As I have written about previously, football is a big deal around here Statewide people are fans of The Ohio State Buckeyes while here in Cincinnati, this year was a big year for the Cincinnati Bearcats who made it to the college football playoffs and the professional Cincinnati Bengals who have one of the youngest teams in this years NFL playoffs.
All of this brings me to a long ago evening when I was invited as my authentic self to attend a NFL Monday Night Football game with friends. Even though I was shocked at the invitation, I hitched up my big girl panties and said yes.
Of course saying yes was the easiest thing I could do. Then I had to figure out what I was going to wear and immediately what I was going to do about rest room usage. Keep in mind this all happened a couple decades ago when I was very much a novice at navigating the world as a transgender woman. I envisioned being called out at every turn for being a cross dresser.
Back in those days also, I was still wearing wigs. I needed to take care to wear one wig which my hosts had seen me in the most. I chose one plus one of my Bengals jerseys. To be sure not so feminine but it would be worn under my jacket anyhow.
All too soon, it was game time and we were making the hours drive to the game. Once we arrived and unsavory as it was, I decided to stop and use one of the parking lot portable toilets. Quickly I took care of business adjusted my wig and hoped for the best.
My first test came as we approached the stadium and needed to be “checked in” by a security person before they took our tickets. For some reason, I was comforted when I was checked in by another woman. It helped when she smiled and told me she hoped I enjoyed the game because I was close to being in total panic mode. Somehow I maintained as we stopped for a adult beverage and made our way to our seats. As we sat down, the stadium was still filling up so I couldn’t get a read on who was going to be sitting close to us. The last thing I needed was a redneck fan sitting next to or close to me . My impostor transgender syndrome was in full swing. I felt insecure enough when the television field camera seemed to stop and focus on me. Finally I managed to stop all the paranoia and enjoy the game.
Sadly but predictably, my team lost and the person who invited me along won. So I had to put up with a little abuse but overall the game went off fine. I didn’t get “clocked” as a man in women’s clothes and outside of a few glances nothing happened. I even braved the long line to the women’s room and again took care of business in a better environment than the portable toilet in the parking lot.
The whole experience was totally amazing and I still remain in contact with the woman and her daughter who invited me. Even more amazing was the fact they accepted me so totally as my authentic self.
I owe them so much more than I can ever say and you might ask how did I meet them. The daughter was a bartender in a sports bar venue I became a regular in as I started to explore the feminine world. She would eventually introduce me to her Mom. The rest as they say, is history. So the whole meetup was sheer destiny,
You may also ask if I have ever been back to another game. The answer is no not football but yes I have been to professional baseball games. The biggest reason now is not because I am transgender, It is because of my increasingly poor mobility. I am starting the process to securing a handicap brochure and since Liz wants to go to her first The Ohio State Buckeye football game next year, maybe we will be able to do it.
In the meantime…GO Cincinnati Bengals!