All I had to do was say yes and I was in the show. Just one big YES!!!
....2 hours earlier....
I walked into my final casting call for the day. My boots clunked against the steps heavily as I took them two at a time. This time instead of a room of erect, serious, high heeled models and a cloud of perfume.... I found myself storming into a mist of cologne. Men were sprawled out, legs wide apart, fully leaned back.... Almost as if bored. Their shoes were all splashed with street soil and water stains. Most wore comfortable clothing, like large sweaters, loose tshirts, and baggy jeans. The only thing polished about them was their hair... And their portfolio binders. Which unlike female models binders, were large, fat, and made out of heavy leather.
The process was slow and relaxed. Models were sent over to a MYSTERIOUSLY hidden panels of judges and designers, asked to walk, and then were either sent out or given an outfit.
Watching men walk for runway is like watching a business man walk on one of those moving walkways in the airport. They glide swiftly and with ease to the end of the runway and back. Simple. Chin down, shoulders squared.
Shoes can be whatever you want them to be. Boots, sneakers, flip flops. Bunny slippers. It doesn't matter because you don't need to accentuate your back by precariously standing on shoes that emulate you tiptoeing around. (Heels) You've got a dick. You therefor need nothings else besides a good suit to make your body look good.
Twenty minutes later I was called over. They see my book. They realize the card has a bust size on it. The grand reveal of the actual gender annnnnnnnd ACTION!
"Can you walk for us please?" A flamboyantly giggly gay middle aged man asks, flipping His wrist emphatically in the direction of the runway.
I nod and take off. They murmur behind me as if forming a game plan for my return. When I'm back in front of them they ask me to keep going back and forth.
"Put her in this outfit."
"I don't think so."
"Do it.... Just try it."
"Waste of time -"
"That redhead you wanted was a waste of time."
"Fine, but after this- no more charity cases."
The man asks me to stop. On his right a disgruntled young blond woman adjusts her black glasses and shakes her head. He points me over to a clothing rack and asks me to change into a specific outfit.
The men in the area are asked to leave. I say that I'm not shy and wearing boxers... But the three people dressing me insist it's the right thing to do. All three of them are women. They say it's for my protection.
Yeah.... Just because one of the guys might see me with an ace bandage bound chest and baggy black boxers and have the sudden urge to go jerk off in the bathroom. Good luck buddy.
They take twenty more minutes to slip a turtleneck, cargo pants, a scarf, and jean vest onto me. They steam everything to make sure there aren't any wrinkles.... Then scrunch up the scarf so it looks like it has NATURAL wrinkles in it. Despite the foofy preparation, I actually can't help but admire the craftsmanship of the clothing. It actually made me feel stronger.... Bolder.... More dapper?
I'm rushed back over to the panel. They ask me to turn around. They ask me to walk. They stare.
And elderly lady pats doen one of my legs like a tsa agent. "She stands strong at least."
I'm sent back over to put on another outfit by the middleaged gay man who originally addressed me...Let's call him Bob. While the blond girl with glasses (let's call her Noway) sighs in frustration.
Again the space is cleared of boys, as they run out of the dressing room area in their boxers and briefs. The women change me again and I stand like a scarecrow letting them pinch and prod me with their attention orientated hands. A sweater, skinny jeans, fake glasses, and a collared shirt are donned. I feel like a fluffy hipster. Twenty more minutes.
I'm sent back over.
The panel oohs and ahhhs, grimacing and grinning in ripples of what appears to be A LOT OF EMOTION. They ask for another walk, a pose, they hand me a book as a prop and have stand there with it... Casually. ACT CASUAL they say. No pressure.
Then "Bob" looks at "Noway". She shakes get head. He looks at me and sends me back AGAIN.
The boys know the drill by this time and take off. This time I'm given a pair of loafers, baggy jeans, a leather jacket, and a brown tshirt. The women hand me a comb as a prop.
Nothing is more inspiring for getting a feel of what your clothing strands for...then a comb. So much inspiration. In this outfit, I'm clearly portraying a person with a lot of money who likes to make sure that their hair stays the way they like it. All the time.
Thirty minutes later and I'm back in front of the panel again. It's been an hour and a half in this room, and "Bob" apologizes for that. He looks me over and nods enthusiastically. And that's when it happened.
"Yes. I love it. Pass her on to-"
"No. You can't-"
"Are you kidding? He's gonna love her!"
"And in the end she will just give him a headache-"
"Why because of the press?"
"Oh come on I'm not in the fucking stone ages! I'm talking about the complexities.... Fashion week is already so stressful. You think he's gonna want to add the stress of having a model in a whole other dressing room-"
"She doesn't have to be in another dressing room!"
"Yes she does! Women need their own changing space.... If any of those boys penises offends her or if one accidentally rubs up against her knee or someone looks at her wrong.... There could be instant lawsuit. I don't want the boys to have to worry about that."
"Well there are lots of gay boys in there.... I don't see an issue from the straight boys about their junk being ogled!"
"I'm not going to turn thus into a civil rights issue ok? I'm just saying.... It's a huge risk to take for her safety And the other models. And right or wrong in this day and age it's STILL not appropriate it have a woman in the men's room naked."
"But it's ok for gay men?"
"What did you just hear me say?"
"What about trans?"
"If female to male then yes... Trans is fine. We aren't going to discriminate- if they're a guy they're a guy."
Suddenly it dawns on her. They both look at me.
Uh oh. This AGAIN.
"Bob" grins at me.
"Rain, I really think you would do well in our line. You look great in the clothing and I'm confident you could get a lot of great positive buzz going. Do you like the clothing?"
I nod "yes sir."
"Great! Well I hope I don't come across offensively by asking this.... But it's just because I want you to walk in this so badly but there are so many logistics... Fashion Week is complicated. Hectic. Um... Are you doing menswear because you are....trans?"
"Noway" stares at me curiously. The panel leans forward slightly. "Bob" gives me a secret "say yes" mouthed over with a mischevious wink.
I stare at him.
"I'm doing it because I have a square jawline and like pizza too much to have a size 2 ladies physique. But I was born biologically a woman and that's how I identify." I stand there amidst their silence. "Bob" sighs and puts an arm around my shoulders.
"Look there's nothing to be ashamed of if you are..." He pokes me playfully and gives me an ultra exaggerated wink that says (just lie about it... Hoodwink them...it's no big deal I got you).
I take off the jacket slowly. "I'm not. But I appreciate you trying to accommodate me, trust me I'm worth making an exception for."
"Bob" shakes his head as if I've just rejected a free check for one million dollars. He shakes my hand, keeps my comp card, and sends me on my way.
On the windy washed out out walkway I stomp towards the subway. The loneliness of commuting kept me in my own mind and right now it was raging with anger.
I wasn't upset at being potentially pegged as trans. That's bound to happen... I'm a handsome woman.
I was upset that they actually tried to use it as a loophole to get what they wanted.
What the hell?
The claim to a gender identity that you aren't biologically born with is an empowering thing. Not a thing of power. You can't use that to get around situations.... Thats wrong on SO many levels!
When a trans person uses the bathroom, and they enter one of their gender identity that might not reflect their physical form... They rely on the trust of others to use that space. They rely on the fact that if someone asks them what they are doing in that restroom- just the answer "I'm a girl." Is good enough.
I get hit by women all the time... Or asked to leave.... When I use a women's room. That's why I just flash them. But not everyone has tits like me.
When people abuse the power of identity to meet an end... It brings hollowness and distrust to those claims. It makes it harder for people to trust that others are who they say they are. If that makes sense.
And that deeply saddens me. Because trust is the biggest component of unity. And unity us peace.
I've used the identity of male to gain more trust and power in the past. And it worked. Why? Because to be male in this culture means to have more knowledge, confidence, and stability. If I had just pushed through those times as honestly female... And just demanded fair wages, did the work without complaint, and made a point to master my craft... I would've brought more of the same trust/respect/power men get into the field for women to obtain as well.... This balancing out the issue a bit better.
But instead I was a facade. And incidentally while people may say that dressing like a boy was empowering- it was likewise dis empowering to women. We should not have to appear as men to gain privilege.
Some people say "fake it til you make it."
No. Not anymore.
If I look like a handsome boy, a sexy lady, or a being of ambiguity... appearance has nothing to do with my gender. I'm showing myself... My rawest in the moment purest version of self. And however you feel when you see an image of me... Just know that you are simply looking at RAIN DOVE....whatever that may mean to you.
No one should have to appear as anything other than themselves to gain anything.
EVERYONE DESERVES INDIVIDUAL JUDGEMENT, RESPECT, LOVE, POWER BASED ON THEIR OWN PERSONAL ACTIONS IN THE WORLD. Not based on their appearance.
This may seem cliche. But it's real.
You don't need to be LIKE anyone else. You don't need to pretend to be ANYthing else. You just need to be YOURSELF demand a better world for YOU. Fair wages, equal voice, trust, truth, love, respect. JUST F***ing GET IT AND GIVE IT.
THAT should be powerful enough.
YOU should be powerful enough.
WE... ARE POWERFUL ENOUGH.
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