I attended a Halloween party last year with my friend Monica, who has only been living fulltime as herself for a little over 2 years. The party was held by friends she had known for over 20 years. All the attendees knew Monica before she transitioned, and were still coming to terms with her being out and living as a woman. Although on the surface, everything was supposed to be normal and they were claiming they accepted her, I saw things differently.
For starters, while we were on our way there to the party, Monica complained about how she missed her friends, and that they didn’t really invite her to get-togethers anymore.
When we got to the party, everyone casually said hi to Monica, but immediately turned their attention back towards the people they were originally socializing with and pretty much ignored her. We were isolated…alone. We only had each other to talk to…
Monica still insisted that it would just take time for these friends to come around, but somehow I just wasn’t convinced.
The party was in the backyard, in a pretty affluent area near the beach cities, and there were a good 100 people there, all dressed in creative 80s costumes, as that was the theme for the night.
The DJ played a bunch of Madonna songs, of course, and Monica, being a huge Madonna fan, danced and lip synced a bunch of songs in front of her former friends. I thought she was adorable, charming, and brave to do such a thing. I was proud of her.
But while I watched her dance, the guests standing next to me, the very same people Monica had pointed out were her “friends,” mocked her. Some of the things they uttered were unbelievable.
They said derogatory things about her repeatedly, and it was clear they just didn’t understand what it meant to be trans. There was a lot of discomfort, and adjectives like “weird,” or “freak” were tossed around with malicious intent but carefully dressed with sarcasm. One woman even said “Can you believe she used to be a guy we wanted to hang out with?”
Just when I didn’t think the backstabbing ridicule towards Monica could get any worse, the universe decided to present another facet of what the group’s true thoughts were towards queerness, towards topics that they just didn’t understand, nor wanted to make the effort in order to understand, for that matter.
By around 10 P.M., the cops showed up to tell the hosts to turn down the music. Tom, the owner of the house and host of the party, immediately ran out to the street to smooth things over.
A big crowd of people gathered in front of the driveway to see what the cops had to say to Tom. He spent a few minutes out there persuading the cops everything was okay, and that we were going to turn down the music. By that point, Monica and I had also joined the crowd to see what the cops had to say. At least 7 or 8 people in addition to Monica and I were clearly visible on the driveway.
The two police officers insisted on coming over and checking out the party. Everyone who was crowding the driveway quickly stepped to the side as the officers walked the length of the driveway and peered into the crowd, with the beam of their flashlights leading the way.
One of the guests was dressed as Freddy Kruger, and he went up to one of the officers.
“I’m a former Torrance Police Officer,” “Freddy” said. “We’ll turn down the music, sorry to bring you guys out for something so silly.”
“No big deal, just doing our jobs. We have to respond to all calls, even if they are minor issues. Just keep the noise level down,” said one of the officers.
“You guys got quite the party going on,” said the officer’s partner.
“If you guys weren’t working we’d offer you some beers!” said Freddy.
Everyone eased up and laughed, and then the officers were on their way.
Once the police left, Tom came back from the driveway.
By then, Monica had was no longer standing next to me, and she was nowhere to be found.
Tom looked around his shoulders to make sure Monica wasn’t there, and then said to Freddy and a bunch of his friends something that was really demeaning and insulting to Monica and transgender people in general:
“Did you see what the cops did? They were about to leave, because I convinced them that we’d turn down the music. But then as soon as they saw Monica, they just had to come inside to the backyard to see what type of party this was.”
“You’re right Tom! Seeing Monica made them wonder what we were doing back here!!!” said one of the guests. It’s as if he was almost relieved he wasn’t the only one uncomfortable with Monica’s new self, and that Tom, and possibly others, shared their sentiments. He didn’t feel so alone. He no longer had to deal with “Monica the tranny monster,” or “the queer with no fear,” on his own.
“I wonder if the cops thought this was a gay party because they saw her,” said one of the women.
“They probably wanted to see if there was an orgy going on here,” chided Tom and the other men.
Never had it crossed their minds that perhaps the officers were just doing their job, and scanning the backyard because a neighbor made a call.
It had to be the queers! It must be the queers, gays, faggots, and trannies!
Their discomfort had to be pinned onto something. Someone was to blame for all the mess. Why not blame the trannies?
If only the monster had stayed inside, out of sight of the cops. Then the cops wouldn’t have ventured over to the backyard to take a look.
If only the weirdos had stayed out of sight, the cops wouldn’t have suspected something unusual was going on….they wouldn’t suspect it was a gay party.
Then the floodgates really opened, and the insulting and stereotyping jokes really started pouring out.
I left and moved to another area in the backyard, away from the crowd of people and just sat down by myself.
Monica eventually found me, and saw me texting on my phone, just withdrawn and alone.
When we finally left the party that night, I told her gently that her friends didn’t really respect her.
She didn’t want to hear it, but she knew.
I didn’t want to push it, and we left it at that.
It’s hard being seen as a monster sometimes, as a scapegoat, when we don’t deserve that type of portrayal or treatment.
That’s why it’s so important to love ourselves, and be proud of who we are. Because until people begin to understand what it really means to be trans, we will often be seen as the monster, the scapegoat, the person who was the reason why the cops came in to break up the party.
And we, as the transgender community, all know that’s not who we are.