One summer, several of the other boys in the neighborhood and I decided to make a tree house in the woods. In spite of the fact that I was a known faggot, the other boys either didn’t care or thought they knew better because we had all grown up together. I passed a zillion sissy tests to prove how tough I was—jumping off this, riding my bike over that, setting fire to something else. Perhaps they were even titillated by the idea of my being a cock sucker. In any case, they never gave me any shit about it. Not far from our neighborhood, there was a plant that manufactured rubber products and behind it were huge stacks of wooden pallets with piles of rubber mats on them. We dragged a bunch of the pallets through the woods and constructed ourselves a tri-level tree house that you could stand up in, with a roof. We decided to line our tree house with the rubber mats to keep the cold weather out, so we nailed them inside and outside the pallets with about three inches in between for insulation. Our tree house had a door and a window, a mattress and a cooler. Once finished, it became Michael’s and my regular spot for after-school sex.

One day, when we were thirteen, Michael was hit by a car and broke his leg. Going up to the tree house became impossible. I would have to visit him at his house, a place I generally avoided due to the tension with his older brother. Although I wasn’t exactly his mother’s favorite person in the world, she seemed to be softening to me, as I was the only one of Michael’s friends who came to visit him on a regular basis when, due to his crutches, he was unable to pursue his Dudley Do-Right lifestyle of delivering papers, mowing lawns, and all the other activities that made him shine so brightly in the eyes of the neighborhood adults. His mother thought it was nice that I would come and keep him company. He would make himself comfortable on a bean-bag chair in the TV room with his leg elevated and I would sometimes give him blow jobs when he was in that position, making sure that I was positioned in just the right spot so that I could lean on his leg and make him scream in pain while I was sucking his dick, just so he knew who was in charge.

In the evening his parents were usually in the TV room, so we would go up to Michael’s room and do “homework.” It was a Sunday night and Michael was in bed with his leg on a cushion. He had just gotten a new Sonny and Cher record and we struck a deal that I would suck him for ten minutes and then he had to suck me for ten minutes while we listened to side one. He had gotten a new digital clock for Christmas and it was right by his bed. Trust me when I tell you I had my mouth on his cock and my eyes on the clock. As soon as my ten minutes were up I took a standing position next to his bed because his leg wouldn’t bend and I was six minutes into my blow job when I heard a rustling in the hallway and there stood Evelyn Hunter with a look of shock and rage such as I’d never seen. Her teased and frosted hair went paler in the dark shadows of the hallway and her voice bellowed out, “What are you doing!? No . . . I don’t want to know. Get out! Get out!” She became hysterical, and told me to never set foot in her house again. She screamed at me as I zipped up my pants, “I should call your mother right now!”

“Don’t call my mother!”

“Well, will you tell her what happened?”

“Yes, I’ll tell her as soon as I get home.”

“And you tell her that this time it was your fault, you sick freak!”

“Yes, I will,” I replied in tears. “Just don’t call her. I’ll tell her, I promise.”

Mrs. Hunter had no reason to doubt me as I had already confessed to having sex with her other son a few years earlier. As I rode my bike home in the cool fall air, it suddenly occurred to me that I didn’t need to tell my mother anything. I thought, what’s Mrs. Hunter going to say? “I caught my son sucking your son’s dick.” I didn’t think she would do that even though I almost wished she would. This was a very liberating moment. I’d been honest with my mother and hoped for understanding once before and as far as I was concerned she had ruined my life with her hysterical response. If I hadn’t been honest with her then, I wouldn’t be in this jam I was in now, so I resolved to keep this latest development to myself. Once again, I was riding off into the future feeling like the worst was behind me. I also resolved never to have sex with Michael Hunter again, but of course, I did.

Mx Bond, you’re so pretty! Have you always been this pretty?

Well, thank you for noticing! I’ve probably always been this pretty, it’s just that lately I feel so damned good about myself. I, uh, think it must have something to do with my insides. They say beauty is on the inside. I don’t know what’s in there, but whatever it is, it’s really trying to get out.

 

Tango: My Childhood, Backwards and in High Heels, is your first book. Did you imagine that your first book would be published by the Feminist Press?

No. I didn’t. I was fairly certain it would be published by Simon and Schuster. When I was a kid I heard of Simon and Schuster, because Carly Simon’s father ran it, and she was a big pop star. I thought it would be fun to run around with a group of friends who were really into music, who read books, and who had access to great drugs. But now, I’ve discovered, most rock stars are old and tired and feminism is where it’s at. Carly Simon is still fierce, but there is no other publisher that could impress me more than the Feminist Press at this point.

 

Your book is about your childhood between the ages of 11 and 16. Considering your lifestyle, how can you remember back that far?

Oh, my, what an interesting question! It’s true that I may suffer severe memory loss incurred during certain periods of time in my life, but I recently read an article about Alzheimer’s, and in it the reporter told me that most Alzheimer’s patients can remember nearly every song they learned when they were around 13 years of age so odds are our childhoods remain with us—at least our 13th year—and it’s a good thing, because I was 13 when I was de-flowered in a tree house!  You can read more about that in my book. Anyway, because of this theory, I think there’s a pretty good chance most of the memories in this book are correct. It was a difficult time in my life; I don’t think anyone remembers puberty as their greatest moment, and because it is a very specific time period, it doesn’t give a general overview of my relationship with my parents, which has for the most part, been very positive. But, I’m glad it seems to be resonating with a lot of other trans and queer people.

 

When you wrote this book were you writing it as a way of illustrating life from a trans-child’s perspective?

No, that’s the funny thing. I’ve been surprised by how many people have picked up on the book as being written from a trans-child’s point of view. At the time I didn’t think of myself as a trans-child, I just thought of myself as being me and I was telling the story of myself and a boy who grew up in my neighborhood who, like me, was diagnosed with mental health issues later in life that I believed were there all along. In telling this story, I was looking back through the lens of someone who had recently been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder. I consciously chose to leave a lot about my experience as a transgendered person out of the book because that part seemed to me to be another story altogether. Evidently, I was wrong. I now realize the fact that I am a trans-person makes it obvious that my story would be perceived as being told by one. But at the time I was writing I wasn’t thinking in those terms.

 

You’ve said in previous interviews that your favorite fictional heroine is Mariah Wyeth from Joan Didion’s book, Play It As It Lays. What’s so great about her?

I like that Mariah Wyeth experiences a lot of what I aspired to as a child: living in Hollywood, having a handsome husband, being beautiful, a movie star. These were things I thought would make me happy when I was growing up in a small conservative town in western Maryland. But when I read Play It As It Lays, I realized that wasn’t necessarily true. Mariah in the end came to the determination that nothing mattered. This may seem like a bleak outlook, but I think that once you realize that nothing really matters, you are free to decide which things actually matter to you and invest your time and energy in them. You are able to write your own story and are free to attach importance and relevance to whatever you choose as you tell yourself the story of who you are and what your life is all about. I don’t necessarily agree with all of Joan Didion’s ideas or perspectives, but I’m grateful that by creating the character of Mariah Wyeth, she gave me that insight. Now my life is a story that I tell myself and I don’t feel that I have to be annexed or oppressed by the stories other people choose to inhabit regarding their own beliefs or how they choose to perceive me.

 

Oh My Goddess, Mx Bond! That is so intense. How do you come up with this stuff?

Well, I spend a lot of time thinking… but, I don’t get too carried away. I think it’s important to remain in the shallow end of the pool, otherwise you are likely to drown yourself. Just because you know how to swim, doesn’t mean you always have to get your hair wet. Can I say that off all the people who’ve ever interviewed me, you are my absolute favorite?

 

Why thanks, Mx Bond. I’m glad you’re not one of those tortured, conflicted writers who thinks it is important to impress everybody with how miserable you are.

Oh, no. I save the misery and depression for those who know me best. Namely my cat, Pearl, who has a very stoic nature and my most significant other, who has a tremendous capacity to tune me out when I get to be too ridiculous. And if the going gets to be too much, if I really need a break, I just get out of the house and go look at shoes. Shoes always cheer me up.

 

Wasn’t it shoes that got you into all this trouble in the first place?

Yes, in fact it was. If my grandmother hadn’t had such a fantastic shoe collection, it would have taken me a lot longer to discover that my impulses were not “gender appropriate.” Who knows? I might have ended up some tragic looter, raiding Footlockers instead of the glamorous lady authoress you are speaking with today. And let’s face it, in the end of the day, life isn’t about misery and sneakers, it’s about love and high heels.

 

Well said, Mx Bond!

Thank you.