tonight, i hosted an all-trans woman potluck for the first time. it was amazing, even if i was a bit jittery at being a good hostess (i don’t have a lot of practice here, but hopefully i’m getting better).
i started to ponder the idea of doing a potluck like this about a month ago when i heard a woman i knew from twitter was coming to town for a visit. i thought it would be an empowering, awesome way to bring local #girlslikeus together, to feed each other, to introduce ourselves to one another, to get to know each other even better, and to care after each other while the potluck was happening.
based on something my friend @jetta_rae said, riffing off the Sinatra song “Luck Be a Lady,” came the idea for Potluck Be a Trans Lady.
well, the potluck just wrapped up (dishes will be dealt with tomorrow), and i’m really glad i did this. i’m hoping it will be the first of many more #potluckbeatranslady nights to come, even if i won’t get to be there for most of them.
what i mean by this is maybe that if this idea’s a good one, then other trans women could try out their own potlucks where they are, putting together their own #potluckbeatranslady suppers, lunches, brunches, picnics, whatever. as someone who’s experienced homelessness and hunger, it’s a big deal to be there for others in my life to assure they’re fed, to reduce at least the latter as much as i can in my own small way. it’s not only a way to feed each other, but it’s also way to get to know, befriend, and learn to trust for one another in ways which a lot of localities have never really been able to experience much of before.
the potluck, seen this way, becomes a klatch for strengthening the common grounds for our own community’s ties. it becomes a way to extend our social network to something more tangible. we can do this by looking one another and assuring we leave the evening fed and a bit closer to one another than we were before.
this kind of care for each other is antithetical to what gatekeepers were telling women like me when i began transition over twenty years ago: to avoid eye contact and to sever friendships with other trans women once “transition was over and life as a woman with a transsexual history” could ostensibly begin — whatever the fuck that meant. it was pretty extreme, if not grim, but echoes of those days still linger.
i want to see an end to that. i want to see us continue do exactly what they didn’t want us doing for each other. in the last two years, the accidental, but indispensable hashtag #girlslikeus, introduced by @janetmock in early 2012 on twitter, has brought us together online in unimaginable, unanticipated, but immeasurably therapeutic ways i couldn’t have fathomed just five years ago. #potluckbeatranslady can build on this, to bring us together close to home, closer to where we are in our everyday lives.
a few months ago, i hosted my first-ever potluck. it was one in which everyone invited was people i knew locally to whom i’d previously disclosed as trans. i wanted these friends from different parts of my life to know who each other were, and to let them know that i was grateful each had stayed by my side even after i let them know more about my personal narrative. that night was an important step in my own life for a few reasons, but in a way, it also set the ground work for tonight’s potluck.
there’s not a lot more i can add to this, since i’m about to pass out. but i wanted to put this out there, and maybe it’ll take off. maybe it won’t. i’ll let time and community work that part out.