Saturday, 27 June 2015

Whar's Me Cookbooks?

So, Week 2 at the new place and the Bit-ler* can’t find her cookbooks, which means dinners are a little boring.   You see, Bit-ler won’t cook without a recipe, no matter how many times she’s made the dish before.  A woman of science, she is.  A veritable transgender Joe Friday.  Just the facts, ma’am.  Preferably in alphabetical order.

(*Butler in Transition)

45 minute stew that took me 2 hours to cook.
My mind works differently.  The few times Bit-ler’s relied on me to cook, I substituted ingredients willy-nilly, mostly because I didn’t recognise coconut milk or suet when I saw them in the pantry. 

My ease with improv makes me the one more likely to be the front guard to our adventures.  There aren’t always cheering crowds handing out water bottles to women who run the road to excitement.  As one of my neighbours once said to me, there shouldn’t be female pirates. 

A lurking Neanderthal?
(Monster by Diana Afanador)
But it’s often on the pedestrian path where we meet the Neanderthal.  Like the guy hired to replace the carpet Gargoyle Possum ruined  in the old place.  Carpet Guy did a visual calculation of the area, then started yelling at me for buying the wrong size carpet.  I said, ‘Shut it!’ and called in the Bit-ler who was still presenting as male.  Carpet Guy didn’t yell at her. 

Most girls learn by high school that having a locum phallus provides a social shorthand to dealing with patriarchal assholery.  But trans-women aren’t most girls.  Bit-ler has lived her life with male privilege, as well as being in a profession that automatically grants her authority, even in social situations.  So while I’m losing my penile wild card against knuckle-draggers, her status will cascade into lesser-dom, as soon as she gets the hair right.  And suddenly, her achievements don’t count, her worth won’t be assumed.

About ten years ago in the first year of his transition, my FtM son, El Punko was accosted by a drunk who wanted one of his cigarettes.  El Punko refused, the drunk got aggressive and chased El Punko into a shop.  Chances are, someone would’ve stepped in if the Punk were still presenting as female, but the bystanders who saw it, expected the young man to handle it himself.  El Punko dealt with his first school yard bully at age 20, not really a situation his mother could address by a visit to the head master.

Look behind you!
(Monster by Diana Afanador)

Bit-ler will be taking this on much later in life.  Although I know this is the way of the world, I don’t want her to learn it first hand, not after all she’s gone through to get a B-cup and a full head of hair.  Without a penis, even a borrowed one, we can’t expect the troglodytes to be civil. 

I don’t think there’s a cookbook in any of our boxes for this.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Best Laid Plans of Mice & Transitions

It seemed a reasonable idea.  Bit-ler (Butler-in-Transition) would do the handover of our old house as male, start in our new house as female.  There’d be a slight bleed through of maleness in the new house, but once two women were living there full time, the unnamed man would exit stage left.

Gargoyle Possum
We hadn’t factored in Gargoyle Possum.

A geriatric stray cat we naively rescued, blind in one eye, hair like a worn horse blanket.  He met our kindness with claws and teeth, a copious bladder flow & rampant sexual acts despite being neutered.  His propensity for vomiting on the table got him a trip to the vet who diagnosed a brain tumour.  Prognosis, eighteen months.  We were heartlessly relieved.
Like many stories of this sort, everyone adjusted, including the Gargoyle.  Once he stopped using us for blood-sport, he showed himself playful & incredibly intelligent, uniquely Possumy.  Cat piss & table vomit grew routine.  His eighteen months came & went.  He continued his nightly hump of the duvet. 

Garegoyle's favourite sleeping spot.
A few days before the move, he started that quiet withdrawal of a dying animal.  Though we’d taken him into our tribe as well as our house, we’d known from the beginning where he was headed.  Our reaction wasn’t coordinated or planned, but in the middle of digging up plants and packing boxes & taking down beds, we each sat with him, keeping the distance he requested, giving the witness he deserved.

I was 50 minutes away at the old house when it happened.  Bit-ler was inside the new house, at the mercy of agents documenting the number of nails in the walls.  El Punko & his equally old cat, the Toothless Wonder, were outside with the Gargoyle on the new front lawn, movers grunting past as if life never ended.    

Gargoyle opening his fan mail.
Gargoyle’s final grand mal seizure was a savage farewell to El Punko, but Gargoyle never minced around.  And though he was gone, his lungs kept breathing, his heart kept beating. 

We needed a vet.  

No phone reception.  No internet.  Bit-ler went to a neighbour for help.  

Gargoyle left us via lethal injection.  His legacy, outing the Bit-ler. 

The helpful neighbours have made several overtures to us, always when the Bit-ler is somewhere else.  And they always refer to the Bit-ler as male.  El Punko & I struggle to stay gender neutral.  Bit-ler laughs at our stories.
Life doesn't bend to best laid plans.  We’re left flying by the seat of our pants, no idea how our arrival as the local trans-family will be received.  At the moment, not caring.  It cost the Bit-ler too much to get here.  A few begrudgers won’t stop us.  And the thing about this transition business is, it surprises you, where your allies turn up.

Gargoyle Possum at play.
Thank you, Gargoyle Possum, for living long enough to teach us that.  Best of luck to you in your new humping grounds.