I met Naomi through Kazumi.
I met Kazumi online, through a transgender chat room.
My first time out in Los Angeles, in 2002, was at the Mayfair hotel on a transgender club night.
I’ll never forget how nervous I was when walking from the underground parking lot to the lobby of the hotel. I stuck very close to Kazumi, and felt very self conscious. I couldn’t believe I was finally out and about as myself, presenting as a woman.
Upon entering the club, Kazumi started talking to some of the other girls.
I found myself alone all of a sudden.
Then Kazumi brought someone over to meet me.
“This is Natalie, it’s her first time out,” Kazumi said.
I shook her hand nervously, and she said hi back.
It wasn’t until a year later that I was dressed up and out again. I was at club Lodge in Van Nuys when I saw Naomi again for the second time.
Throughout the years, she has become the familiar face, the old faithful. I could always count on her being out on a Saturday night, and for transgender people, especially newbies, it’s always nice to see a familiar face. It can really soothe the anxiety when first stepping into the club.
Naomi has seen me disappear for years at a time, only to resurface. I have had some very interesting conversations with her in the past about transgender issues, and she’s always been supportive.
She also is an amazing dancer, and I learned so much by watching her in the past. I slowly gained confidence on the dance floor by dancing with her, emulating some of her moves, and just knowing that she was always visible when I revisited the clubs. The faces would change, but the old timers, the ones who go way back, are always nice to see.
I recently saw her at Hamburger Mary’s, and we danced together. Never had I felt so on top of the world.
We sat down after and I commented on how she has seen my entire transition, from the first times I went out as myself in Los Angeles to now working a company job and living fulltime as myself.
You don’t even know how much of a difference you made in my life, but thanks for being there for me.