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Swimsuit Fashions

20 June, 2011

It took forever. We’re talking trial and error, purchase and return, hunts through racks and racks and racks and racks and more than my fair share of tears. It took forever. It took an hour at J.C. Penny going through their sale racks, looking for the right size, cut, style. It took mixing and matching pieces from different sets and re-coordinating them to get a new set that looked like it was sold as a single cohesive unit. It took forever. But it happened. I walked out of the store with a swimsuit I could proudly, comfortably, and–most important–safely wear to the pool.

I got home, rinsed off in the shower, slipped on the three pieces that make up the suit, grabbed a beach towel, a book, and my pass then headed out and down to the pool. In the hall outside the apartment I ran into one of my neighbors. I said, “Hi,” and introduced myself. She and her sister did not look pleased to meet me. That’s okay. No one said they had to be. They’ll get used to me or they won’t. Either way, I will continue as friendly and polite. Downright neighborly.

At the pool the lifeguard almost swallowed his whistle when he saw me. Granted, I didn’t have a wig on, but I styled my hair a bit so it had a feminine flare to it. Still, he glared and he followed me with his eyes as I found a deck chair, laid out my towel, and began reading my book. I planned on getting a chapter in before taking a dip. As, I read I listened to the kids squealing in the pool and wondered, if I stuck to the deep end, if I could get a few laps in. While I read the life guard had a few whispered conversations with the parents. One word caught my attention: predator. You don’t have to be a nuclear physicist to balance this equation. By nature of me being who I am and being at a pool when pre-teen children were present, I was automatically and without doubt a potential pedophile.

I never got in the pool. The eyes on me, following where my gaze went (from left hand page to right hand page) discouraged me from making full and proper use of my new bathing suit. But I refused to let them drive me out. I laid on that chair with a copy of Sookie Stackhouse and connected with the blonde waitress who can read minds. Both of us being something unique, misunderstood, and not particularly wanted around but too polite and well-mannered to be spoken against.

If my style of dress, and the fashion and gender understanding that goes with it, makes me comfortable, I will dress this way. I’m not doing anyone harm by dressing like this and they may interact or not interact with me as they see fit. But, as a culturally sensitive person and a member of the community, if my style of dress makes other’s uncomfortable does that count as harming them? Am I doing damage to someone else by being who I am? Am I within my rights to dress the way other women dress or because I have a bonus piece of equipment, do I not have the right to make this decision? I am currently troubled by this. Does the community as a whole have the right to dictate how I can and can’t dress? How I can and can’t present myself? How I can and can’t exist? At what point does my own personal need and preference override the community’s ill ease and what responsibilities do they owe me as a woman?

These are all troublesome questions and I don’t know if there are any answers to them. I don’t even know if there are any potential answers to them. Sometimes, being a TS woman gives me a very real, philosophizing headache.

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