Miss Plumcake loves the gays. We all know that. I go to their clubs, I march in their parades (Austin Pride June 5th, y’all!) I go to weddings with them if Aunt Titsy is too concerned about shocking the neighbors or messing up the boy-girl seating arrangements she’s had nailed down since Cousin Bettina’s first Communion. I am an A#1 certified Prom Date (I don’t spend this much time at the medspa to be called a hag) and I cherish that. I don’t even mind –in fact I relish– those few times when I’ve been confused with a drag queen.
Last Friday a gentleman caller and I were having The Talk.
You know, the talk where you decide Where This Is All Going blah blah blah. I hate that talk. I hate most serious relationship-y conversations and frankly, part of the appeal of dating a Glaswegian was not having to deal with tedious relationship-wrecking things like emotions or expressed feelings.
Things were getting a little uncomfortable for me.
I’m clearly not into this guy as much as he’s into me (cute, but a non-starter in some really significant ways) so after he says The Big Thing he wanted to say, I –trying to lighten the mood– put on a big I’m a lumberjack face, flexed my pretend muscles (because if I can’t be Judy Garland when I grow up, at least I can be Eric Idle) and said in a super-deep James Earl Jones voice “Good, because I’m a man.”
He believed me! Apparently he’d dated a girl who was mid-transition once and didn’t tell him, and it set him off forever.
Birth certificate, baby pictures –complete with comments from my dad on Facebook– NOTHIN’. And of course the more I denied it the “guiltier” I looked in his eyes. And the most infuriating part was he was trying to be The Sensitive Guy about it which made me even madder because I wanted to be the one to reject HIM. He’s the jerk who “forgot” to mention he had a girlfriend back in Glasgow before I dumped him the first time in January, I’m the catch with the immaculate rack. It’s the natural order of things!
Generally I don’t care what people believe about me as long as it doesn’t pertain to my character.
I know there were plenty of folks who thought Miss Plumcake was a group of gay men. Heck, even Francesca thought I was a strong black woman trying to “pass” as white Southern belle (yeah, I don’t know why either, but it was hi-larious when it all came out). So you know, whatever. But it really threw me to have my gender questioned.
He said I was a very nice girl blah blah blah but he’s “only interested in women with wombs.”
Does a womb make a woman?
I’ve got one but I don’t plan on using it, another friend with a passel of gorgeous biological children (although they’re gross, because all children are gross…gross and moist) doesn’t have one anymore. Does that make me more of a woman even though I’ve never done womanly things like
push a shrieking, money-sucking demon the size of a toaster oven out of my Very Thing experience the joys of childbirth? Of course not.
Which brings me to the Very Special Episode portion of the blog.
Biologically I am a woman, but biology has precious little to do with it when I come to think about it. I am a woman in my soul, I live my life as a woman and deal with all the joys and pains (well except the childbirth pains…suckers!) that come with it. But so do my girls who weren’t born as biological women. They deal with all that and more, and even though I fight them for the only pair of size 42 Roberto Cavalli pumps with the gold serpent sculptural heels (and I am NOT afraid to bite) they are my sisters.
Last year in an oft-quoted interview with The Daily Beast I said:
““I’m fat, I have money. I’m more than willing to give it in quantity to the store who will supply me with beautifully made clothes that don’t make me look like a hooker, a tranny, or someone’s bingo-playing grandma from Duluth.”
I got lots of letters of outrage, and I replied to everyone who was reasonable saying I was an equal opportunity mocker and my history of civil rights work on behalf of the gay and transgendered community would stand for itself, which I am and which it does.
The first rule of Plumcake Fight Club is you don’t kick someone when they’re down. You don’t attack people who are already made vulnerable in society. That’s not what comedy is about and that’s certainly not what I’m about, but that’s what I did. And you know what?
I was wrong.
I was wrong, wrong wrongity wrong and I’m sorry. I had no idea, HAVE no idea, how difficult it must be to feel like you don’t fit in with something so many people take for granted. I just had this teensy little experience –something that’ll be a chapter in a book someday and that I was laughing about 48 hours later– but the rejection and the lack of understanding is something I’ll never forget.
I hope someday as a society we’ll be at the place where we can reclaim the word “tranny” just as we’ve reclaimed “queer” but we’re not there yet, and until we are, the word “tranny” no longer has a place in my vocabulary outside the auto-mechanical realm.