On a side note, why do they insist on closing NYC beaches on Labor Day? It's in the 90s all September. Can we not start accepting global warming in our parks' schedules?
For years I'd looked at other transgender girls' pictures on the internet. I'd be amazed that they managed to go out in public or managed to hang out with friends just casually at a restaurant or something. Then when I had been out about and with friends like normal routine I started being amazed that some transgender girls were hanging out on the beach like it was nothing. The beach, for me, has always represented something of a level-up (to use a gaming metaphor).
This is apparently the key to my transition:
- See Transgender woman do awesome thing
- Get insanely jealous.
- Wait two years.
- Copy her!
It's worked thus far. All I needed for the beach was some decent weekend weather.
All week we watched the weather forecasts. At first it was supposed to rain, then it was supposed to be cloudy, then it was supposed to rain again. Then low and behold, the weather gods were with us and it was clear on the weekend! Woo hoo! I was actually, finally, going to get to girl up on the beach!
On Sunday we hopped on the train and headed out to Rockaway. The last time we were there it was almost empty. On that day last summer we and our friends seemed to be about the only people on the beach. I was hoping for that again. The idea of a super insanely crowded beach like Jones or Coney Island scared me. I wanted as few people on the beach as possible. The fewer people there the less chance I'd have of getting weird looks or having someone make a comment indented for me and everyone else to overhear.
The beach was crowded. It was crazy crowded. It's been a hot, humid August and I guess we were not the only ones looking to cool down a free public beach. We found a spot, put our blanket and other items out. No one seemed to be paying me any attention at all. That made me feel a lot better. So, I stripped down, taking off my jean shorts and shirt I'd worn over my tankini. Thus far it was all good. No one was paying any attention to me. That's exactly how I like it.
There were a couple things that helped me at the beach. Maybe I'll expand my How-To Guide page with a special "How to Not be Noticed on the Beach" section. It's easy. First off, make sure that two topless women sit down and take the spot next to you. That helps quite a bit. Secondly, be sure and get your partner to bring her mermaid tail.
|Pictured: Invisible transgender girl.|
|They might as well have a picture of a transgender woman on the box.|
The ultimate test though was whether it was really water proof. At first I was rather hesitant to try it. Even though I had brought along a couple extra strips of tape in my bag, the idea of having to run to the public restroom and stand there in the stall trying to retape myself did not appeal to me. But, with the August sun beating down heavily on me, the cool waters of the Atlantic ocean kept calling out to me. Plus my partner had gone for a long dip and talked about how great it felt to be in the water. So, I figured, why the hell not? If worse to worst I could tie a towel around my waist. Let's go swimming!
Yep, I went in. Up to my knees. Up to my thighs. Up to my waist. It was cold and refreshing and after a bit I was right up to my boobs. I was boob deep in the Atlantic ocean. It felt so nice. Since it was underwater and out of view, I did a quick check on my tuck just by feel and it was holding. I wanted to dunk under but in a wig that was a bad idea. Luckily though, I figured out that I could face the waves and let them come toward me. Then at the last minute, I could turn my back to the wave and let it break over my shoulders.
Okay, I did end up having a couple difficulties. A couple of times my bottoms got pulled down by the water, but not too far. Thankfully I had some serious tape to help me avoid any embarrassment. And it was all underwater so no one could notice. My wig didn't get pulled off, but a particularly strong breaker did knock my hat off. And despite my attempts to keep my makeup good and pristine there was quite a bit of splash around with the waves. In the end I got a good amount of water on my face and did some serious damage to my makeup. So I survived the water with my feminine look more or less intact.
Well, more or less intact. After our serious swimming, we packed up our stuff and headed to the bar. I was soaked from head to toe, covered in sand and feeling utterly gross all over. Though inside I felt utterly rapturous and elated. I'd been to the beach! I'd worn a tankini out in public! I'd been swimming as a girl! I felt like I had jumped up so many levels in my transgender status. And maybe even earned a little more trans street cred.
We hit a bar nearby, one of our favorites, a little Irish pub, with a fantastic and refreshing selection of frozen drinks like strawberry lemonade and pina coladas. It was so nice to get in the shade (especially for pale girls like my partner and I) and be able to chill out with a nice intoxicating beverage. It was perfect. Plus, I was able to duck into the bathroom and clean myself up a little bit.
There were public restrooms at the beach but I'd skipped those. The idea of trying to get changed and cleaned up when there's an inch of cold, sandy saltwater mixed with God knows what on the floor and small children screaming. No thank you. Though the bar bathroom wasn't single use (I really wanted to some privacy but ah well) it was a thousand times better. So I was able to fix my hair and touch up my makeup just enough that I wouldn't look like a boy. At least laser has erased my beard to the point where I could lose the makeup and still be okay.
As we waited for the subway so we could start our long train ride home, I snapped a couple selfies just to see how I was looking. Surprisingly, I felt I still looked okay. My hat was soaking wet, my wig was basically wrecked but still looking okay, and though my make was basically gone, I still looked okay. Basically. I've looked better.
A good angle and the right Instagram filter really helps.
I'd done the beach! I'd had a wonderful time. I'd fit in and felt completely normal. No one gave me weird looks. No one made mean comments. No villagers with pitchforks and torches chased me away. I felt fantastic. I felt beautiful and courageous. And I was exhausted and sunburned and ready to go home and take a long shower to try and get all the sand washed away.
And also here's a podcast I made about my fun beach adventure. Check it out!