California Dreamin: Love, Transgender Style

(Thanks to reader Ron for reminding me yesterday about a somewhat satirical one-act play I wrote back in 2013 for my newspaper blog. Here it is again . . . it could just as easily apply to Houston now, and many other places where trans girls are forced to use boys’ facilities.)

Jillian Page
LGBT Perspectives editor

(This short one-act play, written by me (in 2013) as a follow-up to my earlier post about efforts by some in California to derail a transgender rights bill, features four characters: a mother and father, 15-year-old son named Joseph and 14-year-old daughter named Jessica. It is set in the dining room of a modest, middle-class bungalow in Los Angeles, California. As the scene opens, mother, father and son are sitting at the dinner table, while daughter is standing by the china cabinet. A radio is playing oldies music in the background, at this moment, California Dreamin’ . . .)

Joseph: I have a new girlfriend, and I want to invite her here for supper on Sunday, so that you can meet her.

Mother (gushing with enthusiasm): That’s wonderful, Joseph! We would love to meet her. What’s her name? Where did you meet her?

Joseph (smiling): Her name is Mary, and I met her in the bathroom at school.

Father: In the bathroom!?

(Jessica giggles.)

Joseph: Yes, dad, she was standing in front of the mirror, putting on her mascara  . . . (He sighs happily) . . . Her hairbrush fell off the counter. I picked it up for her, we started talking, and, well, we hit it off.

Father: Wait a minute . . . What was a girl doing in the boys’ bathroom?

(Jessica giggles again, and mumbles under her breath: “This is going to be good.”)

Joseph: Well, it has to do with some stupid petition. I don’t really understand it . . . they just don’t want to let girls like her use the facilities for females.

(Mother holds her hand to her mouth, as if to stifle a cry. Her eyes betray her: she is shocked)

Father: What do you mean, “girls like her”? Are you talking about the referendum to repeal the transgender bill signed by Gov. Brown?

Joseph, nodding: Yah, dad, I guess that is what I am talking about.

Father, incredulously: You’re dating a boy!?

Joseph: No, dad, I’m dating a person who identifies as a girl, and presents herself as a girl.

Mother: But Mary was born a boy?

Joseph: Yes, mom, but she’s on hormones, and she plans to have gender reassignment surgery in a few years, when she turns 18.

Father: If he has a penis, he’s a boy!

Joseph: I don’t care about her penis, dad. I’m not interested in it. I love her, for the person she is inside. She’s beautiful, both inside and outside.

Mother, turning to Jessica, who is grinning: Do you know Mary?

Jessica: Sure, everybody knows her. She’s really nice, and she’s gorgeous — got the sexiest legs in the school. All the other girls are jealous!

Father: I won’t have it — I won’t have my son dating a boy . . . (His voice trails off.) I can’t believe they are letting these transgender kids use the boys’ bathroom.

Mother: But, dear, where else are they going to do their business? You were one of the people who signed the petition to stop them from using the girls’ facilities. They’ve got to go somewhere . . .

Father: You signed it, too!

Mother: Well, you told me to . . . I didn’t really think about it . . .

Joseph, smiling: That’s right, dad. If it wasn’t for that petition, I might never have got to meet Mary.

Father: Well, I don’t want you bringing him home, and I don’t want you dating him.

Joseph: You can’t stop me from dating her (with emphasis on the “her”), and if you are afraid to meet her, that’s your loss.

Mother, standing and hugging Joseph: I don’t have a problem with it, son. You can date anybody you like — male, female or in-between. I’ll love you just the same.

Jessica: Mom, that is so nice . . . (Tears rolling down her cheeks)

Joseph, crying: I knew I could count on you, mom.

Father, standing, obviously moved by the emotions of the other three: Jesus, suddenly I feel so stupid . . . Joseph, I trust you . . . You’re a good kid . . . I love you . . . Yes, yes, bring your girlfriend here. Bring her here for dinner on Sunday . . .

(The family comes together for a group hug, with The Times They Are a-Changin’ playing softly in the background.)

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5 thoughts on “California Dreamin: Love, Transgender Style”

  1. What a timely and wonderful one act play. I am impressed with all of the characters in the play. The common threads in the play are love, kindness and compassion. We need more of each in the world today.

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    1. Well, it was meant to be satire, to show all those transphobic parents that love could indeed bloom in the boys’ bathroom once trans chicks are forced to use them. I decided to give it a happy ending . . . not sure why I felt that way on that day, but so it is . . .

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    2. Actually, I think I remember why I went with the happy ending: I went with the “great love overcometh all” theme. The parents loved and trusted their son, and that in turn helped them overcome their initial transphobia. Yes, it is an optimistic scenario. But it is not inconceivable; it could happen.

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