As a friend and I begin our mile long trek through falling snow and slush-filled sidewalks to see the eighth installment of the Star Wars Skywalker saga and the ninth installment of the Star Wars franchise, The Last Jedi, I calm his near conniption and re-come out as flakes of white blanket my black framed glasses and my warm breath seems to fog up any non-flake filled part of the lens, which leaves me slightly impaired on the slippery path before us.
I had forgotten that I’d come out to him already, and I find myself at a loss for who I am and who I am not out to at work.
It is not something I hide, as I wear my transgender necklace everyday and led the understanding New Mexico LGBTQ+ youth training at the school, but still, I don’t begin every conversation with, “Hi, I’m transgender, which probably means you a) think I am the devil b) are confused or c) could give no fucks. Or, in all likelihood something else entirely.” Perhaps, I should begin every conversation in this manner.
As our walk continues, with brief pauses for snow-filled photo opportunities, I begin to lose feeling in my toes. My blue canvas boat-esque shoes are not made for snow, but I did not want to get Philadelphia street grit on my beloved black and white plaid Converse. The blue canvas shoes should be on their last leg, since they are slightly stained by ketchup, ranch, and green chile stew spills of elementary lunch duty. Yet, knowing myself and my inability to purchase new articles of clothing and throw out old articles of clothing, some (at this point very few) still hanging around from the days of high school, I know I will likely continue to slog through streets, sidewalks, and hallways in them until the soles completely wear through.
Arriving at the theater, which possibly due to the snow, is fairly empty for a Friday night, I ask one of the theater employees if theater 17 is in the middle of the movie. It is a dumb question I know because it is 5:36, and our movie begins at 7:30.
Out of sheer dumb luck, the employee laughs at the idea of waiting for two hours to see a film that is about to start in the theater behind him, theater 3. He says we are free to wait, but if we want, we can go right on in.
The movie plays.
It . . . I won’t provide any thoughts or opinions or spoilers about it here.
But, after Episode VIII ends, and we begin to walk back to the hotel, I am struck by a thought.
This will likely be the first Star Wars film I won’t see with my family, let alone in the theater with them.
I am filled with almost a melancholic sadness as I remember.
I remember watching the original films re-released in the late 90s in a theater, which would later become a comedy club, where the comedian would tease my stepfather for his . . . lack of hair.
I remember watching The Phantom Menace in a nearly empty theater in Sand Springs, wondering how it could be possible that the theater wasn’t packed.
I remember watching Attack of the Clones, arriving late, missing the crawler, and being so frustrated until I was so entranced by the movie, that the tardiness no longer seemed to matter.
I remember watching . . . well, I don’t actually have a clear memory of watching Revenge of the Sith, but I do remember watching The Incredibles for my birthday, hearing the voice of the soon-to-be Emperor in a trailer, and being unable to contain my nerd excitement for the sixth film and third episode.
I remember watching The Force Awakens, knowing that in days everything about my place in my family would soon change.
I remember watching Rogue One, my brother opting not to attend the showing to read in the Barnes and Noble near the theater.
And, as I am flooded by memories of Star Wars and action figures and my mom shouting upstairs that Attack of the Clones might be too scary for my youngest sister and Lego battles, I hear my brother’s words from a few nights before when I was in a NyQuil addled state as he said, “I am mad at you,” and I said nothing in response.
I can’t shake the words from me.
Do I address it?
Do I let it go?
I know, or at least I have a very strong idea of why . . . the article.
“Child of Trump Nominee Speaks Out”
On a loop, “I am mad at you” plays on my mind as I pull up Twitter while waiting in the hotel restaurant for my avocado bruschetta and goat cheese fritters.
And, then, I see it.
CDC is banned by the Trump administration from using the word “transgender,” and the reality of what that means shakes me to my core.
I remain fairly silently and withdrawn throughout dinner.
I feel hopeless.
Via text, I vent to a friend and apologize for venting.
I feel hopeless still.
After dinner, as I close my eyes and try to fall asleep, I scroll through a text exchange with that same friend to find what I am looking for and need to see.
It reads, “Don’t let them get you. You are stronger than that. I know you are.”
I read the text again and again.
I close my eyes.
The loop drowns out.
My core shakes less.
And, I fall asleep.
Child of Trump Nominee Speaks Out
Report: Trump Bans ‘Transgender,’ ‘Fetus,’ ‘Science-Based’ From CDC Documents