There are things that I would not necessarily embrace if I wasn't a parent. For example, a trip to a lodge in Baxter, which includes Paul Bunyan's Water Park. Now, don't get me wrong, I am a Pisces with Cancer rising and I simply love water. I also love arcades and we happen to have one a few doors down from our room. However, I am also an incredibly privileged trans person, who lives in a pretty safe and supportive town, in a queerborhood, and who does not need to deal with smaller towns, such as the one I happen to find myself in this weekend.
Fortunately being a parent encourages me to take risks and embark on new adventures. It was my daughter who cheered me on my first, and until today only, trip to our local swimming pool post top-surgery. It was thinking of my daughter and how much fun she would have that spurred me on to buy the deal for Brainerd Lodge, home of Paul Bunyan's Water Park. And this is how I came to be sitting in an outdoor hot tub this afternoon, in Baxter (MN) and later on to be enjoying playing air hockey in the arcade. Honestly, I am having a great time. It would be even better if some people didn't feel compelled to take a second, or possibly third look at me, especially if I dare to hold hands with my lovely husband. When they do, I take a breath and I smile. I might even casually engage in conversation, if this seems called for. No matter how fast my heart might race I want to believe that maybe, just maybe they'll see that I am just a person, living my life and next time, when they meet a trans or gender non-conforming person, they might not feel the urge to stare.
I want to make it clear though that I am not sure that I might have been able to do this if my kid, and some other amazing kids in my life, did not set the wonderful examples they do. I knew that my seven year old daughter was nervous this afternoon and, when I asked her about it, she said this wasn't our city and she could see people looking. Nevertheless, she took a breath, smiled and then played in the water with her wonderful friend, who we invited to come with us on this trip. Because, you see, her thirteen year old friend is just as amazing. When we went out for dinner, after the Water Park adventure, she was wearing her "Legalize Gay" t-shirt, and happily chatted away any worries that might have troubled our way. So here I am, a gender outlaw in Baxter, accompanied by an amazing crew and looking forward to some more time in the hot tub tomorrow, if I can ever get some excited kids to sleep!