lest you think this crosses any lines, i let Grace’s mom read this before i hit “post”. she didn’t change a word, and she’s about to serve dinner…so with that…read on.
so a classmate of mine’s daughter, presently in the throes of grade school, is trans. (we’ll call her Grace, which is so not her real name, duh) i often babysit for her and her little bro, who isn’t even 2 yet and has figured out how to properly fistbump, and sometimes i just end up around the house, sometimes because of school, sometimes because her dad owes me money, but mostly because they’ve asked me to be in their life, which they did long before they knew i was trans…anyways, i get to be one of her positive role models, you know, Erica, who is (mostly) an adult and (generally) fairly responsible and (for the most part) pretty close to normal. unlike her many role models, from her awesome dad to her amazing aunt to her mother, who i wish i were half as cool as, i’m trans.
growing up trans sucked for those of us who had voiced ourselves successfully and for those who could not do so for any number of reasons, because we never got to see anyone like us in the media or in the community, and the transphobic nature of media outlets led to trans people, especially trans women, being played for laughs, mocked, or used as a shitty plot twist for shock value. these representations robbed many younger trans women of our voices when we needed them most and provided negative reinforcement about who and what we were in the cruelest fashion.
it’s kind of cool to be able to be part of that difference. honestly, it’s…weird. i am erica, a pebble against the avalanche, remember? it’s cool to do things like bring non-bad music to Grace’s world, to impart advice in that distant and appropriate way which should be shown to children, and to be the occasional reminder that she’s not alone. of late she’s taken to using the quasi-family honorific of “auntie”, which means i’m old, but it also means i’m pretty loved. “auntie Erica” has a ring to it, though she keeps advising me that i need to find a girlfriend, which is pretty sage wisdom from someone who non-ironically has a Trapper Keeper. this is a lot of backstory (and they changed Trapper Keepers, dammit) for the point of this post, though!
so i rolled by Grace’s house because her mom and i needed to talk school-related tofurkey, and she excitedly told me all about her new cargo bike, a Madsen kg271. i really was excited about it too, and she offered to let me ride it to the store, since she volunteered to cook dinner for us if i’d go pick up the food, an excellent deal! Grace has an out-of-town friend visiting who was really excited to talk to me so she insisted on tagging along. “oh, this is your auntie Erica?” it probably should have made sense to me why she said this, but it took a moment for it to dawn on me.
load kids into bucket, make sure everyone has a helmet, fasten seat belts, and a leisurely ride down the street. smile at pedestrians, listen to two happy little girls playing patty-cake, and realize what you call three trans females (one woman, two girls) going down the street on a bike: completely normal.