• Zoe Kerr

TRACY & ASHLEY



TRACY (22) sits with a notepad in front of him as he takes notes, trying to keep up with the fast pace of his interviewee, ASHLEY (21).


ASHLEY

You know I really think that some guys are emotionally stunted because they didn’t have younger siblings or they weren’t expected to care for their younger siblings because that’s considered to be a girl’s job, you know? Like, it’s the sister’s job to be the babysitter or third parent, which was totally my experience. Like, I’m only now starting to hang out with my siblings as like, sister and sibling rather than like, second mom and weird non-child child. Like I had this boyfriend that refused to take the dishes to the kitchen from my bedroom—we ate in the bedroom because he was allergic to my cats and so I locked them out of my room and I swear it was never the same with them but anyway—so he refused to take dishes to the kitchen, and I was like, ‘Hey, what’s up with that?’ And he was like, ‘What do you mean?’ And I was like, ‘You just left, like, two plates and a glass and a bunch of silverware on the bedside table, and now I’m gonna have to clean that up.’ And he literally says he didn’t even notice. Like, what? You didn’t notice your grubby stack of gross dishes that’s gonna collect ants? You just didn’t notice? And I was like, ‘Oh my god, you’re an only child so your mommy just cleaned up after you and now I’m your mommy, ewewewew, please leave so I can snuggle my poor neglected Dilute Calico baby…’ Anyway. What was the question again? I totally went on a tangent…


TRACY

Do you ever feel undermined as a...woman in a STEM field?


ASHLEY

OH! Not really. I like all my classmates and they like me. My department head thinks I’m a card. That’s what she always says, ‘You’re such a card, Ashley!’ It’s hysterical.


TRACY

Oh, that’s an interesting word, actually! How do you feel about demeaning gendered language?


ASHLEY

Like what? Hysterical? Like, ‘You’re acting hysterical, get a hold of yourself, woman!’


TRACY

Yes! Or ‘Are you on your period?’ Just to name an example.


ASHLEY

I mean, I don’t have a period.


TRACY

No, I just mean, how do you feel when men say things like that to you?


ASHLEY

Um. I don’t really care, to be honest.


TRACY

What if an authority figure said that to you?


ASHLEY

I just put them on my mental list of people not to trust and move along. Like, you’re definitely not going on my list of people to thank during my Nobel Prize acceptance speech! Ha.


TRACY

You don’t feel hurt or betrayed?


ASHLEY

I kind of look at gendered insults like a kindergartner said it to me. Like, they’re a little baby, give ‘em time and maybe they’ll age out of it.


TRACY

Don’t you feel as though that’s excusing grown men who use demeaning language toward women?


ASHLEY

I mean, that’s...No. I don’t. Because I think it only affects you as much as you let it.


TRACY

Oh. That’s just an interesting point considering...Yeah, alright.


ASHLEY

What’s so interesting? About it?


TRACY

I just think it’s interesting that you’re kind of...blaming women for their negative experiences with men.


ASHLEY

I am a woman. So I’m not really blaming women, I’m just sharing my experience as a woman.


TRACY

Sure. Let’s move on to...nope, I don’t have any further questions.


ASHLEY

It looked like you had one? I can see one with a star next to it?


TRACY

No, no, forget it, I think we’re done here—


ASHLEY

Oh, come on, Tracy. I’m an open book, let’s not end the interview like this—


ASHLEY reaches for the notepad and snags it, grinning. TRACY leans back and grimaces while ASHLEY reads.


TRACY

I didn’t mean anything by it, I swear.


ASHLEY

Wow. ‘Do you think your views on femininity and womanhood are colored by your time spent as a man?’


TRACY

I was going to rephrase it to be more politically correct when I spoke to you.


ASHLEY

How?


TRACY

Um...Do you think your perspective on womanhood has been affected by your early experiences as a transgender woman, pre-transition and post?


ASHLEY

You know, I’ve never been a man.


TRACY

I know.


ASHLEY

I’ve always been a woman, my body just didn’t match my heart. And my soul. And now it does.


TRACY

I promise I wasn’t trying to hurt you.


ASHLEY

So why do you want to interview me, if you think of me as a former man? Pretty sure that goes against the parameters of your assignment.


TRACY

I don’t...I guess if I were to really think about it, I wanted to interview you because you have a unique perspective, and I thought my gender studies professor would like that.


ASHLEY

You’re in it for the GPA boost?


TRACY

I mean, I’m pretty sure you said yes because you wanted free coffee.


ASHLEY

I had to work really hard for my transition, you know. I thought maybe you understood that, like sensitively and honestly. I was excited when you asked to interview me because you said you were supposed to interview a member of the opposite gender identity as you...I thought you just, like, accepted me. That’s why I said yes.


TRACY looks away, ashamed. He starts to put his notepad away and throws down a couple bucks.


TRACY

I should go.


ASHLEY

No.


TRACY

I’m sorry?


ASHLEY

No, you don’t get to leave this situation. You feel bad, so you’re trying to leave, and you may not realize it, but what you’re really doing is asking me to reassure you that you’re not actually a bad person and that you just weren’t thinking. Here’s the thing that you’re not recognizing: By leaving in such a state of discomfort and fear without apologizing, that puts the onus on me to reassure your little cisgender straight man heart that you’re a good ally when so far you’ve been kind of stupid. So you’re gonna stay and you’re gonna be uncomfortable. But we’re gonna finish this interview. Capisce?


TRACY

Yes.


ASHLEY

And just by the way, I may choose to not confront men that make me feel badly about my gender or my gender identity, but that doesn’t mean I never do. It means I know how to pick my battles. And I think this could be a really nice learning experience for you.


TRACY

Yeah.


ASHLEY

Well, are you gonna ask me your question or not?


TRACY nods, stunned. He pulls out his notepad again.


TRACY

Do you think your perspective on womanhood has been affected by your early experiences as a transgender woman, pre-transition and post?


ASHLEY

I’m so glad you asked, Tracy. I have this philosophy that has seen me through some, like, really dark times. It’s like when Eleanor Roosevelt said that no one can make you feel inferior without your consent, you know?


FADE TO BLACK.



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