And what am I going to do?
I didn’t do anything over the weekend to celebrate the Fourth of July, which is odd because it’s one of the few holidays that I actually like. Of course. This was the day, 240 years ago, that we declared independence from the British Empire. As an anarchist, I stand in favor of that. But I didn’t do anything.
My family had no cookout, and even if they had, I wouldn’t have been able to go, not really, because it’s the weekend–and, during the weekends, I spend as little time as a male as possible. The last time I went out to my grandmother’s my dad pulled me aside and told me not to come back out there with black fingernail polish on anyway, which just adds to the list of things I’d have to do if I wanted to go out there. But we didn’t have one anyway.
My sister occasionally does such things, because she’s trying to step up to fill my grandmother’s role in the event of my grandmother’s inevitable death. It’s always my grandmother’s that we go to, for family shit, and my sister badly wants her house to be the nexus when my grandmother dies. But it’s not going to happen, for a few reasons–the most important is that family unity dies with my grandmother. There’s no chance of my my dad’s brother and wife coming out to my sister’s for a Thanksgiving or Christmas thing, and if they do, they’d only stop by for a minute on their way somewhere else. And then the next year, they’d stop by for a few minutes less, and then they’ll stop coming altogether.
Of course, I’ll be long gone by then. Not just because I’ll have moved, but because I’m transgender and simply won’t be welcome there–end of story. I’ve addressed it several times, but here, one more time, is my sister’s long reply when I finally broke down and was honest with her about me being transgender and how I wasn’t going to continue to hide it:
But the real reason that no one in our family did anything is that everyone is broke. My sister still hasn’t found a replacement job from when she unwisely quit her job as a bartender from the Diamond Lounge at the Horseshoe, where she made about $600 a week in tips alone, and received a full wage. And she’s not going to, because for 9 years she worked as a bartender; it’s the only thing she knows.
The county we live in is an honest-to-god dry county. I invite you to ponder how many bartending opportunities are available here. The only real opportunities were at the casino, and they demonstrably prefer hiring 21 year old women, not 31 year old women. While they’ve enough lawyers to ensure they are never called out on this, it’s certainly true. And, even so, they’d rather hire someone who went to bartending school, and my sister did not–she was a cocktail waitress who was “promoted” to a bartender.
She cooked her own goose, as it were, and everyone warned her not to do it. However, her husband and father of their newly born 3 month old child, threatened to leave her if she went back to work at the casino, so she quit the day that she was supposed to return from FMLA. I don’t blame her for that, because she had a really shitty choice to make: let her husband leave when she knew she couldn’t pay the bills, or quit her job when she knew that he couldn’t pay the bills. And he hasn’t. Much as I have been, they’ve been treading water through the last year, except they’ve had to borrow money almost constantly to make it, and they are months behind on their house note with foreclosure inevitable. There is a reason why, last July when my sister quit and I was still living there, that I immediately contacted my uncle and asked him to rent me the one bedroom apartment that my dad and I had lived in–because everyone who knew the situation knew that the Sword of Damocles hung over her head. I’m surprised they’ve made it this long, but I don’t think they’ll make it much further.
What few friends actually would have done something for the holiday would not have invited me, because they don’t want to ask the question, and they don’t want to say it.
“Would you be coming as Aria, or as a guy…?” is the question they don’t want to ask, but it’s also a question that they must ask, because…
“You can’t come here as Aria,” is the thing they don’t want to say.
Which is something I allow from them simply because I don’t have other friends. How could I? These are the tolerant Mississippians; these are the open “I don’t give a shit what people do” Mississippians.
And though the reality is that they don’t care, they also wouldn’t be the only people at these parties, and it’s simply true that… “My wife’s brother would spend the whole night mocking you, and he might even threaten you and attack you.” “Someone would bring a friend of a friend, or a date with them, and they’d find out, and chaos would ensue.” “My parents would leave as soon as they found out. You can’t ask me to choose between having you at my party and having my parents there.”
That’s the reality of Mississippi–the same reason that it would be mostly ineffective for any of them to share my GoFundMe campaign. Not only would inviting me to their party probably put me directly in danger, but it would force them to stand up and take a side–and not everyone is willing to do that. Not everyone is willing to face that situation where your brother-in-law is threatening your transgender friend.
So I did nothing for the holiday except think about all the things that I will do next year when I am in Vegas, living free, living securely, and without danger constantly hanging over my head about someone’s brother-in-law, a friend of a friend, and other shit like that. I thought about how next year I will be hosting the party with all the friends I make quickly and easily by hitting up local LGBT clubs and hotspots, of being a fascinating and interesting person to hang out with. I thought about how I will be telling people, “Hey–if you’ve got a fucking problem, you can leave” if they mouth off to a straight friend, a transgender friend, a gay friend, or any other friend.
I thought about how I’ll surely have Dancing in Hellfire published by then, and how I’ll be making bigger and better videos on Youtube, possibly writing for mises.org. Maybe I’ll even have finished Steam Greenlight & Anarchy by then.
I thought about how I’ll be looking back on this day and being shocked by how desensitized I was to how much Mississippi truly sucks–in the same way that we become desensitized to everything. It’s amazing what a person can accept as normal simply because they see it everyday. I thought about how that would probably be my last post to the GoFundMe campaign–a picture of me in my new home, surrounded by friends and not worried that someone’s brother-in-law is going to start shit with me because he “don’t like them queers and transsexyals.”
That would be fitting, I think.