Thursday, May 16, 2013

A look at my Other Half

I live in Ohio. Middle America USA. Sure it has it's drawbacks and it's strengths.  I'm over 60 and causcasian and transgender.  Many love to hate on me because I supposedly lived male privilege to the max and now I'm trying to change.

Regardless of all of that I do not know how young transgender women of color live. The women whose names all too often show up in the news as the victims of extreme violence. The closest I have come in person was a young trans girl I met in person who was originally from Detroit, migrated to the west coast and in her own words spent some "fun" nights in Los Angeles's "tranny jail". Toss a heroin addiction on top of all of that and here she was standing in front of me...proud as hell. Wow! I was impressed and told her so but then again words are cheap.

Recently Out News & Opinion presented a fantastic look at how my other half lives in an area I know A little about since I lived in the NYC area several years ago:

"Transgender immigrants flock to Jackson Heights in pursuit of a dream. Prostitution, drugs, and violence trap the unwary. Chadwick Moore spent three months with the girls to find out why they still come. Photography by Kevin Amato Arena’s been at it for three years. It’s nearly midnight on a frigid Thursday in January. She looks like someone’s daughter awaiting a ride to the mall, sitting perpendicularly on her twin-size bed with her back against the wall and her size 11 feet dangling over the edge. Her pink sheets are patterned with Betty Boop lip prints. In about four hours Arena will hit the streets, which she hates doing. It’s dangerous and lowly, but no clients have called today. Arena is Spanish for “sand.” Tonight she’s nostalgic. “I was in Indiana when I began the transition with hormones,” she says. The change occurred quickly and caught her off-guard. One afternoon she passed a mirror and became tearful. “I thought, Oh my god, I look just like my mother.” It was the happiest moment of her life. Arena’s V-neck shirt betrays a rash spreading over her torso -- large, red abscesses that look concerning -- but she likes this shirt because it buoys her modest cleavage. And this cleavage is what brought Arena to Queens and funneled her into the sex trade. Once she makes enough money for breast implants, she’s out of here. She’s not built for city life -- she downright hates it. It’s apparent in her hypnotic gentleness. She moves like a shy teenage girl adjusting to a sudden growth spurt. Her face is soft and round, her gaze thoughtful and submissive, and small patches of acne kiss each cheek. Her eyes periodically meet mine, and I wonder how much of her coquettish innocence is calculated."

This is a long post with many pictures and you can visit it here.

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