By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
The beard that used to grow on Jessica's face is threatening to return, she admits, although there is no outward sign of the few stray whiskers that have recently begun to reappear. "Since I am in the United States, I don't take any hormones—no prescription and too expensive," she explains. "But I go to laser treatments." She'll be going to Mexico for a visit soon. "I can get hormones there," she says.
The maintenance of her femininity will never end, Jessica says, but she considers the effort worth it. "This is who I am," she says. "I don't want to return to a man. I have never wanted to. I will never want to." She pauses. "But I do want to get the silicone out of my cheeks," she says.
At its essence, Jessica doesn't see how her effort and commitment to her appearance differs much from anybody else who wears makeup, gets cosmetic surgery, styles or dyes their hair, takes vitamin supplements or anti-depressants—anything to enhance or maintain the identity they think of as their own.
"I don't wish I was born a woman," she says. "I'm not going to have surgery to cut off my dick. I like my sex. It is me. Yes, it makes me different, okay? Everybody else is a woman or a man, a woman or a man. I get to have two sexes—maybe 30 percent the man and 70 percent the woman, but it adds up to 100 percent, okay?"
Jessica misses her family, too, who over the years have come to accept her appearance and way of life. "No more problems," she says. "They were worried when I was very young—because I was very young, you know? But now, they say, 'It's your life. It's your problem and your decision. You are adult. We don't care.'"
There is also the matter of straightening out her legal status in the U.S. Her visa has expired, and Jessica doesn't want to lose the life she is building here. "I want this country to be my home," she says. "My big dream was to live in the United States. I am here. Now, I don't have too much other dreams. Only to be happy."
True love? Jessica is a little cynical about that right now. Marriage?
"No, no thank you!" she says. "I told you—I want to be happy."
Jessica's experiences in relationships with men—most recently, with her ex-boyfriend—wounded her. "Because somebody break my heart, I don't want a boyfriend again, anymore," she says. "I was looking for one boyfriend forever, but like I say: you get a boyfriend, and you leave, and he fucks your friend. I don't do that. If I have a boyfriend, it is only him—nobody else. I look for a boy who is dedicated. I looking for that."
Finding a mate would seem to be more difficult as a transsexual, but Jessica disagrees.
"You have ever been in love? Married? Did it last?" she asks. "Maybe not. How do you feel then? See, it is a problem for everybody—nothing special for a transsexual. One time ago, somebody break your heart, now it is scary. This is true for everybody. It's okay. I don't feel alone. I have my kitty. My kitty loves me. And I love myself."
That's what she feels will carry her through a life that will likely remain a subject of others' scrutiny, judgment and comment.
"Some people, when they see me, they still yell, 'Faggot! Faggot!'" she says. "Before, that hurt me. Not anymore. Now, they say, 'Faggot!' and I don't care. I say, 'Okay, I am a faggot. Everybody is something.' I tell them, 'I know what I am.' I ask them, 'Do you know what you are?'"