I went shopping today with my son, Andrew and my daughter-in-law, Jasmine. While Jasmine paid for her purchases, my attention was drawn to the cashier.
Tall, slender, unisex glasses, hair shaved short in the back and up one side with the top and other side longer- at least I think that’s what it looked like, wearing a definitely feminine shirt, dark nail polish with rings on at least 3 fingers none of them overly delicate or big and chunky, Batman lanyard, Batman bracelet, slightly lower voice.
My eyes strayed up to examine features- being so thin, chin sharp, small mouth…. I stopped at the eyes. Guarded. No earrings.
Every now and then I will come across a person who I want to remember to use as a character in one of my stories. Usually it’s their appearance or a mannerism. I have never had a fictional transgender character in my writing. I have thought that maybe I should but it never felt right.
And then this retail cashier caught my eye. How many times did I not even give a cashier a second glance? I couldn’t look away. I kept adding more observations to my mental list- nails polished but the quite short, lanyard and bracelet sort of matchy, was that eyeliner? I wasn’t even aware of each item I added to the list. My thoughts just flew.
Then the transaction ended. “My name is Kevin, if there’s anything I can do.”
Kevin. So, he was a boy. Or a transgender guy, maybe early in transition. Or a transgender girl who had not come out. Or a girl named Kevin. Or maybe he was simply gender fluid. Or gender queer. Or maybe Kevin was just Kevin, a teenager with very unique style. I admit I was curious about Kevin but not in the same way so many others probably were.
When I looked at Kevin, I felt so many different things. I knew that whoever Kevin was, life would not always be easy. I hoped it was easier than it probably was. I hoped people accepted Kevin. I hoped Kevin’s parents fully appreciated the beautiful individuality of their child. I hoped that Kevin had a long full life of love, a life free of bullying, stereotypes, judgment and ridicule.
Most of all I hoped that when people look at Kevin, they see someone’s child, a person who deserves the same things we wish for our own.
And yes, I am curious about Kevin. I feel a story there somewhere- maybe with my first transgender character or maybe with a boy named Kevin who doesn’t follow any gender binary. I guess we will have to wait and see what happens.