October 24, 2014

This is Aliwe’en

So, one week from today I am Ali — officially, legally Ali. I am excited! So excited, in fact, that I wanted to come up with some way to share my excitement with all of you. And I’ve hit upon an awesome idea:


Short for “Alison’s Awesome Evening,” Aliwe’en  is going to be an event like no other. It’s going to be a celebration of the end of my social transition and a general ode to being trans. Since October 31st is now sort of like my second birthday and all, I figure that Aliwe’en can take place on 10/31 every year. It’s nothing too presumptuous; just a day for everyone to honor me and my life journey.

“But Ali,” you may ask, “How do I celebrate Aliwe’en?” Well, I’m glad you asked.

Celebration really doesn’t begin until twilight, since all my years of gender dysphoria were dark, frightening times for me. In fact, the whole tone of the celebration will be tinged with this darkness and fear. First, decorate your houses with horribe, monstrous things — zombies, vampires, werewolves, and tombstones — because gender dysphoria IS an ugly monster. I’m talking skeletons and spider webs everywhere, people! Don’t skimp on the fog machine.

Traditional Aliwe’en decorations. The witch represents a Gatekeeper restricting access to necessary medical intervention.

Second, I want all you cis people to wear costumes that night. Be someone — anyone! — other than yourself. Be a Devil or a Sexy Devil; be a Vampire or a Sexy Vampire; be Olaf or Sexy Olaf; anything goes! But you can’t be yourself, as I could not be myself all those years. And get the little cis kids to dress up, too, as I wore a costume for all of my childhood. They all need to feel what it’s like to be trans!

Okay, maybe making the kids dress up in horrible costumes is a little grim. We should lighten it up a bit — I know, candy! All the adults should go out and buy some candy that they can give to the kids, to try and lift the crushing weight of dysphoria in the same way trans people often seek out distractions from their despair. Plus, it will symbolize my love of candy (especially mini Snickers — mini Snickers are sacred on Aliwe’en). Yes! That’s a great idea!

Traditional Aliwe'en revelers sporting the horrific costumes representing hiding one's gender identity.
Traditional Aliwe’en revelers sporting the horrific costumes representing hiding one’s gender identity.

Hmm. It would seem kind of stupid though if parents just gave candy to their own kids. We may have to come up with some sort of ritual for the whole thing — maybe make the kids go door-to-door reciting some kind of chant or something. This ritual begging could be symbolic of the actual begging trans people have to do to get past gatekeepers (the adults) so they can get their HRT and other treatments (the candy). I’ll have to think about the specifics of the chant more and follow up in another post.

Halloween-jagged-teeth-jack-o-lanternOkay, next, I want everyone to go out to the stores and buy a pumpkin. This symbolizes my love of Pumpkin Spice Lattes. But I don’t want you to eat it; I want you to hollow it out and carve a face into it — faces of agony to represent all my years of dysphoria, or faces of joy to reflect how happy I will be next Friday. Put a candle in them and set them on your porch so that everyone can share in the grief and joy. If we could get everyone to do it, then people walking down the street in the dark could experience a rich tableau of my emotions.

Oh, wait! I just had an idea! What if the pumpkins were also part of the candy ritual? Maybe having a pumpkin outside your house is an indicator that you, too, are sharing in the dark emotions of Aliwe’en, and that the children have permission to come to your door and perform the ceremonial begging. Yeah, that just might work. Now we just gotta figure out that chant. Something short and pithy. It should probably rhyme, or at least alliterate.

Anyway, I’m hoping to build a groundswell of support for Aliwe’en. I don’t expect too much this year, but I hope to inspire at least a few families to try out this new holiday celebration. Think of it as exposing your children to new ideas and subcultures. Who knows? Maybe on Friday I will see one or two Aliwe’en revelers roaming the streets in costumes and begging for candy. That would really make me happy.

Besides, I don’t think anyone else has anything going on that night. 😉

Even Aliwe'en isn't immune to Christmas creep.
Even Aliwe’en isn’t immune to Christmas creep.

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