19 February 2010

A trans bike chick

No, she doesn't do any competitive cycling. She designs and makes bicycles.

One of my real-life friends, who goes by the name Beth Spring, is an expert in bicycle design and manufacturing. In fact, she's written a book on it, and I can easily buy her book at online bookstores; however, she authored it under her boy name, which I will not give out. Unfortunately she is not in a position to go fulltime with her true identity, given her frequent trips to her suppliers in Shanghai. Her boy name, for now, remains her legal identity.

But nevertheless it's glad to know that one of the experts in bicycle manufacture is not only a transwoman, but also a good friend of mine.

Before Beth frequented China, her suppliers were in Japan and Taiwan, and she frequented those countries often also, even falling in love in Japan. Frequent business trips to those countries, plus a bit of additional time spent in South Korea, has made her very knowledgeable in and appreciative of East Asian cultures, and that's made for many interesting conversations between her and me. Here is a Westerner who likes East Asia and her peoples, not out of a sexual fetish, but out of a good level of understanding and respect.

(Surprisingly, she has not visited Hong Kong just yet. In turn, she finds it surprising that I have never visited Japan either.)

Beth has some parallels to Sarah. Beth is a dark blonde, but her hair can be reddish on occasion. And Beth does most of her transpacific flying on Sarah's airline - so much so, that she's on pace to become a Million Miler at United Airlines in the next year or two. And of course, Beth is a hardcore lesbian. Aside from being older, and a passenger rather than a flight attendant, Beth may as well be a carbon copy of Sarah.

Beth, in her spare time, entertains people as the bassist at BlindDog Wanders, an all-transgender band that formed last year. This is a great band - I am also good friends with Laura Gonzales, the guitarist/songwriter. Hoping to see more of the band soon. For now, I've shared some details about Sarah and my novel progress with Beth, and hope to share the full story with her before long.

Beth now keeps in touch with me primarily via Facebook. And speaking of Facebook, I have now set my searchable alternate name as "Sarah Allyson Radcliffe" - I did make it clear that Sarah is the name of my novel protagonist rather than myself, but by using Sarah's name as an alternate name, I am making another step toward getting back in the novel mood. And indeed, I do need to become Sarah to a large degree, even learning to fake her friendly personality that's a must for her job.

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