Day in the Life: Going to the Club

So last night, I was pretty frustrated. I had planned to hang out with some friends, but plans fell through. I posted on Facebook that I was bored, and wanted to go out. I was very fortunate to get a text from someone I had met less than a dozen times at Allies and other LGBT events, Cindy. Cindy works for the Alder Health Center (http://www.alderhealth.org), a group dedicated to improving the health conditions of the LGBT community. They offer HIV testing, community health education, counseling, health services, and STD screening, so definitely check them out if you are around the Harrisburg area. Cindy and her girlfriend Francesca were going to a lesbian bar in Lancaster, and to the Lizard Lounge after that. I was intimidated, but I really wanted to get out. They were so kind to come get me, so I didn’t have to drive.

Before I talk about the night, I want to talk about why this is a big deal. I mentioned this in my post about two weeks ago, http://wp.me/p1onfK-1r . I realized that going out to a club was something that would be very difficult for me. There would be a lot of people in close physical contact with me. There are so many stories of transgender people being outted in situations like this, and it is a story that often ends in tragedy. Perhaps I am too worried about it, but I’m a person who tends to worry too much. I was determined to face this fear. Also, a club is a place that, of course, involves a lot of people checking one another out. This situation is sort of a “make it or break it” of passing. If I didn’t pass at the straight club we went to, I was scared of what would happen. And, if you follow this blog, you know facing my fears is something like my goal in life lately.

We went to the Sundown lounge first, which was nice because it felt much safer. There were numerous same sex couples, as well as some straight people. Cindy and Francesca knew the bartender well, and everyone was very friendly. There was a small circle of people dancing, which I was reluctantly drawn into, though only briefly. I learned quickly it is hard to dance with a purse, so I left mine in the car the next time. Going here first was a great decision, as it allowed me to experience the bar scene a little bit more independently than in the past, but I knew, even if I was outted, a good amount of people there wouldn’t care. Also, knowing Cindy was there and would not let anyone get away with doing anything allay my fears.

Next we went to the Lizard Lounge. I know very little about the Lancaster club scene, so I may be leaving out some important detail. The Lounge was awesome. At first, it was not very crowded. Then I ran into Sam, one of my friends from Allies. I was so excited to find a familiar face so soon after arriving; it soothed many of my fears. Sam and I caught up for a while. She actually told me she is a frequent reader of this blog, so Sam, when you read this, please know that meant a lot to me. I’m really excited people are reading and enjoying this blog! Anyways, Sam, Cindy, Francesca and I were all dancing together. This was perhaps the best part of the night. I found out I could dance. It was actually a blast; I really enjoyed myself. It was a bit of a surreal experience; if you read my post about my coming out story, the girl I mentioned is an awesome DJ. In Second Life, I would often go to her events. Last night though was the first time I ever actually attended a club like this. I really enjoyed myself, and I can’t wait to go again. It is still a little scary, knowing I could be outted, afraid of the reactions I might face, but I have learned part of being transgender is living with and, when possible, overcoming this fear.

I really do want to give a special shout out to Cindy, Francesca, and Sam. You guys really made last night a special night!

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7 Comments

  1. I’ve never been to a ‘straight’ club/bar. I do ‘frequent’ an ‘Alternative Night Club’ that’s pretty much a ‘gay’ club, though non-gays do go there, the crowd is mostly LGB and yes, T.

    Reply
    • Ashley McLaughlin

       /  May 29, 2011

      That sounds like a fun club. Lancaster doesn’t (to the best of my knowledge) have a club like that, but I know in Harrisburg there is at least one bar like that. I’d love to check that place out some time.

      Reply
  2. Sam

     /  May 29, 2011

    I’m soooo glad I got to see you!!! And I am flattered that I made it in your blog today. Really, I am so glad we could catch up and relax and meet new people together. It not only made me feel better to see you, I’m so happy it had the same effect on you too. Everyone was so nice and welcoming and it really made my evening. Hope to see you out and about again soon!!

    Reply
    • Ashley McLaughlin

       /  May 29, 2011

      Totally Sam! I was really nervous, and I didn’t talk to a whole lot of people, but I really enjoyed going out. Maybe next time I’ll try interacting with more people ^^ Sam, next time you are going out let me know, maybe I can tag along 🙂

      Reply
  3. Great information indeed. Friend on mine has been awaiting for this update.

    Reply
  4. Cindy

     /  May 31, 2011

    Hey Ashley, this is my first time reading your blog… I didn’t know you were a blogger. It’s awesome! I had a fabulous time, and it makes me feel great that you feel somewhat safer with me. I don’t believe in violence, in any form, but would protect you as I would with any friend of mine. I’m excited for next time! 🙂

    Reply
    • Ashley McLaughlin

       /  May 31, 2011

      Hey Cindy! Yes, I love my blog. Its a great way I can express things, maybe help people around me and people wherever understand where I’m coming from and what I’ve been through. I realize having a transgender person plopped down in your life can be a jarring experience, and I hope this blog can serve as a sort of guide to how to deal with it… And also, it is a great way for me to talk about some gender theory and queer theory 🙂

      Reply

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