When I was about 12 or 13, our youth group visited a nursing home. They told me it was full of old people…I like old people.
It took forever just to get there, which was unsettling. They had them in storage, in the back.
When we pulled up outside the Geneva County Home, I couldn’t even see the building. It was so black outside. Once we got in, I realized why.
That was the scariest fucking place I’d ever been.
It was a poorly lit hallway with small rooms that had no visible windows. It was “old jail”.
I thought we would get to talk to some old people, and was actually looking forward to it. This was not that kind of place. For one thing, nearly all the captives were bedridden. That was rough. Even a pleasant outlook can only help so much when you can’t move.
The staff thoroughly warned us that one of the patients was “dangerous” in a sexual way. Their (*not doctor*) diagnosis was that this patient was a monster and a pervert. They kept saying “she” and “her”, but not in the correct way. There was a mean smile behind it.
When I first saw her, She was lying in bed, under green fluorescents. She was tall and had short grandmother hair. Her eyes were green. When she initially saw me, she tried to move. That’s when I saw that she was secured to the bed.
She couldn’t speak. She had handsome facial features due to age (and a lack of care), but she had transitioned so far as a person could in that place at that time.
(From what I know now, I would wager that Mrs. “Maggie” had dementia of some kind and was hypersexual. I could be wrong. Who the hell knows. She wasn’t “crazy” or “wrong”. They were ignorant.)
I have got to say this, everyone in that establishment, staff and patients included, treated Her like she was a fucking sideshow.
The staff wasn’t beating her, she had no bruises, but they were hurting her anyhow. The dying treated her like a criminal, and the staff treated her like a pet freakshow. No one was treating her like a person.
It occurred to me that the staff could treat her as the residents did, and I was grateful for their morbid curiosity. (Another resident came in and tried to hit Her while we were standing there!)
When we finally made eye contact, she went still all over. I went still all over. In a room full of crazy old people, in the middle of nowhere, we had found each other. I am not trans, but I knew we were related. I told the nurse she could leave, but she wouldn’t.
I stood frozen. I couldn’t leave her once I’d found her. I desperately wanted to speak to her alone, but I never got the chance.
Later, my ASSHOLE of a youth minister strolls into the room, sees that I am vehemently upset, and this motherfucker has the NERVE to FUCKING SMILE AT ME as if to say, “If you don’t straighten up, that’ll be you”….smiling at Her predicament.
I don’t like bullies. What can I say? It set me off.
He usually dealt with my Mother, but cruel smiles have always sent me straight to Bobby Joe. I don’t know that I’ve ever been that angry. I wanted to burn that motherfucker down. Truly.
Instead, I squeezed Her hand and, without looking down at Her, I spoke directly to him, cursing at an adult for possibly the first time in my life,
I said (something like), “I’ve had e-damn-nough.” to my Youth Minister’s face.
It fucking killed. Slaughtered. She couldn’t speak, but she could laugh. She laughed so hard, the staff came to check on Her. God!-It was good.
He wasn’t smiling then, imagine that. He tried to holler something over the sounds of Her laughter, and couldn’t, which was even funnier.
I exited on the laugh and spent the drive back silent. Fuck them. Fuck that. Trans people deserve no less dignity than you. There is no difference. Take care of one another because the World does not fucking care.
I love my siblings, and you can go fuck yourself.