You should travel: it broadens your mind

Transfixed on a transgender future with my allegedly cisgender past (with all of it’s privileges, some real, some only assumed) behind me, a ludicrously long list of future crunch points flooded into my head, daring me to reconsider the inevitable. Transition once envisaged, though, is unstoppable. Only the pace is manageable to a certain extent. The only real levers are time and money. I see those envisaged crunch points as future reminders of the many inconveniences that will be brought into my life at some point by the petty small mindedness of others.

One of the crunch points that flashed before me was travel. It was hard for me to fathom, having lived in the on-the-whole-accepting-or-at-least-prepared-to-overlook Northern Rivers for 14 years, but I have now lost the privilege of being able to travel anonymously and unperceived in most places in Australia and overseas. Now it would be a gaolable criminal offence for me to even set foot out of a transiting plane in some countries. Of course this is a theoretical inconvenience to me. I can avoid these countries with only a little effort. I’m lucky: the trans folk living in those countries cannot. Personally, it’s the small minded Australians that I’m more concerned about. Having to think twice or thrice about my comfort levels, or even my personal safety, visiting family or friends is anathema to me, yet this is my new world.

Apparently I visited Lightning Ridge when I was a toddler. I don’t remember the visit, being so young at the time, so I’ve long wanted to return as an adult. It’s one of those iconic towns that you just ‘have to visit’. Or so I thought until recently. Two of my dearest friends recently visited Lightning Ridge on a deliberately rambling road trip. Curious as I was about what it was like, I messaged them asking for details of their trip. This was the response:

“Trip good. Lightning Ridge is a place that dines out on its proudly self-declared Fringe Society vibe but actually turns out to be as Centre socially as it is geographically. Yeh, not sure how ‘fringe’ the people really are: most blokes wear the regulation uniform red checker flannels and have huge ginger beards and beat-up Akubras, and most of the women are your typical salt-of-the-earth no-nonsense farmer’s wives Shazzers. It’s almost like they are conforming to a preconceived idea of a ‘rebel’ born of old Chips Rafferty black and white movies and ABC local dramas. Quite monoculture. No out gays, no goths, no skaters, no hippies, the indigenous are shunned and certainly no room for transgender ideas. A bit of a shit hole really. Oh well… off to Bourke tomoz.”

My travel bucket list just got one destination shorter. My intuition tells me that it’s going to get decidedly shorter, rather than longer.