Being trans is fun, because more than likely you’ve already come out as gay, or bi, or curious, or just not heteronormative…. but now you get to come out again. I know! Us LGBTQ people get to have all the fun. If I have straight kids I’m going to require them to come out as well, because you know what they say about assuming.
We were headed to Vegas to celebrate me and Courtney’s 21st birthday. It was just her and me and my mom and my mom’s best friend, Smucy. It was a “girl’s weekend” except I was about to fuck that one up real bad.
*Theme music and opening credits play*
Vegas was fun, great even. My mom is not like a lot of other people’s moms, she’s a “cool” mom. Okay but I mean that, she can drink you under a table, she’ll go to any burlesque show and it won’t be (too) awkward, and she’s just a riot. Mostly because she’s a great sport and lets me and Courtney make fun of her so it’s endless entertainment. Shmucy is also a good time, even if on a surface level she might not seem like she would be. To me she looks like a redheaded, older, Shmellen Shmompeo, with the exact same voice. She used to be a smoker so her voice is husky and fantastic, but besides that she is a Vegas Veteran. She makes at least one (usually two) trips to Sin City a year, and has the gambling game down. She promised my sister and I that she would take us the year we could legally gamble back when we were like 4 years old, and she made good on that promise.
So how could this go poorly, you ask?
I was not by any means ready to come out to my mother as trans. Though I had been aware of the fact that I wanted to transition for several months now I wasn’t out to anyone but my girlfriend who was on and off again about the whole thing like Rachel and Ross on FRIENDS except way worse. I was also still trying to figure out the process of how to start testosterone, if I needed to see a therapist, what was actually required of me, did Texas even believe in trans people?? etc. But even though I wasn’t ready to come out I had also told myself that if my mom ever outright asked me about how I identified I wouldn’t lie. I didn’t want to have this fake conversation denying how i really felt and then years later come out and begin my transition and my mom be like, “REMEMBER WHEN YOU LIED TO MY FACE ABOUT THIS 546 DAYS AGO?? BECAUSE I REMEMBER!!” Moms remember that shit and I wasn’t about to let her hold that against me on top of everything else.
So we are in our hotel room getting ready to go to dinner, we had already had a few drinks (to my knowledge about a dozen mimosas, because if you start with a mimosa and drink only mimosas and end the day with a mimosa you will meet your daily required intake of fruits/veggies — you will also ingest about 3 bottles of champagne, but who’s counting). My mom was fairly drunk, I was feeling pretty vitamin-C sufficient and something possessed my mom to say something along the lines of, “I know y’all are gay, just as long as nobody wants to be a boy.”
My silence was deafening.
Courtney was cluelessly getting ready across the room as I was trying to make eye contact with every Dragon Statue in the room and not my mother. This might seem like an odd detail, but it’s not if I had told you which hotel we were staying in…but I guess it’s too late now. Anyways, Mushu wasn’t coming to life like in Mulan and saving my ass from my mother and her Hun-like rage, so she yanked me into the bathroom with a crazed look in her eyes. Honestly, she looked just like that terrifying yellow-eyed Li Shang dude except she didn’t have a falcon henchman but she did have her mom-talons clenched into my arm with all the strength of a raging fire and all the force of a great typhoon. (“I’ll Make a Man Out of You” lyrics anyone? Appropriate if you ask me).
“What do you mean?” She hissed.
“Uh… I didn’t say anything.” I shrugged.
“Exactly.” She had arms hands crossed so tightly that I got the impression that she was trying to keep a grip on something that sure as shit wasn’t this situation.
“Look, this isn’t the time or the place or the sobriety level for this conversation to be had.”
My mom was instantly bawling. I didn’t know what to do. I hadn’t even said anything but I had said enough and she looked crushed. If I hadn’t been scared to actually come out and transition before, my girlfriend’s general apprehension about the situation and my mother’s sudden crisis/transformation into a simultaneous Disney villain and weeping mess was more than enough to send me into a tailspin. Mulan had failed me. Mimosas had failed me. My cool mom had failed me. Life sure wasn’t as simple as Walter Disney made it seem when we were younger — why couldn’t I just dress up like the boy I was and take my father’s place in the Chinese army and then, y’know, not go back to living life as an AFAB person. What was so hard about that? Why couldn’t I bring honor to my family and make a man out of myself. (Okay, I promise I’m done with Mulan references).
It would still take me another year and half or so to come out completely to everyone, including my mom, again. But now the seeds of this idea were planted in her brain and she was going to obsess over it for the next 18 months until one day she would call me when I lived in Brooklyn and tell me that she was scheduling a therapy consultation, just in casies. That’s the best kind of therapy, in case you were wondering, the naive hopefully preventative kind of therapy. Luckily, my therapist turned out to be super helpful and understanding and honestly a great resource at the beginning of my transition — but we won’t be meeting her until a good amount of blog entries from now. Until then, the moral of this story is that I need to work on my Poker face and I really should have picked up on why I liked Mulan so much as a kid.
*Next week on Nobody Scissors I take a complete stranger out on the town for their birthday*