20 January 2008

Martha, Martha, Martha...

As I spent two consecutive nights at two different transgender nightlife venues in the Los Angeles area, I kept thinking of how I need to formulate Martha, given Martha's secret past as a sex worker.

The first night was spent, as before, at West Hollywood's Club 7969, a place where the working girls pick up their customers; because of this, the atmosphere is very business-like, with not much room given for socializing (it didn't prevent me from exchanging a few hellos anyway, including with the tall, attractive bartender). I also came across a community member, who advised me of a "more sociable" transgender hangout in San Fernando Valley. With my brand-new iPhone, I checked the website out, and emailed myself the website address so that I could follow up.

Last night and the wee hours of this morning were spent at the said hangout, Oxwood Inn, a lesbian bar with two transgender nights a week. The crowd was diverse, including many part-time crossdressers and a good number of full-time girls; even the fashion preferences of the transwomen here were much more to my liking. (My "Ally McLesbian" miniskirt suit worked very well here.) And yes, indeed it was very sociable here, with lots of hellos, dances, and more. Although a few of the Club 7969 girls trickled in here as well, they were not well liked by the regulars here, with some of whom I spent an hour or so socializing at a nearby diner. At the diner, we indeed spent a lot of time talking about the working girls, their difficult backgrounds, and the resulting bitterness/roughness they often have - excellent discussion for my character Martha. (My iPhone did some duty here as well, picking up two more transgender websites.)

How will I formulate Martha? I already know that her first encounter with Sarah will be on the flight to the flight attendant training center. It will be a very awkward experience for Sarah, for sure, since Martha will not be very friendly. It won't be until a few weeks into the training, that I will have Martha start speaking to Sarah, and only toward the end of the training, will Martha start spilling the beans (and even get intimate with Sarah to a degree). And Martha, like the vast majority of transwomen I've come across in the past two days, will have a very low voice that gives away her transgender background - and this will eventually prove fatal in NYC, where she will be killed by a Jamaican taxi driver.

As for Sarah herself, she won't be able to get into these hangouts until age 21, but once she hits 21, I do expect her to gain information on Bay Area transgender hangouts from the likes of Carla's boutique, and visit a few of them. She may not like the crossdressers too much, but she will still find a niche for herself, as the baby dyke of the crowd.

And lastly, for me, it was priceless to get to know the transgender hangouts and online groups that I could tap into; these were resources that I had had no way of knowing until now. I will certainly look forward to a future visit to the Oxwood Inn.

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