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Mandy and I stood off to the side as her sister Sarah’s 50th birthday party commenced.

We drove an hour to be here, and other than a light 15 minutes of conversation, we were left on the outside of the clique. We were content listening to the live band playing cover songs and enjoying a few drinks on a nice summer evening. Chatting and giving loving stares into each other’s eyes as we passed the evening. The only fearful moments were standing in line for the ladies room, hoping that no one would make a scene. About ten o’clock the party was moving back to Sarah’s house and we received the halfhearted obligatory invite. I personally was happy to see it drawing to a close. While I don’t feel obligated to explain myself to anyone, I am usually on guard as to not be taken by surprise with a barrage of questions. Being on guard all the time takes a toll on me. It is exhausting having to worry about peeing, misconceptions of transgenderism, or the drunken alpha looking to appear as the big dog of the yard.

We both walked to the car discussing which way to go on our coveted night out with no child.

“Do you want to go to Sarah’s house or somewhere else?” I think Mandy was as exhausted as I was.

“To be honest can we go somewhere with our own kind? I need to be around LGBT people a while.” I felt terrible for saying it, but it was the honest truth. I look forward to Pride and LGBT conferences.

“Sure honey, I know a place in Ogunquit.”

“I SAW THE WELCOMING WAVING OF A PRIDE FLAG HANGING OFF OF THE BUILDING AS IF IT WAS WELCOMING US HOME.”

So we ventured further north into Maine. Driving down the road was the standard markings of an outpost of night life. The parking lots to the antique stores and banks were littered with cars. People dressed to the gills trotted across the crosswalks going to and from their club of choice. We passed by the bar and I saw the welcoming waving of a pride flag hanging off of the building as if it was welcoming us home. We parked down the road and made our way back to the bar.

The inviting feeling was instant. As we entered there where people laughing and joking. Inside there were beautiful people having a beautiful time. The men with their muscles ripping out of their shirts, the lesbian’s having cocktails, the pulsating flashes of people on the dance floor and even the random bachelorette party thrown in to make a brilliant mix of people just looking to have fun. No one here was going to judge us on how we live our lives. There was not going to be any questions of when I knew I was transgender or people questioning Mandy on how do we have sex. Here amongst these people, I am just a person.

“WE DANCED UNTIL OUR LEGS HURT..”

We danced until our legs hurt and then we wormed our way to the bar for hydration. After laughing and smiling till our cheeks hurt we shared a nice slow kiss. Once again we were able to let our guard down. We didn’t have to worry about anyone saying something and ruining a great moment. We were just people having fun.

Having community that shares our thoughts, emotions, and tribulations is essential to our sanity. We need to be able to let our guard down from time to time and just have fun. Day to day people remind me just how far we still have to go. While it is innocent enough for most people, it is still tiring to constantly have to justify who and what I am. Being around our community reminds me that we are not alone in all this craziness.

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