on march 16th, 2012, i wrote the following e-mail to gunder and lightning, asking if i would be welcome to skate with ILWR. more than just that, it was the first the first time i openly stated my trans*ness/my womanhood to someone i didn’t already know or who wasn’t a medical professional or part of a “group”. and in more ways than i will ever fathom, this single e-mail hugely impacted the course of my second puberty and the trajectory of my life.
and yes, this is verbatim. so please be kind.
it was nice meeting you last night! and def. nice job on the tuneskies, much appreciated (i’ve been to way too many poorly dj’ed dance parties).
i was curious about something i didn’t get a chance to ask last night…is the womens roller derby team still recruiting? and if so, how queer/trans* friendly is it? i’m actually asking for myself…not that it’s very obvious to most people, but i’m actually transfeminine (albeit a rather butchy tranny) and am on hormones (2 months now) etc etc. i’d love to join up if i’d be welcomed…i’ve actually wanted to play for a long time.
a friend of mine (leo, he’s a trans-guy and is on the guys team) was gonna chat with one of his friends on the womens team to ask what their thoughts were about my “situation”, but he’s uber swamped with work stuff right now, so i don’t think has gotten around to it.
anywho, yeah, let me know what you think. i’d be happy to chat with folks on the team to figure out if i would fit in and how to work it out. and i’d be happy to provide any sort of documentation if necessary.
hopefully see you saturday!
ok. i lied. i did not send that as an e-mail to gunder.
no, it was a facebook pm. it just sounds waaaaay better if i say it was an e-mail.
as you can tell from the e-mail, we had just met the night before, when she was dj’ing a dance party. the group i was hanging out with ended up closing the party down [not that hard in ithaca, last call's at 1...] and gunder joined us on a trek to the state st. diner afterwards.
it was mid-march, ILWR had just starting their travel season [gunder was a co-captain for the SufferJets that year] and was about to begin wreck derby, and so gunder was in full-on street-teaming/promotion mode. inevitably, roller derby came up in conversation. but despite the fact that i had already been trying to figure out if i could skate with ILWR, i didn’t seize the opportunity. whompwhomp.
i’m not exactly the most comfortable at putting myself out there in general [hence why i have zero game... it's so bad] and especially about my gender. and up to that point in my life, i had never needed to explain my gender to anyone like how i knew i was going to need to in order to merely ask if i could skate.
“hi, i’m joe. can i join your women’s athletic league?” was not something i was comfortable with saying yet. because i knew then what i know now: when i assert my gender, the vast majority of people are likely going to question it. it’s just a consequence of who i am and how i act: most people don’t “get” my gender, and so there ends up being “a conversation” about it.
i despise “conversations”.
and at that point, i had absolutely no idea what to do with this particular likely “conversation”. no one ever gave me instructions on how to explain to someone why, as an open and proud trans*woman, i’m not a visible [to them] trans*woman. or having to convince someone that yes, in fact, i actually am trans*. [as if that were a thing i would lie about. such weird logic goes through our heads!]
and at the diner, i wasn’t really prepared or in the mood for that “conversation”, and i balked. i missed a golden opportunity.
but thankfully, all was not lost. because the next day was perhaps the most glorious day ever.
i was in the lab eating lunch with lindsay, our lab manager and a good friend of mine [but never anything more...ew, gross], when i mentioned hanging out with gunder the night before and about my thinking about skating but not bringing it up with her. little did i know that lindsay [now shaft'er party] had also wanted to skate for a while, and was just looking for someone to do it with.
in the year since, shaft has been an amazingly supportive and awesome person to skate with [and in general], but that day she did something incredible. somehow she convinced me to get in touch with gunder and straight-up ask. just be upfront about who i am and see what the league says. there is a powerful beauty in simplicity.
in an effort to minimize my [still present] anxieties about the whole situation, i decided e-mail would be best avenue. and so i wrote that gloriously awkward e-mail. [i mean "tuneskies"? really? come on, simonis.]
to say that i was extremely nervous the entire time i was writing it or that i was debilitatingly anxious when i pushed “send” would be gross understatements.
but it happened.
and some pretty awesome stuff has ensued.