Friday after work at the transgender center, I went out with a friend for a drink at a gay bar here in town. I’ve been in there before. It’s a nice bar, but I don’t see much point in frequenting the establishment because (a) I am a mostly special-occasion consumer of alcohol (Friday I had ginger ale) and (b) most of the patrons are cisgender gay men with a sprinkling of cisgender lesbians with no other trans people in sight.
I don’t find being the token trans woman (see? we’re broad minded and progressive!) in an LGB group all that appealing. Been there, done that.
(I have actually heard drag queens (who are almost exclusively cisgender gay men, by the way) brag about how open minded they were because they had a trans woman (gasp!) as part of the lineup for the evening’s entertainment.
Anyway, my friend wanted to sit and drink and talk, but she was nervous about doing it in a straight bar, so off we went. They already knew my friend, who is a frequent patron, was trans and associated with the trans center. Being with her outed me by association, although my purse-carrying would probably have done it as well since that makes it unlikely that I’m lesbian and narrows the possibilities.
(A few years into living full time as me and marinating in the feminizing hormone cocktail, I have on several occasions gotten read as a lipstick lesbian when I was with someone noticeably less femme than I am.)
The bar employees were very nice. They addressed us as “ladies” and could not have been more accommodating. Within living memory, trans people were not allowed in many gay bars, and I think they were making a point that it was OK for us to be there.
I had a couple of interesting exchanges with cisgender gay men at the bar. LGB folks can be as clueless about us as straight people. I think those guys saw the two of us as really, really, really gay men (wrong! so very wrong!) who live in perpetual drag, even though many of us prefer cisgender female partners.
Oh, for the record, I was wearing women’s jeans, a tunic, and ballet flats, not an evening gown, a bouffant wig, and six-inch heels! And I have the same reasons for needing the bra I was wearing as does a cisgender woman.
But it was fun. I might even go back. But I’m ordering soft drinks!