I’ve received a lot of comments on my driver’s license pic. Not liking your DMV picture is pretty much par for the course, it’s just all the more awkward as a trans person. Maybe it’s to be conversational, I’m not sure, but if I need to show ID I usually hear about it. Here’re my greatest hits:
“Wow, things have changed, huh?”
“What happened to this guy?”
“I prefer your new look *smile*”
“*touches my chin* you look better like this!”
My standard response is to laugh. I’m not sure what to say. Yeah, things have changed, I didn’t much like that guy, and I too like my new look. Maybe I even look better. Honestly, I’d rather not hear about it at a wine store or bar. At least I’ve never been harassed about it.
In the LGBT community we talk about being closeted or out, but one can be closeted to some degree about a number of things beyond orientation and gender.
Sophomore year of college I needed a storage space to house my stuff over summer. I pulled out the yellow pages (lol) and called every storage place in the county for the cheapest 5×5 for a three month lease. Most of the characters were pretty interesting. One place, by far, was the cheapest at the low low price of $25 per month. Sweet. So I mapquested that ish and realized… the county roads that to get me there weren’t all paved. I’ve heard in more rural areas of the country gravel and dirt roads are how counties roll. This was California, though. Wat.
I packed my first load into the back of my pearly white station wagon sex machine and drove out to no mans land. When I hit the dirt roads I hit rural poverty. Houses were small, yards were nonexistant, and shoeless children played in the dust. It felt like a pretty big transition, I was an outsider. Later the roads turned to asphalt again and I found my storage facility. The place was nicer than I expected it to be, but anything but safe and secure, as advertised. No gates, no lights, no old coon dog. They should’ve at least had the dog, c’mon, I passed like six of them on my dirt road adventure.
Inside I met Bill. He had a salt and pepper beard, trucker hat, and he and his buddies were playing poker and drinking High Life at noon. High life, indeed. He asked if I wanted to see the unit. Nah, I said, that’s alright. He agreed that once you’d seen one 5×5 you’d seen ’em all. I hadn’t seen one before, but I took his word for it. He asked if I had a lock. Woops. I offered to buy one and he tossed one to me “on the house.” Dale piped up, “Hey, why’int you give me a lock for free?” Bill retorted, “that’s because you’re a queer, Dale.” I remember that word for word, ’cause I’d never heard someone be called a queer before. Gay, yeah, but queer was new. Bill turned and gave me a sloppy grin. Yeah, fuck those queers, good on you, Bill. I figured it probably would be a good thing if he found out I, too, was one of those queers. He might want his lock back. I said bye to the guys and went to unload my stuff into its new, cozy home.
The few times I interacted with him in the future I made sure I wasn’t what Bill called fancy. I found out I had both fancy hair and handwriting. Who knew. I covered it all up, and even my inflection changed. I was playing a part, in the closet about being from the ghetto, a trans woman, and in college. I felt really bad about the whole thing, that I was disingenuous.
I’ve heard it’s okay to be in the closet only so much as to avoid violence. I stayed in the closet just to make things easier. I was a little worried about my safety, but even in situations since when I’ve not been worried, I’m still closeted about any number of things. It makes me feel fake. That’s probably because I am being fake, that’s the whole point.
Most people make it pretty apparent what they want. When I need to, I adopt that. Maybe I could argue that for most of my male-raised life I had to play a part, now it’s just second nature. Maybe any role I play as male is disingenuous to begin with. Maybe that makes it little worse to pretend to be a hick at a storage place or middle-class in college. I do know that I’m tired of playing, though.
I set up my appointment for E3000 last week. I leave in a month. Denise is terribly nice. The only problem setting things up was working around their electrology and my school schedule. I had to leave class for a bit to take the call, finally. It felt pretty nice to see them drain money from my account for a deposit; never thought I’d like seeing money leave my hands. Hey, it’s worth it. Anything to make my photo ID look less like me, just to spite DMV, is a step in the right direction. Another psuedo-science theory for why trans people exist? We’re secretly out to confound both DMV and folks who check IDs. You knew it all along, didn’t you. Just don’t think you can foil our master scheme, Scooby Doo.