A lot of things happen at PrideFest. Food, fun, music, information, shopping, and of course people watching. But this is the tale of a pink duckie.
With all the drama leading up to PrideFest and other things going on in my life I was just going to let this go and not comment about it. I figured I'd mention it at the next TRUE Group meeting. But after sobering up and sleeping on it I feel I was really not treated equally. At an event that's supposed to be about equality. At that moment, I was pretty buzzed and saw a shiny object and wanted it. Let me explain.
About 4pm, cool breeze, beautiful day. Day two of PrideFest at Holiday Park and War Memorial Auditorium in Ft. Lauderdale in full effect. I'm already on my second yard of frozen margarita with extra floater shot of tequila. Feeling pretty good physically, kind of emotionally bleh. Doing the walk through of the event to sign petitions, shop, sightsee. On a table at a tent with only a couple elderly ladies is a small pink duck. With a breast cancer ribbon on it. All pink and cute. I wanted it. I do not know why, but I really wanted it. So over I go. I don't call it staggering, but rather swaying in the wind. My brain had immediately acknowledged that the duck was for breast cancer but hadn't really connected that to the tent and everything else. So in my mind I still had no clue what the tent itself was about.
So now I'm standing there looking about the table. It's still not sunk in yet. So I ask the lady that greets me, "What do I have to do to get a pink duckie?" It was at this point I realized it was a breast cancer awareness thing and now I suddenly go from flaky buzzed I want a duckie mode to actually paying attention and wanting to know stuff.
See, since surgery I've had more than a few moments where I felt like I didn't know enough about my body anymore. I already asked doctors, friends, and family a ton of questions. I'd also signed up for an event called "Hoo-hoos, Coochies and Treasure Chests: An open discussion of Vaginal Health." I feel like I'm lacking 40 years worth of life experience and knowledge around my new parts. I probably feel that way because that's the way it is! I need to know more! I've had a lot of medical issues and 13 surgeries, and code blue three times and all of these horrific procedures and things. I am all about learning this sort of stuff.
Ok, so now I'm far less interested in the duckie and much more interested in what they have to teach me. She responds by telling me I can have a duckie if I learn how to do a breast exam and then gives me a piece of paper... I looked at it, read it. Was like ok... This is when I first sensed that she was giving off this I don't want to be bothered by you aura. I then started asking questions. First was if breast exams or mammograms were different or if there was anything different I need to do with implants. I got a rather reluctant explanation that it's more difficult with implants and that some doctors do MRI's instead of mammograms. So I felt like I learned something right there. I went on to explain that I've been through a lot of medical problems and just recently had my surgery and feel like I don't know enough and want to learn more because if anything were to happen I don't think I could handle it. She just sat there giving me this uncomfortable look. They had these breast form model things there with lumps inside to feel to try and learn. I had to do it myself, she didn't explain what to do or anything. I felt awkward even doing it with her and now her two friends, sitting there clearly giving me the brush off.
The uncomfortable awkwardness eventually overtook my quest for knowledge and I just wanted to leave there. This is when I gave up trying to learn and asked, "Can I have a duckie now?" She replied, "yes, you can have a duck." In an obviously annoyed tone. And I quickly left their table to continue my day.
So their entire purpose there was to teach people how to do a self breast exam and hand out fliers. I did not learn much beyond what the fliers that I had to pick up myself told me. I can't help but leave feeling it was a "lesbian women discriminating against transwomen" thing. Whether it was or not who knows. I got the pink duckie though!