On a Saturday evening stroll, my wife and I caught sight of a woman walking about 15-20 feet ahead of us. She had one of the most astonishing figures we had ever seen on a woman. She was very tall and beautifully built, and her superbly stitched evening gown shimmered like liquid silver on her body.
It was not just us. Almost everyone on the street was pausing or even stopping to gape at her as she swayed as gracefully as a fish down the street. In fact, some of the youngsters were even calling out to her, complimenting her. We could hear her voice as she replied and the sound was like smooth as velvet and almost musical.
We knew we had to see her face so we hurried to catch up with her. As we passed her, we could see that her profile was just perfect, a sharp nose and beautifully shaped lips. We walked faster to get a bit ahead of her and moved casually to the side of the road to turn and look at her.
She was just drop dead gorgeous. As she came nearer, we could see that her makeup and lipstick were just perfect. Her eyes were big, black and beautifully made up. She was quite conscious of being stared at and her hips were swaying appropriately as she smiled daintily and acknowledged people’s calls.
A young, good-looking boy said something to her as he passed close to her and she darted a look at him, and then looked down, blushing and smiling coyly. It was only then that we realized that she was a man.
This was not the first time we were seeing a cross dresser in NY but she was the certainly most beautiful we had seen. Having lived in San Francisco, we had seen cross dressing in all its forms, drag queens and drag kings and everything in between, every letter of the alphabet, with clothes and without.
Every other month there is some kind of street fair, parade or protest in San Francisco which gives people the right and the opportunity to dress ‘weirdly’ or not at all or somehow do both. We once passed a superbly built male wearing an apron. Involuntarily we turned around to find (or rather, to confirm) that that was all he was wearing.
We have seen the Pride Parade in at least three cities many times. Except for the dampener of the Trump years, each parade was more flamboyant and wonderfully outrageous than the previous one. These parades always make me think that society swings from one explosive and defiant extreme to the other before slowly finding its own equilibrium. It is like coming out into the sunlight from a dungeon. Your eyes shut automatically, then widen and then settle down. We did the same. We gaped with our mouths open at first, then came admiration and then acceptance. On such days, you can board any local train and find human freedom expressed in every form in front of your eyes. It releases something in you.
Your blood surges when you are in Silicon Valley and see the nameplates and neon signs of the great companies of the world. When you walk the streets of San Francisco you feel as if you have spread your arms across the horizon, as if you are gathering more and more of life and humanity into your heart. Like they say, life begins on the west coast, either in Silicon Valley or in San Francisco.
People have to be what they are. He, She, It, Trans, Binary, Bisexual, L, G, B, T, Q, Xer, Xim and anything else under the sun – who cares!
We started by asking “Why?!” but went on to asking “Why not?!” and then “So what?!”. These questions have become the most important in our lives now. We apply it to everything. As long as there is no deliberate harm intended, as long as one does not threaten or incite violence, we hardly find anything objectionable now. Food, clothes, lifestyle, relationships, gender – there are no rules, there are no limits. Except the ones you choose to impose on yourself, your life and your thoughts.
The City of Love liberated us, unclogged our minds. It set us free.