25 October 2005

In search of transgender nightlife

One of the things I've wanted to do in recent months, to allow myself to meet other transgender women for my own well-being and for developing Sarah (and her first girlfriend Martha), has been to explore the transgender nightlife scene in the Los Angeles area. I'm a complete newbie to the scene, at least here in Los Angeles, so I have a lot to learn.

To start off, I spent last night in West Hollywood, at the venerable lesbian bar named The Palms; since I also identify with the lesbian community (and so do my characters), it was a very appropriate venue. It was Monday night, so it was slow, but it was a relaxed pool/karaoke night where lesbians, transgender women, and their admirers could mix freely. As soon as I entered, I started chatting right away with a tall African-American lesbian named Rhonda, and ended up having a good night's chat with her acquaintances. Once a glass of Heineken loosened me up, I ended up taking a shot at the karaoke machine, singing Mariah Carey's "Hero" - I sounded horrible, but at least I could hit most of the high notes. Next time, I'll probably honor the lesbian theme and sing Melissa Etheridge's "Come to My Window."

At the Palms, Mondays and Wednesdays are unofficial transgender nights. I wonder how Wednesday, with a dance format, would go.

Another place I need to check out will be Club 7969, also in West Hollywood. Its transgender nights are Mondays and Fridays, and it is frequented by working girls and johns. Although I remember Trannie Chaser at Nowbar back in NYC in the late 1990s, where I could watch some transgender lap dancers in action, it's been a long time, and I could definitely use a refresher. Since Martha spent her late teens as a sex worker, I want to explore the working girls' world and be familiar with it. I will need to come up with a "slut" look that will allow me to blend into the crowd without going overboard.

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