On Transitioning During A Pandemic

Denver, Colorado doesn’t have the largest queer community in the world, but we do our best. There’s a handful of gay bars, a mid-tier pride parade, and some semblance of a “gayborhood” in Cap Hill that’s trying to hang on in the face of gentrification.

Tracks, a gay nightclub, is one of Denver’s long-standing queer institutions. Its website calls it “Denver’s premiere GLBT Dance Club,” and the ordering of those letters does a good job of telegraphing how Tracks (and most queer clubs, quite frankly) cater predominantly to gay men. But on the first Friday of every month, Tracks holds…

Long before I started questioning my gender, I had this idle fantasy where one of my best lady friends would walk up to me and say, “give it up, you’re not fooling anyone.”

If you’d confronted me about this fantasy at the time, I couldn’t have told you what, exactly, I meant by “you’re not fooling anyone.” Deep down I knew that it was probably related to gender, but my lips wouldn’t have been able to form those words. All I knew was that I was pretending to be someone I was not, in some vague, passive, and ephemeral way.

When I first self-accepted myself as a trans woman, I had no idea how depersonalized I really was.

If you’d read the Wikipedia entry for “Depersonalization” to me before my big revelation, I would have nodded along to parts of it but shrugged off others. “Depersonalization can consist of a detachment within the self, regarding one’s mind or body, or being a detached observer of oneself,” reads the first line. “Subjects feel they have changed and that the world has become vague, dreamlike, less real, lacking in significance, or being outside reality while looking in.”

I would have probably admitted…

I was driving through rural Colorado when the call came.

I almost never answer the phone if I don’t know who’s on the other side— heck, I barely answer the phone when I do — but I had a feeling that this was the call I’d been waiting for all month. “Ms.…LaBelle?” I heard in a bored, feminine cadence. “I’m calling from Denver Health. You left us a message about starting hormone therapy?”

I pulled onto a patch of grass next to the road and tried to speak without a quiver in my voice. “Yes,” I said, before repeating myself…

My incomplete list of things that were actually gender dysphoria the whole time!

Photo by Vince Fleming on Unsplash

One quiet evening, about two and a half years ago, I finally gathered up the courage to Google the question I’d spent a lifetime running away from. It was 10:30 or 11 pm, and I was lying in bed alone. My wife was across town playing D&D with her friends. Our air conditioner was chugging along, failing to keep up with the relentless North Carolina heat. That was my last summer in the south, and it was also the harshest. …

Welcome to the second part of my guide to being a good trans ally. As a trans woman, my goal with this guide was to provide a resource for cisgender (non-trans) people who have had a loved one come out to them as transgender and aren’t sure really what that means or what they should do about it.

In part one, we talked about what it means to be trans. Check that post out first if you haven’t seen it yet. Part two is going to be less theoretical and more practical — now that you understand what trans people…

First, take a deep breath. Relax. It’s going to be okay.

If you don’t know many openly transgender people, finding out that someone you love is trans can feel both confusing and overwhelming. Your mind is buzzing with questions, but you might not know exactly what you want to ask — or even if the questions you really want answered are okay to ask.

As someone who has been on the other end of this conversation dozens of times now, I feel just as overwhelmed as you do. Telling someone that you are transgender can be hard, in no small…

I’ve come out as a trans woman to quite a few people over the past few months, and I’ve had to make my peace with the fact that most cis people don’t know very much about trans experiences — especially trans experiences like mine.

Even though most of my coming out conversations have gone well, (seriously — I have amazing friends!) I’ve still found myself struggling to explain my journey in a way that my non-trans peers can relate to and understand. …

Image from 303 Magazine: https://303magazine.com/2019/06/denver-pride-events/

In May of 2007, my sputtering black PT Cruiser got stuck behind a Memorial Day Parade in Oberlin, Ohio.

I was on a road trip from Boston to Chicago with a group of my college friends, and we’d stopped in Oberlin for the night to visit one of our pals who went to school in that quiet college town. We were hoping to hit Chicago by mid-afternoon, but the parade unfolding before us made that possibility more unlikely by the second. …

I have a confession to make. When the 9/11 conspiracy film Loose Change made the rounds online back in 2005, I watched the dang thing alone in the dark— multiple times —tut-tutting to myself and bridging my fingers like Gendo Ikari. I even burned the low-resolution AVI file onto a DVD and gave it one of my best friends.

When he asked me what I thought, I told him that I was pretty sure something fishy happened on September 11th, 2001. Maybe the government knew that an attack was going to happen but were unaware of its scope. Or perhaps…

Cassie LaBelle

Novelist. Trans lesbian. Early thirties. Former Hollywood hench-person. Lover of cats, mountains, bad movies, good TV, coffee, beer, and games.

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