This was read at the 2018 New Hampshire Progressive Summit…
Hey everyone how are you?! I’m Chloé LaCasse, the Media Production Coordinator for Rights And Democracy. I’m so excited to to speak with you today!
For those who don’t know me, among other things, I’m transgender. I know crazy right?! Now I don’t go around outing myself like this everyday. Imagine? Hi, I’m transgender, can I have a Venti-moca-cafe with extra foam? “Name on that?” Mario Lomez. Oh Slater I miss you!
And with that, I never know if I’m “passing” or not. Which when you think about it, is a really strange reality to live in. Part of me wants to blend, (as well as a bubbly curly hair blonde in high heels can) yet there’s a part of me that gets a thrill from being seen-seen ya know.
When someone realizes I’m trans they catch a glimpse into a larger world. In my case a posh, positively adorable and engaging one… but more importantly they’re given a chance to see me. Just another person doing their thing. No big deal. And nothing to run out of the Loo over.
Which reminds me. Did you know New Hampshire is a signature away from having transgender nondiscrimination protections?! Give it up for that!
The win couldn’t have been possible without a huge coalition of trans folks and allies who mobilized across the state. We flooding Reps & Senators emails and phones with real stories. And we reached out to our communities and introduced ourselves.
A large part of this outreach consisted of, “Ask A Trans Person Anything” panel discussions. Held across the state, my peers and I spoke with interested parties as we were asked all manner of fun and sometimes emotional questions. Thing like:
When did you know you were trans? Have you faced discrimination? To how did you choose your name? And how has your family dealt with your transition? All Great.
But it was the question, “how has dating and relationships been?” That put my heart in my throat. As I had recently discovered that I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.
I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Hell it sucked dating as a guy. And having taken myself right out of heterosexual dating lanes. I was now driving blindly down what must be one of those converted rail-lines now crappy overgrown bike paths. And I’m traveling WAY TOO FAST.
What’s that phrase? “You Think You Know… But You Have No Idea?” Yeah! It’s worse than that. Anyway so late last year without any warning, or my “permission” mind you; it happened.
We had met briefly before, this time however our paths found us working together. And so we began to talk… And talk, and laugh, and talk some more. Our connection was as instantaneous as it was familiar.
She was absolutely amazing. Witty, beautiful and filled enough snark for a whole village. In every practical sense they were my twin.
We were speaking our own language as if we had known each another our entire lives. She possessed the same humor, likes, dislikes, all of it. We became best friends before dinner had even been served.
I have no idea why, maybe we both just felt safe. Sharing everything we learned about one another so fast. When we were together, I was the perfect version of myself. Completely in sync with the world. There was no yesterday, no tomorrow, there was only those moments we were sharing. And they were bliss.
She kept making idle plans to hang out so we could binge watch this or that, threatening to skip work so we could connect, you name it. I was overwhelmed, but completely on board with any idea she came up with.
So as my breath trembled and my heart two pumps away from covering the room in glitter, I said the words…
Now she had already broken that ice a week earlier, but this time they came from me. I can only guess my proclamation suddenly made it real.
I barely had time to catch my breath as I heard the breaks screech. As if her brain stepped on her heart yelling, “Hey wait! They’re trans! I… I like men. Really masculine men. I’m not gay. Besides how would I explain this to my mom, my dad, my friends!?”
Of course she never articulated it so succinctly mind you, but it was painfully obvious. And as the gender binary came crashing down upon me. The weight of societal programming was stealing her away like the early morning light steals the stars.
We parted ways that afternoon. And you know what happened next… All the conversations… The endless hours talking, uncontrolled giddiness… The laughter and proclamations of future high-jinx… all of it… gone.
I’m truly convinced that if I had come to her as my old self, within that masculine veneer I once adorned… that connection we felt… that electricity… it was leading us to a forgone conclusion.
Alas, in what has to be the most ironic twists of my life. Even though she had fallen for me and the life’s worth of masculinity I had just below the surface, she only saw me as woman. As she calmly said, “Chloe I’m sorry… I can’t. You’re my best girlfriend and that’s what it is.”
There are no words… Believe me I’ve tried. I wrote some of the most eloquent passages of my life after that in an attempt to show her that what we felt need not die. She didn’t have to be afraid.
We found something in one another that so few get to experience. It was different sure, but it need not go away. It was ours and that’s all that mattered. I wanted to be her best girlfriend, her lover, whatever it didn’t matter! I just wanted her stay in my life.
Some time has passed since I last heard her voice. And life has indeed gone on. I’ve transitioned into an incredible new career and the future is bright. Although be lying if I said I didn’t think of her. Finding ourselves caught up in some delicious banter I can hear the laughter, and it still makes me happy.
So to answer your question, “how has dating and relationships been as a trans person?”
Realizing I was transgender was the second biggest epiphany of my life. The biggest was discovering that love was something that I deserved, and that I could actually have. Knowing her for that short time showed me that everything was indeed possible.
In other words… It sucks just the same.
Photo Credit: Unknown ~ Sculpture titled: ‘Love’ by Alexander Milov ~ Burning Man 2015