaul of one’s body to exist as one’s true self. Ultimately I’ve had it much easier than many trans people. My body is naturally relatively hairless and feminine (brag much?), despite my average-sized cock sitting pretty on the throne.
To be non-binary has become kind of trendy. And so, if I’m being nakedly honest, I’ve felt like my own gender identity has been (absolutely unintentionally) invalidated as I see incredibly cis-passing non-binary celebrities and friends of mine owning the term that best describes them. I pray this doesn’t come across as shade toward them: I love my girls. And everyone who is non-binary is non-binary. Full stop. Ultimately what I’m feeling has nothing to do with them. I’m processing my thoughts and feelings in real time here. I guess what I’m trying to say is maybe as we move forward as a culture, non-binary no longer feels like quite enough to encapsulate who I feel I am. Maybe that means I’m refusing to admit to myself fully that I’m a woman, period. I’m not sure. In conversations I’ve had with trans women in the past, I’ve been told that I’m “just me.” And that’s absolutely true. I don’t want to have to label myself. Ultimately I don’t know that I really give a shit. Or shouldn’t have to give a shit, except that when I’m misgendered, and my family and friends can’t remember to use they/them for me (I mess up my own pronouns all the time), I act like it’s not a big deal but the truth is it hurts me really, really deeply. I hope I don’t sound like a drama queen when I confess that I’m gasping through tears as I type these sentences. It could be that “drivers license” is blasting in my headphones. But if I’m honest with myself, it’s not the music.
It’s the fact that for many years now, I’ve been living with a somewhat hypervisible queerness. I was Out magazine’s resident gender-bender for a very long time, and I prance through my days in mini dresses and thongs and blue eyeshadow. Yet deep down, I still feel like I’m kind of in the closet. I’ve hesitated for a long time to call myself trans, not wanting to give any trans person the feeling that because I’m not “trans enough,” my usage of the word takes away from their life experience, makes what they’ve had to go through seem less intense.
But I can’t live like this anymore. I can’t fear using a word that deep down I know captures who I am better than just saying “non-binary.” Even as I type this essay, I don’t know that I feel ready to say I’m a “trans woman.” I’m genuinely not sure that I am. Perhaps this “coming out” is half-baked, premature. But I always liked my cookies extra raw.
I do feel like I’m back at Parents’ Weekend, a few weeks into my first year of college, having never kissed a boy on the lips outside of truth or dare, telling my mommy and dad that I “wasn’t sure” if I was gay over Chicken Parmesan in Boston’s North End. From that meal on, we all have just operated under the (correct) assumption that I’m a one-hundred percent, farm-raised, cage-free, certifiably organic faggot. Which I think is hilarious and kind of lovely. Yeah, I knew I was gay deep, deep down probably from the moment I kissed my friend J*rdan on the cheek while we were playing “Romeo and Juliet” on the couch at the age of six. But I stand by the fact that I wasn’t really sure who I was throughout my adolescence (and to this day). I’m pretty sure Kurt and Sue Sylvester had a (problematic-ish?) conversation on Glee where Sue told Kurt that until he’d kissed a boy, how could he really know if he was a homo? And while I know for a fact that’s not true for everyone, and maybe not even true for me, that conversation has lingered in my head. I think there’s a kernel of truth in there.
That’s why I reserve the right to say I don’t know exactly what I am. A lot of the time I feel like I’m a woman. I often picture my mom at my age (she’s always been incredibly gorgeous, kind of Charlotte York-Goldenblatt vibes visually), and I feel like her but with curly hair, no boobs, and a dick. I’ve never felt at all like my dad gender-wise (aside from the party animal spirit and the urge to pierce my nipples and belly button—fun fact, in addition to those parts, he also has his dick pierced).
Maybe I’m dragging my feet and I should just call a twink a twink: am I just a biological woman? But then I think about Sue and Kurt’s weird conversation that I’m pretty sure got significant online backlash. And I can’t help but insist: I really don’t know. Who and what I feel like changes from day to day. Re-reading this sentence, I feel compelled to interject: I think I might be a woman.
Because simply calling myself non-binary, and going “you can use trans for me as the umbrella term, babe!” might no longer feel like enough. It feels like existing with one kitten-heeled foot still in the proverbial closet. And that’s why I have no choice but to proclaim loudly, at the risk of alienating my own community: I am actively trans. That’s the word that I want to use for myself right now. I hope with all my heart that I have not hurt trans women who feel my insistence on this syntax somehow infringes on their experiences. And on the flipside, I pray with every fiber of my being that this does not hurt my non-binary sisters, all of whose identity I validate and celebrate wholeheartedly. I still identify as nonbinary(!!!). But I also don’t feel I’ve quite figured out how to articulate who I am, to myself or to others, and sometimes that word feels like a placeholder on my road toward fully realizing myself. I think labels are simultaneously stupid and incredibly important—on the one hand, I wish we lived in a world where they weren’t necessary. And maybe we don’t. But I think we do. Because I think it’s so crucial for people to be recognized for who they are. And I’m a tranny. Who still wants to fuck gay guys! And I’m probably a girl deep down. Take away the probably. I definitely am a girl. I think. Maybe. This might just be me dragging my feet towards admitting that. A part of me deep inside is screaming that I should just say it: I’m a girl! But another, bigger part of me says it’s ok that I don’t know. And maybe all of it can be true.
One more thing I want to say—I understand the linguistics of it all, that ‘trans’ is not only short for ‘transgender’ but for ‘transition, -ing, -ed’ and so implies a transition from one place into another. I completely get that, and holding that truth in one (Essie’s Bikini-So-Teeny manicured) hand can in my other hand (the one I use for jerking off) say that I need to do this, and use this word, so that the people in my life I hold dear understand how incredibly important this is to me. This is my tea. This tea is an iced green tea mixed with lemonade that I made for myself to the point of vomiting during my tenure at a small mom-and-pop called Starbucks Copley Square.
Ultimately, the lyric from Gaga’s “Hair” comes to mind: “I just wanna be free/ I just wanna be me/ and I want lots of friends who invite me to their parties.” (Side note: one of my new sisters Nick and I are going to learn how to be DJs and throw lots of fun lyrics-only parties celebrating the faggiest, most basic of the pop girls.)
I hope you guys like your cookies to just be lumps of warm raw dough as well, because as I approach the conclusion of this word vomit, I already cringe at how underbaked some of my thoughts are. And I’m still sitting here with a twinge of something awful in my stomach, like there might be something I haven’t quite admitted to myself yet. But I think this is the best I can do for now. Maybe I’m a stupid Crunk Slore trying to have the best of both worlds and demanding as much attention and sympathy as I can possibly squeeze out of my dwindling social media presence and fading journalism career. In fact, all of that is definitely true.
So I guess they/them still works for me pronoun-wise. But I’m also thinking it’s time to start incorporating some she/hers into the conversation when the vibe strikes.
A Few More Raw Truths to (Hopefully) Lighten The Mood
My boyfriend and I are currently trying out openness (terms and conditions apply—see label for details) and so on Friday night I was wasted on my way home from a party and had a twink over. We made out for approximately thirty seconds when he went “Sorry, I’m just not feeling this vibe” and left. Hahaha! Tom wanted me to add that his reaction to this was: “No story that starts with ‘It was 3am and I was drunk so I went on Grindr’ has a happy ending.” But if that’s true, then by the Transitive (ayy) Property would any Grindr experience have a happy ending?
I’ve recently recovered from a hemorrhoid. It was really, really painful and my perfect hole, while still perfect, is now a (very slightly) visually different experience.
Mare of Easttown comes out on Sundays at 10 PM - for the past several weekends I’ve indulged in witnessing Kate Winslet being a gay boy while pretty tipsy. I’m at a point in my life where I no longer have any idea what is happening on Mare of Easttown, a Camp Classic.
I’m rewatching Succession just to pass some of The Hours. That’s a really great show, too. I love HBO, the network who took a chance on me and now can officially be called The Place of My Television Acting Debut. Watch Search Party!
I have reached out to S*rah Jessica P*rker (the most important, kind, and brilliant person on this earth) via Instagram multiple times begging for a cameo on And Just Like That… so far no dice. :)
The quintessential scene in the Sex and the City movie where Carrie beats up Big in the middle of the street with her wedding flowers and screams “I AM HUMILIATED!” is constantly on repeat in my head. SJP should have been nominated for an Oscar for this film, and it should also have had noms for Adapted Screenplay and Costumes, and probably at least one Supporting nom to placehold the unrealistic demand of giving all three side girls their due. Honestly, Charlotte deserves the Oscar nom since she’s the only one of the quartet to not win an Emmy. Because I’m still really emotional regarding the above essay, I am crying (please do not think I am using flowery language!) thinking about how rude that was towards the brilliant Kristin Davis. Anyway, these days, not an hour goes by where I don’t genuinely feel deeply, inexplicably humiliated. Maybe if I got a job that feeling would chill out a bit.
If you’ve actually read this far, you a real one. Let me know you a real one by responding to this email with something humiliating about yourself.