Discover more from Bricks, Wigs, and Gay Crimes
I’m the Last Starving Queen
In the West Village...
I’m Not Leaving
I live in an interesting neighborhood. Greenwich Village, where pride began. Down the street from me, on the corner, Marsha P. Johnson used to beg for money so she had enough to give other trans femmes. “Spare change for a starving queen”, she’d say. Sylvia Rivera lived on the water two blocks away from my building. In a makeshift tent. This was where they found the body of Marsha P. Johnson and where Sylvia Rivera was later evicted from a makeshift shelter.
I’m taking up space in a place where I, just like Sylvia, am constantly being evicted. Just like Sylvia, I’m not moving until they throw me out. I’m not going anywhere. My people fought for me and for the queers coming after me, on these streets. They bled here, they cried and their blood and tears were baked into this pavement. I can’t afford to live here and neither could they.
This is the place where Joanne and I made our baby come to life. Through all the trials and struggles, I truly felt their spirits were walking with me. I would sit near the river, the same river they did, and consider what my life would be if I continued to live it. Surrounded by designer dogs and designer faces, I knew I was among a class of people who didn’t include me or many of the people I love.
I live in one of the most expensive neighborhoods on earth but I’m not among the wealthiest. I’m in the lower middle class level of the wealth spectrum, but I’m very fortunate, compared to some of my peers who have been devastated by recessions, wars, pandemics, on top of general capitalist greed, racism, and phobias. I’ve somehow managed to squeak by doing odd jobs and training average people to have the body of a professional MMA fighter. I honestly don’t know how I’m still making it, but here I am.
I’m a brown, millennial, transgender woman, living where I statistically don’t belong.
Every time I walk into my luxury apartment, I feed the bottomless pockets of my corporate landlord with most of my income. A small drop in the lake for them but the entire reservoir for me. I look at my cis white neighbors in the face and say with my eyes, “YES. YOU LIVE NEXT TO A TRANNY. What are you going to do about it?” I sit through play dates with my kid and the kids of the rich, knowing I’m going to teach her why they are rich (spoiler: the answer is not hard work). Joanne and I both work a lot to sustain this but it’s worth it. It’s my current version of activism.
I’m a sheep living in a wolf's den. I’m the fish living inside a shark's mouth. Or more accurately, I’m the last starving queen in the West Village. At least—I feel like it.