Saturday I attended a wedding in Portland for a friend I’ve known for almost twenty-five years. He and his bride, his parents, his kids, and some people who I’d only known online for over a decade but met for the first time there knew I was trans. It was a small wedding, so I’m reasonably certain most people there knew I was trans. This was the first wedding I’ve attended since my transition.
Other than the groom misgendering me after a few drinks, my correcting him, and him apologizing later, me being trans was a non-issue. I got to wear a pretty dress with some high heels and even gave a brief toast to the couple over a microphone.
In the hours before the event, I was anxious. Doubts began to cloud my thoughts. Could I really pull off this dress? Am I just faking it? What if someone says something rude? Am I going to topple off my heels? Why did I agree to come to this and make a spectacle of myself?
Silly thoughts, all of them, but such is the leech of dysphoria. It feeds silently on doubt until you can’t but help noticing its engorged body. You hesitate to pull it off out of fear you’ll rip off skin with it.
I took a deep breath before I left my hotel room, wrapped in my scarf and clutching my clutch. ‘I can do this. I can do this. I can do this,’ I told myself.
I did. And I had a good time.
The leech only came to feed briefly when I saw the young nieces of the bride, with their up-dos and pretty flowers in their hair, and when I had to walk across the empty dance floor to the bathroom. In the former, it was from wistfulness about a youth I never had. In the latter, it was about having a body that doesn’t move the way I’d like because my hips are the way they are.
After the wedding I changed and went out for drinks with one of the groom’s sons and a couple of those people I’d never met before. We were just people out having drinks after a wedding. Nothing more, nothing less.
Which is exactly where I want to be right now.