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“For Regina” – a quick draft

July 12, 2013

So this is what my writing looks like in its most nascent stages before I start reflecting. Draft. Must draft… it will be interesting to see how this changes.

But truly, this is for Regina, a woman I did not know, but wh0 found death a better alternative to abandonment.

May the gods be with you, girl.

***

In order to be gay, I have to be straight. I’m not joking. You know the whole LGBTQ continuum? Well, for years I’ve wondered where I fit along it. My name is Casey and I’m, well, Casey. I was born biologically female, I have dated men the entirety of my life, but I wouldn’t dream of calling myself straight. I am, for all intents and purposes, psychologically a gay male.

Don’t give up on me yet – please – not like everyone else in my life has when I’ve tried to explain it. If you could just wrap your head around it for a minute, that’s all I ask. If you pass me on the street on any given day, I couldn’t tell you what to expect; it could be a pretty purple dress with flowers, my brown, shoulder length hair curled and pinned back. Or it could be hiking boots and patchwork corduroys, my hair tucked under my hat. On those days, you might guess I was a lesbian if someone asked you or if you cared to venture a guess for your own amusement.

Hell, in high school, I was so uncomfortable with my gender identity that I did, in fact, find it easier to identify as a lesbian. Identifying as a male, to date another guy made me gay. To date a girl made me straight. I was attacked physically and psychologically for my choice, but it was an easier thing to do than to admit to myself that on the inside, I was both male and gay. I had never heard of such a thing being possible, which to my mind really left only one conclusion to be drawn: I. Was. A. Freak. A deviant. An aberration. An abomination against God. When you’re 16, such self-perception is enough to drive one over the edge, so believe me when I tell you that being a “lesbian” was the easier path for me.

Now, as a thirty-something adult, things are somewhat more complicated. Sure, I’ve had friends make the switch from male to female that identify as gay. They are, however, about 10.6 times braver than I. This is amusingly ironic, as it turns out, since I’ve not got much left to lose at this point, my family having disowned me over dinner a week ago as of my writing.

“So you’re a fag hag?” my younger sister asked (political correctness has never been her strongest suit).

“No.”

“So what is it, then? You’re bi?”

“I guess, in a way… but not really,” I sighed. I don’t really care for girls, but there are a few exceptions I’d make in my life.

My mom refused to look at me when she threw out the big T word. “Are you, you know, transgendered?”

“Yeah, sort of. Except that I’m gay, too.”

“Now just how the holy fuck does THAT happen?” My dad finally chimed in, his etiquette as impressive as ever.

“Look,” I told them. “It’s simple, really. No one needs to know how I identify. To the world, I’m a straight woman. It’s a lie, but it’s easier for people to take, so I’m willing to let it go. I’m not going to have sexual reassignment surgery. I’m not going to change my name – not that I’d need to. I’m telling you because you’re my family. If anyone knows, it should be you.”

No one was eating at this point. I’d like to think they were processing and digesting the information, but that would have been foolishly optimistic. My mother had her eyes shut, and I swear I could hear her repeating Hail Mary’s in Latin as if I was possessed. My father’s face was reddening, and I couldn’t help but wonder if it was actually possible for someone’s head to burst from high blood pressure; he looked like he was trying to find out. My sister gaped at me, fork in hand, like I was an alien interrupting dinner. No one spoke.

“I, you know,” I stammered. “I just wanted to be honest with you since I’m being honest with myself. Pretty much,” I told them, “you can keep going on as we always have. It’s just that, you know, I’m a guy… who likes dresses a lot.” I smiled awkwardly.

“Casey, this is not the time for fucking jokes.”

“What jokes?” I demanded. “There’re no joke here. I’m just telling you how it is.”

“I don’t give a good goddamn how it is, Casey Marie,” my father boomed, emphasizing the femininity of my middle name. In this home, you will be a straight female. No exceptions.”

“But I’m a gay male, Dad. I can’t change that.”

“Then fucking lie or get the hell out!” he barked at me, pointing toward the door. I chose the door.

The truth is that I’ve had enough lying. Boyfriend after boyfriend has been lied to by me. Albeit, they have been lies of omission, but lately I’ve come to the conclusion that such omissions are far from fair. “What they don’t know won’t hurt them” no longer suffices for me. And lately, I’m getting increasingly upset when I have to fill out information and choose “male” or “female.” Does my psyche not matter? Should I choose both or neither? Should I write in “other?”

Between the lies, the hatred, and the confusion, I’ve come to see there is no place left for me. I could have sexual reassignment surgery, but I will not… part of me still believes that I am nothing more than an abomination against God. Surgery flies in the face of my religious upbringing: that God is infallible, that God knew us before we were born. Lying and hiding are easier, but no less wrong. I am left with one solution – to join my best friend Regina in death. I will not keep lying. I will not grovel at my family’s feet. I will not question God, something Regina nee Reginald had no problem with doing.

Three days ago, Regina hung herself after being disowned by her family. She had just begun hormone replacement therapy.  In whatever waits us after death, I will not let her be alone. And I will not stay to continue and live a lie here.

My name is Casey Reagan. I am a gay male, and I always have been. I make no apologies for it. I have no explanations for it. I would rather die than continue to live by the status quo’s expectations regarding heteronormativity. Maybe I ought to be stronger and fight back like I know others have, but right now, I just need to find Regina.

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From → fiction

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