I didn't realize that Liam thought of our conversation as a date until he walked me home.
Outside my apartment, he caught my eyes dead-on, hoping for a kiss.
I tried to give him a formal handshake, but he wrapped me up in a hug that stopped my train of thought. "Catch ya next time," he said, grinning as he walked away. I hadn't expected him to come on to me, or that I would like it. I had never dated a woman before, let alone a transgender man.
And I didn't know how to brush Liam off without making it about his genitals: "Sorry, if you were born a guy, I'd be totally interested, but …?
For him, that meant using a new name and wearing a binder—a tight, meshy undershirt—to tamp down his chest. I felt myself drawn to Liam's frankness, so when he asked me to lunch, I said yes. That next Monday, we met at a café near my apartment.
For two hours, we talked about politics and bad TV, how I missed my hometown of Chicago, and his dream to work as a legal advocate for other transgender people, who face rampant discrimination.
, I expected to do some crazy things for love: get wrapped up in a lover's drug-smuggling ring, perhaps, or steal a rival's yacht.
"Of course," I said, posturing behind my liberalism and years of gender studies classes. While I'd met other transgender people, Liam was the first to come out to me directly. He played rough sports, worked construction, and trained his voice to sound deeper.
I felt like I was handed a live grenade—weren't confessions like that supposed to be explosive? Now that he was an adult, he could finally live as a man. In truth, I was in awe of the idea of totally reinventing yourself.