Pride and Spaces
I just need to pee and enter, that’s all.
It has always been ironic how I feel uncomfortable in spaces that are supposed to make me comfortable and safe. In the comfort room, where my ears and eyes just turn extra-sensitive to all those gazes and words that I know are coming for me. In a mall, which already labels me upon entering- so I go to the “female” line only to see security officers questioning my identity. In a bar, where bouncers request personal information such as gender-marker-free ID’s only to find out that I’m a “cross-dresser”.
It does really get to my nerves and it has been always a part of me to feel anxious in these spaces and situations. As a friend in the past says, “let it go”, So I just continue to go to that space. I then feel shaky with all those butterflies in my stomach. I breathe and go outside. I drink a bit (or a lot). I then feel Ok.
But it was over a year ago, that I got to a fight with a female celebrity inside a bar’s female’s rest room. I hated explaining myself and defending it with hurtful words. I felt bad. It was also 4 years ago when a relative literally hurt me in the face, because I was insisting my right to enter a club as a woman, and because it was uncomfortable and shameful for everyone else. I could remember that punch that almost removed my wig in public, and all those tears that followed.
The Pride month has ended. While there’s so much to celebrate, it’s still a long way after the Orlando massacre which happened in a club where gays felt safe and Ok. In the US also where Republicans claim transgenders rest rooms as venue for male predators. In The Philippines, we can toast over that Smart commercial, the first transgender congresswoman, the coming out of Angelina Mead King as a different kind of transgender, but these spaces will continue to haunt us LGBT, especially transgenders, if we don’t speak these truths and fight for access in these spaces, even if our voice and body shakes.
I am writing this (drinking a 500ml beer) and typing while my hand shakes, hoping that we can have our own. I know that there are those that can allow us in (cover photo!), those that we can finally own and create and be safe in it, especially with the right friends and allies who’s always ready to fight with you.