Monday, June 4, 2018

The Queerlphabet

It's Pride Season! Yay for Pride! But, I also thought this was as good as time as any to talk about the identity problem that LGBTQAI+ people have. And that problem is that we don't have any good way to refer to our selves. LGBTQAI+ is kinda clumsy. Worse, it doesn't even include everyone! Where are the aegender and non-binary people for instance? Are they supposed to be under queer? Won't that bother people who identify solely as queer? And what about the flag? Sure it's a rainbow, but it represents gay people. What about straight transgender people? Are they included in that rainbow?

So yeah, there's quite the issue. We want to be inclusive, as inclusive as possible, because we are all in the same fight and facing many of the same issues. So let's tackle this name issue first. Let's dissect LGBTAI+. What do those letters stand for? Who do they include? Here it is broken down:

  • L for lesbian
  • G for gay
  • B for bisexual
  • T for transgender
  • Q for queer
  • A for aesexual
  • I for intersex
  • + for everyone else we haven't mentioned yet. 
Okay, so as I said this is clumsy. It doesn't work as an acronym. Because it's so clumsy, it's generally shortened in regular use. But that leaves more people out. There have been a few attempts to make this more user-friendly. One commonly proposed idea is shuffling these letters around to make the pronounceable word QILTBAG, generally pronounced as "kwilt-bag" and not as "kilt-bag." Though, to be fair you could use either. This has one major issue in that no one every calls anyone an anything bag in a positive way. There's shit bags and douche bags, but no helpful bags or smart bags. So, I'm not a big fan of QILTBAG.

To maybe help come up with an alternative, I first started by adding some new letters in. We need really need new letters. So the ones I came up with include: 

  • E for exploring. Many of us in the pride world spend a while in this exploring phase before figuring out who we really are. 
  • N for nonbinary because you can't leave out non-binary and they should have been included earlier.  
  • U for unsure. This is fairly similar to exploring. But I really needed a U to go with that Q. Scrabble players will understand. 
With these new additions the best thing I could come up with was BAGELQUINT. Now, while this does conjure up a fun image of the famed Dionne quintuplets eating New York's signature boiled bread breakfast, it's not a great word. BAGELQUINT is not a term around one can enthusiastically rally. In my opinion it's way better than QILTBAG, but that's not saying much. 

So, if these letters are never going to spell anything really good, then maybe we should ditch the initialisms and acronyms and just come up with a new term that's fully inclusive of everyone. Historically queer has been this word and I have used it this way too sometimes. But, like we said previously, people who identify queer might not like their specific term being hijacked to describe everyone. Thus, I spent a little it of time trying to come up with a singular word to describe our diverse community. 

Some of the ideas I came up with are Spectra, which is the plural of spectrum. Rainbows are made up of the visible spectrum and so we are all many spectra. Spectra. I like it. It does have the slight issue of being similar to specter which is creepy and spooky. When I try and think up new terms, I do like many a Westerner and look back to Latin and Greek. But I thought it would be more interesting and inclusive to look at some non-Western words. Avana is the Malagasy word for rainbow. I really like Avana. Then I thought let's be really universal and look to the artificial language Esperanto. Senti is the Esperanto word for "to feel." But, I think Avana is my favorite. The Avana community. I'm Avana. Let's go to Avana pride!

Beyond our name, there's also the issue of the flag. There's the familiar rainbow flag of course.

But do any tiny bit of research on the internet and you'll discover that there are many, many, many more pride flags. You've probably seen me fly a transgender pride flag a few times. But there so many more than just these two. Here's a helpful infographic someone made:  

That's a lot of flags. And while vexillologists might different designs, it also makes it a little harder for the Avana community (#AvanaPride) to rally around one symbol. So, being a bit of an amateur vexillologist myself, I decided to design my own Avana Pride flag for our entire community. Here's the first design I came up with:

This design takes all the colors from all the flags and puts them all in one symbol. It's on a white background because it's already fairly colorful and also because I didn't want to offend any one group by making someone else's color the "main" color while there's was relegated to the circle. Okay, this is a little plain. I don't love it. So I set about making some modifications to snaz it up a bit.

This new design fills up the image field by duplicating the main circle multiple times. But, while I kinda like this, I have to admit it's way too busy. So I went back to the simpler circle and tried to think of ways to change it up a little.

This is an alternate of the one above, but blurry to help show that all the different colors really can and do overlap. I, for an example, am transgender and gay, so I'm a mix of two flags. There are also intersex people who identify as intersex, transgender, and gay. It can get complicated and so this wheel lets it all get a bit blurry. Because life is blurry. But still it's kind of a simple design. back to the drawing board. 

Here's an attempt to add another design element to help fill up all that white. I chose a pink bar because historically pink has been the color associated with the gay rights movement. I also added 1969 in recognition of the Stonewall Riots. But then I realized this is rather an American design. Sure, Stonewall kicked off the American gay rights movement. But what if you're French or Guatemalan or something? Your own country has it's own history. Plus pink has its connotations because the Nazis made gay prisoners wear pink triangles. And do we really want to stick with a color the Nazi's assigned us? But that got me thinking.
This flag includes the pink triangle in honor of all those who have suffered for being Avana. But to balance that I also included the equality symbol. Thus the pink triangle represents past struggles, pain, repression, and deaths, while the equality symbol represents our more hopeful future where we have full equality. The is still a little too simple for me though.

The above design is my favorite. It involves the blurry wheel of flags, the symbols representing our past and our future, and a different color pink bar to help unify the design. I'm not sure what the bar represents, but let's say it's unity since it unifies the three design elements. So, we have one flag with all of us. It features symbols for our past, our present, our people, and our unity.

Happy Avana Pride everyone!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Modelling Pics

While I have yet to get any professional modeling or acting gigs (despite two auditions and one callback), the photographer who did my head shots sent me a ton of the pictures from the shoot I did with him. Now, I don't love them all. Quite frankly I'm still a little annoyed that he kept making me put my hair out of my face. Dang it, man! I like my hair in my face. Otherwise I look like I have a giant pumpkin for a head. Ah well. Despite this there were some beautiful shots. So I thought I would share some of my favorites. 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Gender Rebels Podcast: Intersex Lives

Also big news! The Gender Rebels 100th Episode is only two weeks away. Be sure and tune in for our Super Extra Super Special Event!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Going Goth Again (Regothulating)

When you're in your teens or early twenties your life options are often limited. You're broke, you often have adults in your life telling you what to do, and you feel out of place. So it's no wonder that a lot of people in that age group are drawn to subcultures. I found myself drawn first to punk and then to goth.

In my suburban town there were a good number of us dissected young punks, goths, and others. Maybe there were seventy of us total. Maybe. We all hung out in a dilapidated downtown where at one intersection stood a coffee shop, a a tiny punk rock venue, and a record store. It was our space and our spot. Every Friday and Saturday I'd be down at 8th Street, as we called it. 

Every time I hung out there I remember always feeling jealous of what the girls wore. They had short plaid skirts, fishnet stockings, cool boots with tons of buckles, garter belts, thigh highs, and wonderfully dark makeup with loads of black eyeliner. I longed to be one of them. But it was the 90s and I didn't think it were possible. 

And so, when I moved to NYC after college I finally started presenting female whenever I wanted. Able to express myself however I wanted, my style naturally went towards the goth/punk/cyber style. On Myspace I was friend with tons of alternative models, fetish models, and Suicide Girls. I finally got my own boots with tons of buckles. I finally had my own fishnets. I finally had my own short plaid skirts. I could go as crazy with the black eyeliner as I wanted. It was fun. 

But, when I started getting older, into my late twenties and early thirties being goth started to seem juvenile to me. I began to associate it with those younger years of my life. At that time I was struggling to try and take myself seriously as an adult. Adults had careers. They wore business casual clothes. They didn't shop at Trash & Vaudeville. If you wanted people to take you seriously you threw away your fishnets. So I did. 

In fact, when I started full time my wardrobe was downright mousy librarian; cardigans, business skirts, clothes with flowers on them. My clothes even had colors like beige, red, and green. And it was fine. I was an adult. I was adulting. Adults in a business setting dress in a boring way. Because being an adult is boring, right? It's all about work, 401Ks, and ensuring that your kids get to soccer ballet on time. 

But now I'm in my late thirties. And I've come to realize that being goth and punk wasn't a phase for me. No, being a serious adult was the phase. Careers, jobs, none of this has ever really interested me. Yes, of course I have a job. It's not like I would ever want to be a gutter punk or anything. But to me a job has always been a means to an end. It's a way to make cash so I can enjoy the non-work parts of my life. I don't ever want my job to be my identity. Unless I happen to get hired as some sort of space spy. Is that a real job? 

So I've decided that it's okay to go goth again. Now I don't have to go too crazy. Most days I'm still going to dress for work. But when I need new work clothes I'm going to go for all black. I'll add some nice gothy jewelry and accessories. And I'll do my makeup just a tiny bit gothy. And on the weekends I can go full darkness. But that doesn't mean you can't still be silly. 

So now I'm trying to find a new style; subtle goth. It's kind of like the business goth style I discussed a while back. I've purchased some new stuff like my killer Demonia leopard boots and I'm not going to shy away from the style that makes me feel good. Life is short. You shouldn't spend it trying to be something you're not. Which is why I love embracing the goth girl I've always known I was. 

Friday, April 27, 2018

First Photo Shoot (A Preview)

A you may have read, I recently signed with a modelling agency. But, in order to get cast I needed head shots. Not sure where exactly to get head shots (even though there are ads stapled up to street light poles all throughout the East Village), I went with one of the photographers that my agency recommended.

Now, I've been in a few photos before, but in general they were taken by me or a friend or partner. I am not, despite some Instagram evidence to the contrary, an experienced model. The photographer had an option of head shots for $200 or three or four looks for $325. What's a "look?" I had to look that up. It just means hair, makeup, or outfit change. The four looks option seemed like the best since I wanted something more than just head shots.

The week before the shoot, the photographer emailed me a list of outfit types to bring; solid tops for the head shots, a cocktail dress, two more casual brunch type outfits, sporty workout clothes, and a good variety of heels, sandals, and sneakers. The night before I tried on a bunch of outfits and did a little fashion show for Kath. Thankfully it wasn't too hard as I have a closet full of plenty of fun choices.

So that I could look my best, I made an appointment to get my makeup done at Sephora. They have a deal where you can get a free makeover if you spend $50. At Sephora that's like one thing, so I figured I would get an Urban Decay palette. I love the Urban Decay Electric palette that I have. It's wonderful; bright, colorful, and super high pigmented.

The artist who did my makeup used a special light meter or something to read my skin tone in order to pick out the foundation. What she ended up using was wonderful. For years I've used Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse. While effective, it is pretty heavy. But I loved what she used so I picked up a bottle of that. It's better than Maybelline but at $50 a bottle, I'm not sure if I'm quite ready to replace mine just yet. Beyond that she did a really light, no makeup look and I loved it. My brows have honestly never looked better. And it was a lot of fun. The next time I want to buy some fancy makeup, I'll just get the free makeover why not?

Though I was at least a little bit worried going over to a strange guy's apartment (like anyone should be!), the photographer turned out to be super friendly and nice. I didn't get robbed or murdered. So that's good. The photographer had a small studio set up in his apartment with his bathroom as the changing room. First, we looked through all of the clothes what I had brought. Picking out a dark green tank top, he suggested that we do head shots first. I had actually brought the tank for a workout look, but clothes are clothes I guess.

I had brought a wig along that I thought looked too curly and big, almost like big Eighties hair you'd expect see matched with some shoulder pads on the set of Dynasty or something. But, it's not too bad if I keep it clipped in the back. Unfortunately, the photographer wanted it unclipped. And even worse, he kept wanting to push it out of my face. I happen to love having hair to frame my face. It keeps my face from looking like a giant round Charlie Brown head. But, I went with what he wanted. After all, I didn't want to spend $325.00 to get unusable photos. This guy knew head shots and plus he knew what my agency wanted as well. So, we got some giant pumpkin head photos.

There were actually a couple fun new photography tips I learned from him. Firstly, he told me to keep my mouth just barely open in the shots. Apparently closed mouths don't look as good. It reminded me of something I once learned on a Muppet documentary; Muppets keep their mouths open just slightly when not talking in order to look more alive. Guess it works for people too. Plus the photographer told me to move my forehead and chin out in one motion. He said it would feel like doing a turtle impression but would make your jawline and neck look better. I like good jaw lines, so I happily agreed. Also, he had me do 3/4 shots rather than straight on. Apparently, my left side is my better side. I didn't know this. It's good to know.

After about forty five minutes of head shots, he recognized the studio setup, and we moved on to some other outfits for full body shots. First up we did my black Guess cocktail dress with my favorite heels. He gave me a lot of direction to create negative space with my body. This went against my natural inclination to make myself small and compact with my legs together. But, he explained that negative space makes you look better and thinner. So I did a leg up, hand on my hip, one leg sticking out at the knee, and lots of other poses to create negative space around my body. I mean, who doesn't want to look thinner right?

After that I switched into a my red, black, and white patterned dress. I had wanted to keep wearing my Coach heels, but the photographer suggested that we switch to my regular black heels for some variety. Getting photographed for me was quite fun and I thoroughly enjoyed getting directions and following them. It made me feel like a professional model. I jumped, I posed, and I even pretended to take selfies.

After we got a few hundred full body shots, we proceeded to head outside to get some lifestyle photos. It made me happy to hear that my agent had actually reached out to the photographer to specifically request lifestyle shots. It made me feel like they actually cared and wanted me to succeed. Of course, they don't get paid unless I get paid, so I guess it makes sense.

We started by walking around Manhattan's Upper West Side as the photographer tried to spot suitably grungy backgrounds with good light. We were busy shooting in a doorway when an drunken asshole came up. He tried to get in the pictures with me. Then when the photographer asked him to leave, the drunk said "I want a picture with the transvestite."

Fucker. I looked damn good. The last thing I was expecting was to be clocked! But I think the issue was that the photo shoot was drawing too much attention to me. Plus with heels I'm like 6'3". Still, I don't ever want to get clocked. It's awful and makes me feel like I'll never pass in a million years. I start to wonder if maybe everyone clocks me all the time but they're just too polite to say anything. Sigh.

Our last shots were actually taken on the grounds of the Natural History Museum. There are some tables on a terrace and the photographer wanted to get some shots of me just casually hanging out there. He brought his laptop and an empty coffee cup like I was just enjoying a nice cup of a coffee while working on my laptop. He kept telling me to type on the laptop. But that's something that's always bugged me in movies. People don't type that often on computers. They use the mouse pad. But, he wanted typing so I typed. And I had to struggle to not take a sip of coffee out of habit! 

The whole time the photographer was worried about getting kicked out since apparently you need permission for commercial photography. Thankfully no one spotted us so we didn't have to run from the security guards. Though that might have made for some fun lifestyle shots, right? 

As I packed up my stuff, the photographer let me take a look at his iPad where he had downloaded some of the pics from his camera. That's where I got the photos for this blog post. I literally used my phone to take photos of his iPad. Hence why a few of them have some distortion and lines. He said it would take a week for him to get me the pictures. Then I can pick my favorite fifty to seventy photos. He'll pick some of his favorites, then send them all to the agency. Then they'll decide which ones will end up on my profile and on my comp cards. I'm super excited to see them all. 

After four hours of modelling, I am not kidding when I saw that I was exhausted. Modelling is work. It really is. The next day myy back and muscles were sore from stretching into various poses. But it was super fun and I look forward to my next photo shoot. Hopefully I'll get paid for that one. :) 

Gender Rebels Podcast: Am I a Chaser?

Friday, April 13, 2018

Signing a Modelling Contract

Yes, it is official. I am an agency-signed model. Of course, other than my signature on that contract, not much as changed. Okay, maybe a little has changed. I can now jokingly brag to my partner Kath about how I'm a model. As in "Maybe I'll get salad with my bacon cheeseburger. I am mean, I am a professional model." Plus today I am going on my first call back. And I've got some head shots scheduled for next week. But otherwise, not much has changed.

This all happened because of my Instagram account (and I do recommend that you follow me on Instagram). An agency reached out to me because they were looking for models for an HIV-related ad. It looked legit and they pay was really good. But, I only had like two days notice and the shoot was in LA so I wasn't going to be able to do that one. Later though, the agency reached out to me again. This time they asked if I would be interested in doing any other work like that. Of course I said yes. I love being photographed. They asked me to come in and meet with them.

Okay, so at this point, I'm thinking what you're probably thinking. Isn't this a really common scam? It is. In fact it's so common that the Federal Trade Commission has their own consumer information page about the scam. As I tend to be a big believer in the concept that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. So naturally my grifter alert went off. First I googled the agency and they had a pretty legit looking website. But then again, it's easy to create a shiny website. But, I figured, I would go meet with them and keep my eyes out for any common scam tactics; upfront fees, having to use specific photographers, being given a hard sale or a deadline, being promised the world.

So, I went and met with them. I was terrified that they would see me, the real me, with no Instagram filters or carefully chosen angles, and laugh in my average face. I can be pretty. But I am not pretty. At first they made me sit and wait, but that gave me an opportunity to listen to some of the chit chat and banter around the office. Either they were pulling a serious Sting-type storefront scam or they were legit. They were talking about various bookings and for major companies. I had with me a flash drive of pictures. They had asked me to bring that in so I had culled through my thousands of pictures for the best thirty.

Then, I sat down with my main contact who had me answer at least a hundred questions. Some were obvious modelling related questions; shoe size, pants size, dress size, height, weight, eye color. Others were about my background, accents I could, skills that I had. Well, I'm pretty good at accents, and have done stand up and improv, so there's that. Then she took my flash drive and began going through my pictures. Immediately she asked if one was recent. I said no, and she replied that she was only looking for recent shots. She copied a few to her computer, where she had created a folder with my name.

I learned that there were multiple types of models; plus, life style, fitness, runway, fashion, etc. This agency specialized in some of the less common types. Hence, why they didn't mind that I was a slightly out of shape, thirty-eight-year-old. That made me feel a little better. I guess it makes sense because you're not gonna get Lily Cole to be in a blender ad. Unless it's a really expensive blender. Sometimes you need an average looking person for a shoot. And maybe that average looking person could be me.

Up next she told me that she couldn't guarantee me any work. Her agency got a few calls seeking transgender models. They didn't have any, but wanted to change that. After all, you don't want to ever say no to a company or they'll start finding another agency to call. So, they wanted me in their fold as a transwoman model. That worked for me. So, they did a couple head shots and picked one that would work well enough. I didn't like it but I kind of got the idea that my opinion didn't matter so much. They recommended getting my own shots so I could pick the ones I liked best. She said they would send me some photographers or I could use my own.

Next, the main lady said "Since we can't really guarantee you work, we'll get you a two year non-exclusive contract." And then she thanked me and took off for her next task of the day. I read the contract thoroughly, signed it, and handed it off to one of the lady's underlings. I was an agency signed model. Yay!

So, I still haven't done any work yet, but as I mentioned, I have a call back today, so that's good. I'm not hoping for too much. Maybe I'll have some fun, maybe I'll make a little extra cash, or maybe nothing will happen. But, I've been trying to schedule head shots with one of the photographers that the agency recommended. We were going to do it last weekend, but NYC was hit with a last minute winter storm. The photographer emailed me to cancel, saying that the agency wanted to do some outdoor, lifestyle shots and we wouldn't be able to do those if it snowed. So, at least my agency is slightly interested in me. That makes me feel better.

Well, wish me luck on this call back. Hopefully I'll be able to land a job a two.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Lady Bird: A Transgender Girl's Thoughts

When watching Moonrise Kingdom recently my partner noted how much the character of Suzi reminded her of me. She said she could image that if I had been cis I would have been like her when I was twelve. Suzi loves music, her cat, and loves to read. She is also rebellious and has trouble behaving and fitting in. She's a misfit. So like me in many ways.

That conversation reminded me of my first viewing of Lady Bird. After watching the trailer, I bought tickets for the first ever public screening of the movie. This is because my absolute favorite genre of film is independent drama/comedies with female protagonist. Plus I love Greta Gerwig's writing and actress Saoirse Ronan. Because we were the first to see Lady Bird, we even got to take marketing surveys.

Lady Bird tells the story of Christine "Lady Bird" McPherson, a high school student growing up in Sacramento, California where she attends an all-girl Catholic school. While she dreams of one day moving away to somewhere exciting like New York City, her family's money struggles make this unlikely. This is only one source of conflict between Lady Bird and her mother, a nurse who is constantly working hard to provide for the family. The film follows Lady Bird as she navigates her senior year of high school and a deteriorating relationship with her mother.

Even on first viewing, I loved Lady Bird.  It was the movie that let me, for a brief moment, get a glimpse of what my teenage years would have been like had my chromosomes not screwed me over. The character of Lady Bird is much like teenage me in so many ways that watching it was almost eerie. I grew up in the boring town of Augusta, GA and dreamed of one day moving away to somewhere more exciting. During my teen years my family was struggling with money and I was often in conflict with my own mother. Beyond that, Lady Bird's own personality, her style of teenage rebellion, and the way she handles school, dating, friends, and family was quite remarkably similar to how I was during those tumultuous years. As a transgender woman who never got to experience my teens as a girl, Lady Bird gave me a glimpse into what that might have looked like had I been cis.

When we first meet Lady Bird she's in the middle of an on-going argument with her mom about college. The two had just finished a visit to check out the nearby State school where tuituion will be affordable for the cash-strapped family. This is abhorrent to Lady Bird. None of this is what she wants. She wants to go to public school instead of Catholic school. And she wants nothing more than to be done with high school so she can get out of her boring hometown and go somewhere exciting.

One of my most common arguments with my parents involved my religious schooling. I wanted nothing more than to go to public school like regular people did. My senior year was filled, not with bittersweet nostalgia like so many of my classmates, but with an inscescant itch to get the heck out of high school so I could leave "Disgusta," Georgia and could go somewhere more exciting. For Lady Bird it was New York and its culture, and for me it was Athens, Georgia and its music scene.

The movie kicks off at the beginning of the school year, Lady Bird's senior year. She has been sent to the principal's office in response to her campaign for student council president. A perennial losing candidate, Lady Bird's campaign is mostly a way to show off her weirdness so she can stand apart from the other students. Her campaign posters are bizarre and I can't help but be reminded of my own weird student council runs. Like Lady Bird, I often found myself in the principal's office to explain my not-quite-against-the-rules antics. While my posters didn't consist of googly eyed lady birds or birds with human heads, they did have drawings of winged bowling balls and penguins dancing with spoons.

Being a teenager is really hard. What makes is even harder is that no one tells you how to do it. When you're slightly weird and don't fit in well the other kids can be brutally merciless. You can either emulate the popular kids and aspire to be one of them, you can be hopelessly out of touch with cool, or you can rebel against everything popular and embrace your weird side. You can forge your own identity that says to the popular kids "You're not so great. I don't even want to sit at your lunch table." You feel like you have nothing but your own weirdness to set you apart so you embrace it as a way to cope. Lady Bird portrayed this perfectly.

Of course Lady Bird, like all teens, is not immune to the allure of popularity. When her brash attitude and penchant for getting in trouble catch the eye of the school's richest, prettiest, most popular girl, Lady Bird takes the opportunity to lie about her family's income so she can work her way into the popular crowd. Ultimately though, she realizes that she doesn't feel at home with the popular kids and rejects them, preferring to go back to her true best friend back in the unpopular camp.

Lady Bird is, like many a frustrated teenager, rebellious. But she's not a bad kid either. We see her shoplift a magazine, smoke cloves, cigarettes, and pot, and drink. She also steals a teacher's grade book to help cheat in math class. She lies, she fights with her parents, but she's not really bad. They're all pretty normal teen actives. What I most loved about this was that Greta Gerwig managed to capture just the right level of rebelliousness and badassery.

Like Lady Bird, I wasn't a bad kid, though I did rebel plenty. But it was also mostly in normal teenage ways. I smoked cigarettes and cloves (it was the Nineties, cloves were a thing), drank but not too often, cheated in school but not too often, fought with my parents, and the only drug I ever touched was pot. It's so rare that a film captures just the right level of teenage rebellion. So often teenage rebels are depicted as truly bad kids who live to break every rule. But most teens aren't like that. Lady Bird is realistically badass. She rebels not because she's bad, but because she's frustrated by rules, by her parents, by her own struggles with school, and by her family's working class situation.

Money is something that's always on the mind of Lady Bird's mom. And she never let's Lady Bird forget that the family is on a budget and having trouble making ends meet. The family's economic situation is a constant source of tension. Her mom won't let Lady Bird go to an East Coast school because local schools are more affordable. Lady Bird's mom has taken it upon herself to be the disciplinarian and hard ass in the family, something she does with loads of guilt-inducing, passive aggressive comments about Lady Bird's work ethic, appearance, habits, and friends.

As I grew up in a family that was struggling with money, I find this easily relatable. My own mom took on the exact same role and never let up with passive agressive criticisms or attempts to make my sister and I feel guilty about every little failing. I knew well what it was to feel out of place and rejected by my peers because my family didn't have a lot of money. Like Lady Bird's family, we shopped at thrift shops, drove older cars, and lived with a mom who never let us forget how much she was always sacrificing for us (whether we asked for it or not).

When Lady Bird does finally get to college, her dad gives her a gift that lets her realize, perhaps for the first time, that her mom really loves her but didn't know how to show it in a way that Lady Bird understood. Ultimately, as I grew up, I came to realize that my own mother wasn't the horrible person I thought she was. She loved me in her own way but was in a difficult place herself and unable to show it well. I was able to come out to my mother and she has accepted me as her daughter. And I think that Lady Bird, once she grows up, would be able to have a similarly improved relationship with her mom. 

Lady Bird is amazing movie; a funny, honest, realistic, and emotional look at coming of age and how that effects the relationship of a mother and her daughter. As a transgender woman who transitioned as an adult, I didn't get to experience coming of age as a girl or a mother-daughter relationship. That's why Lady Bird resonated so much with me. The character of Lady Bird, her personality, and her family, reminded me so much of myself that it was eerie. It was eerie how closely it mirrored my own teen years. Watching this movie was like looking into an alternate universe where I could see what my life had been like had I been cis. No other movie or media had let me see that and so Lady Bird will now be one of my absolute favorites.