Creative Nonfiction: Feeling Trans by Keagan Wheat

A complete transcript is below

Feeling Trans

by Keagan Wheat

  1. I sit at our family table next to Gavin, a trans guy in the thinnest tank top I’ve ever seen. He pushes up his sunglasses.

    I’m going to the pool for sure today.

    It’s been far too long, Jay adds.

    I cave to following the group to the pool.

    I agreed even though swimming had become draining. It was no longer a choice to wear a one-piece suit. It no longer felt like something simple and fun to do. At my age, it was weird to want to retrieve toys from the bottoms of pools. The depth popping my ears and removing most sound. Diving to the bottom with the slight pressure almost hugging me, always appealed more than doing laps or play fighting.

    This pool with exclusively queer and trans people didn’t feel like I needed context to understand. I took my shirt off quickly and awkwardly, as if I were trying to change shirts without anyone seeing much. I didn’t have another shirt though. I stood with my shoulders turned in wearing only powder blue trunks and a tan binder.

    I’ve never played catch like the most stereotypical college-age guys at a beach before. But Oliver brought a nerf ball to the pool. I played catch with two other transmen forming a triangle. Gavin taught someone how to throw a spiral after complimenting mine.

    Later at this pool, I hang on the edge talking to Gill about Halberstam. I complain about the only essay I’ve read from Halberstam, while Gill delves into some of their questionable actions. I’ve never had this long of a discussion about a theorist outside of a class.

     I need to take off my binder though, an awkward safety interruption. I grab my towel walking toward the exit, but I’m held up by Aden. They meet me, with stepping in front of me, grabbing my shoulders in an easy sort of way. They look into my eyes, I can tell even through their sunglasses.

    I’m so glad you ended up getting into the pool, they smile with all the conviction of someone who knows what keeps me from the pool.

    I’ve never smiled so easily without feeling it coming. I’ve never felt like I deserved someone else’s pride or appreciation.

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