I had my birthday last week, which beyond the reminder that I am a) one milestone closer to ultimate mortality and b) so much older than so many of my internet comrades, was a true blast: I took the day for myself, finally caught "The Hurt Locker," and had dinner with the hardest core of my friends. And friend gave me "Leonard Cohen: Live From London," which takes me back every time I listen to it (which is constantly) to the concert of his we both had the good luck to be blown away by last year.

So, hey, yay for transfeminist. Pass you some nachos and maybe you'll care, right?

But wait, things are going to get complicated.

Now, I said this was my birthday. And it literally was: the anniversary of the day I was born. But not every trans person celebrates that day as their "birthday" anymore.

There's a certain logic to it, after all: I'm hardly the person I was when I was born, to a much greater degree than most of the people I know. In a very real sense, am I the person that was born thir--well, a long time ago? Do I have the right to claim his birthday as my own? (But then again, was he a he who could have "his birthday"?)

Other folks who are stealthier than me sometimes abandon their birthday because it links them to the unpleasant pre-transition--or as I like to call it, Pona Time. Fair enough; not like I can't understand the impulse to achieve that kind of separation; the desire to shake the person you were is at the heart of many people's transness.

Other folks celebrate a certain--other day as their real, second, true, whatever birthday. Again, fair enough: the surgery is a big deal even when it's not; I made it about as much of a not-big deal as you can and still have it, and even for me it was a Big Deal. (Ask my significant other of variable and often fabulous gender, who found me crying in the swimming pool at our hotel in Cambodia during the run up to my appointment in Bangkok.) It's not my cup of tea, but then again the main reason I'm even able to remember when the surgery was is that a) it's the day after my niece's birthday, and b) after two years my surgeon has told me I can stop dilating every day. But that's me; I certainly understand the impulse to celebrate the day that your body finally moved into alignment with your gender.

I suppose that if I were looking to fill my calendar with remembrances, I could celebrate the day my name change became official, which for all intents and purposes is the day I finally went fulltime: it was my last day at work presenting in my old gender, and I was leaving the next week to get plastic surgery done on my face to undo too many years of exposure to the wrong hormones. As a funny coincidence, the confirmation that a newspaper had published my name change notice came the day before, so I was able to swing down to the records department on the way home and get the stamped copies of the name change. Now, frankly, if I were to celebrate another day, this would be the one: that is really the day I became the person you know as transfeminist in a very real sense.

Except, the thing is, I honestly never remember the date, even though it was only a few years ago. I had already been presenting as a woman everywhere but the eight or so client visits I needed to make per month, so it was pretty much an anticlimax. Generally speaking, I don't remember that it's been another year until I glance at the calendar, do some quick calculations, and realize that the date passed last Tuesday and I didn't even notice.

So I'll keep my birthday, I guess; at least, I think of it as mine, and who's going to take it from me? Not the sainted Leonard, that's for sure:

I asked my father,
I said, "Father change my name."
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame.

He said, "I locked you in this body,
I meant it as a kind of trial.
You can use it for a weapon,
or to make some woman smile."

Though who knew I'd be the woman that would smile? Now that's a birthday present.

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