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The Amazing Claire: Part V Conclusion

| Dec 31, 2018
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Over the past several months you have had the chance to read the story of Claire/Calvin. You may be wondering whether or not it is all true, part of it is true or none of it is true. If so, I can understand you being skeptical. I did not live it and I’m telling it from the memory of hearing it. Unlike The Washington Post or The New York Times, I’m not in a position to fact-check. Could I be the victim of fake news?

I do know that in the 1960s it was a rite of passage for many young Canadians to hitch-hike across their country. I do know there was and still is a Calgary Stampede, their equivalent of a state fair. I know there was a Cave Nightclub in Vancouver. I was able to fact-check that. I know back then there was growing interest in Vancouver as a movie location. The generous Canadian film and television tax credits were still to come but there was interest.

I know there are St. Mary’s and Dalhousie universities in Halifax and Dal was one of the few Canadian schools to allow fraternities associated with the school.

I do wonder how the heck Calvin could be so successful in a career and spend as much time out as Claire, much of it on her back or on her knees. When I was balancing a wage earning career with life out as Linda the Linda part was lucky to get a weekend away every now and then. Claire says she was out almost every night. But then my constraint was my family. After work Claire’s evenings were all hers.

The other thing I wonder about is how Claire got through the 1980s AIDS free. I came to know some sex trade workers back in those days. I knew them as they spent their last days in hospices and being cared for by loving friends. Those were powerful images of people wasting away. They were good people with good minds caught by surprise or caught by someone’s lie or ignorance of their own situation. If she was promiscuous during those years or her lover was promiscuous she must appreciate how lucky she was.

With that in mind and with the evening getting late there were still things I wanted to know. If she did spend so much time as Claire and being as passable as she is why had Claire not gone through with gender re-assignment? I’m sure if the doctors had seen her for the assignment interview they would have just taken one look at her and stamped APPROVED across the application. Were there things she regretted or missed in her life? Did she miss having a partner of her own or having children?

By now the hotel’s dining room was virtually empty. The bar was still humming as a small crowd watched the usually hopeless Toronto Maple Leafs on the large screen televisions. There were two men at the bar who occasionally looked our way but that did not bother me. I was used to it. Claire did not seem to notice so I pressed on.

That brought me to my big questions for Claire. Did she ever want to put the Calvin part of her life aside and become Claire full-time? If not where did she see herself in the transgender spectrum? Pre-op or non-op transsexual? Pansexual? Transgender? Transvestite? Crossdresser? Two-spirited? Questioning?

“God, I hate the labelling,” Claire shot back. “Perhaps it is because I know I don’t fit the stereotype of any of those labels. I was not born feeling I should be female. I did not feel there was something missing in my life. I enjoy presenting as a woman but I don’t feel I’m lying or concealing my true identity when I’m living as a man. Maybe I’m not two-spirited but two-bodied.” She quipped.

“Isn’t that a hermaphrodite?” I asked.

“Well not genitalia-speaking but two bodied in spirit.”

I laughed. Hard as I tried, I could not imagine Claire presenting with a male body. I’m sorry I don’t have a photo to show you but with her graying, slightly thinning hair pulled back in a ponytail she looked quite a lot like Jane Goodall, the long-time champion of African chimpanzees. Only Claire’s nose is a little smaller. Claire was also long past the stage where the TG/CD/FI/TV feels it necessary to wear the most provocative of female fashions, the highest heels or heaviest makeup. Perhaps she was never in those stages. She said she was taught not to imitate women but to emulate them. (emulate: to copy someone’s behavior or try to be like someone else because you admire or respect that person)

I knew what she meant there. Only a few weeks earlier I had been at a transgender support group meeting. We were a small group, dressed in skirts or slacks and blouses. Then in walked a rather large person dressed on a micro-mini skirt, fishnet stockings, high heels and a sheer black blouse. Wow! The nerve it must have taken for her to go out dressed like that but why would she, I thought. She was not close to passing or even being accepted by those around. No one said anything to make her feel uncomfortable but she did anyway. She left after about 15 minutes.

“So for 35 to 40 years you have just freely slipped back and forth between being Calvin and Claire and no one thinks anything of it? What about your relatives, friends and former work colleagues? What do they say?” I asked.

“When we were all in our twenties and my brother and sister were starting their families they wondered what was wrong with my nesting instinct. They occasionally tried to set me up with friends and I would date on occasion but I just told them that I was married to my career for the time being and they came to accept that, my parents too. It was true except it was my careers plural that kept me from settling down with one person.

“Eventually and accidentally I came out to them that I was a crossdresser. I think that was a ‘lightbulb moment’ for them. My single lifestyle made sense. Then once they saw what a good-looking, fun loving person Claire really was they let it be known that I was welcome around them any time and any way I chose to present. My nephews and nieces and now their children as easily call me Aunty Claire as Uncle Cal.

“No they never learned about Claire the escort. Or if they did they never said anything to me.”

“I know someone living up near Ottawa like that,” I said. “She was married with two daughters living as a husband and a good provider when her marriage dissolved and the girls were old enough to be on their own. I think she then said ‘no more living a lie’ and started dressing around her home only eventually to be taking her femme self out shopping and to doctor appointments. Soon everyone who knew him came to also know him as her. But she never did the sex change part. She also was never into men at all.”

“You must be referring to Amanda,” interjected Claire, “I know her. She is very involved in the transgender rights battle. Pretty well every politician in Ottawa knows her, too.”

“I don’t think she is transsexual transgender,” I said, “but I’m pretty sure she would claim to be transgender crossdresser, that you can’t have these feelings of a feminine identity without a transgender identity behind it. I think many of us submerge a large part of our feminine beings so we can live the practical aspects of life such as having a good job and raising a family.”

It was my turn to pontificate. “I remember years ago reading a book by Virginia Prince. It was about crossdressing but it had a chapter insert by someone discussing sex changes. In the article the author asked about a dozen questions where we should be able to answer ‘yes’ before proceeding with gender reassignment. I recall answering a lukewarm yes to one of those questions, no to the rest. The questions were practical ones such as ‘could you retain your job?’ and ‘could you retain your friends?’ ‘Were you likely to retain your hair?’ ‘Did your mother and sisters have big boobs?’

“I think she linked our genetic background to the likelihood of hormones helping to expand our breasts. Of course that was back in the day before breast implants. So, like you, I have been happy to cross the line between the two identities as situations allow,” I offered, “except my proportion of femme time has been much more limited than yours. Also my ‘hobby,’ if I can call it that, has definitely been a financial drain rather than a source of a second income. But,” I concluded with a smile, “It’s cheaper than golf!”

“Golf!” exclaimed Claire, “don’t get me started on golf. My lover was a good golfer. So he took me on a golf holiday to Myrtle Beach. He told his wife he was going with the boys. We had a nice time, visited some gay and drag clubs and met up with another gal for a threesome. But I was a horrible golfer and although he tried to teach me the game every time he rubbed up against my backside our minds went elsewhere. Much of the time I ended up driving the cart while he golfed. I think when he realized that I’d never be a golfer that was the beginning of the end of our relationship.”

I was curious but overlooked the chance to ask whether the threesome was on the golf course or in the bedroom. I pretty well knew anyway.

“I thought you said he died?”

“He did, of a heart attack right in front of his wife.” We dropped that subject.

“So you don’t consider yourself transgender?” I asked Claire, “That seems to be a classic case of denial if you don’t mind me saying.”

“I don’t get this hang up with labels,” Claire repeated somewhat sternly. “I look at it this way: with sexuality we accept that someone, male or female, can not only be straight or gay, heterosexual or homosexual but also we accept that someone can be bi-sexual.

“So to me the same goes with gender identity,” she continued, “we accept males being masculine and females feminine. Society is also coming to accept that there are those among us who are born male but identify as female and vice versa. I feel it is also legitimate to be bi-gender.”

“Eureka!” I exclaimed. “That’s me. I love identifying as a woman when dressed as a woman but I do not feel repressed for spending the larger part of my life as a man. But isn’t there also a word for it? Two-spirited?”

“Well that’s a Native American term and I don’t want to be accused of cultural appropriation so I’m calling myself bi-gender,” Claire replied with a smirk.

We probably could have gone on for hours talking out that one. We didn’t. However, you readers are welcome to discuss the concept of bi-gender vs transgender and I’ll gladly join in.

It was getting late. I had one more question I wanted to ask Claire.

“Do you ever consider how much fate played a role in forming who you are?” I asked Claire. “If you had not needed money when you got to Vancouver you probably would not have hooked up with your friend who guided you into male and then drag escort work. If a friend had not summoned you to Halifax and if you had not moved in to that frat house perhaps your Vancouver summer and your femme personality would have faded to a distant memory. But fate kept intervening.”

“It could have been fate,” Claire replied, “but did you ever read a book by Stephen King called The Stand?”

“Yes, of course. It’s where 99% of the world’s population is wiped out by a mega virus and the other 1% are inexplicably drawn to one of two centers, one for the evil survivors and the other for the good. What of it?”

“Was there something that drew me to Vancouver that summer?” Claire questioned, “It did not really make any sense for me to leave home, break up with a girlfriend to hitch-hike across Canada when I should have been getting a job and earning some money for college. And why was it Vancouver? I could have just as easily made Calgary my destination. There was work there and lots to see and do with Banff and the Rockies just up the road.

“Was there an invisible force guiding me to Vancouver and into Dale’s car, apartment and bed? Was someone up there guiding me to the choice that was right for me?”

I must have looked somewhat surprised. I hadn’t previously heard Claire express anything close to spiritual.

She must have recognized my quizzical and doubtful look. “Nah,” she went on, “it was fate and circumstances but it was a fate and those were circumstances that aligned to be right for me, All along the way that first summer in Vancouver and again in Halifax I had the options to say no and to bail out. I didn’t want to.”

With that Claire finished our conversation about her history. I gave my credit card to our server. The dining lounge was almost empty and Claire was finishing her last crème de menthe. She had one more surprise for me. “See those two gents at the bar that are looking this way? What do you think? Should we offer them a good time?”

I guess I looked shocked and Claire laughed. “No they are in from L.A. to do some advance work for the TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival). I have agreed to meet them in one of their rooms. I told them about you and you are welcome to join us.”

Just then the server returned with my card. “The bill has been covered by your friends,” she said as if it happened all the time.

Well, I sighed, the rest of my evening was spoken for.

But that, ladies, is another story.

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Category: All TGForum Posts, Transgender Fun & Entertainment

Linda Jensen

About the Author ()

Canadian writer Linda Jensen is a long time contributor to TGForum. Before the days of the Internet Linda started her writing with the Transvestian newspaper. Her writing ranges from factual accounts of her adventures to fiction although frankly sometimes her real life adventures are stranger than the fiction. Linda is married to a loving partner who upon learning about Linda said, "she was part of you before I met you. Although I didn't know it she was part of the package I fell in love with. I don't want to mess up that package." "Does it get any better than that?" asks Linda.

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