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Where This Transgender Artist Goes to Cry in San Francisco

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I was always taught that people might not remember who you are, but they will remember how you make them feel. That’s a terrifying maxim for someone as emotional and anxious as I am. Please forget our first interaction, it was probably terrible. 

The same isn’t true for places. There are so many singular San Francisco destinations for heightening a mood. The right locale can make it impossible to forget where you were or what you were doing when your emotions ran high. When I want a good cry, and lately there’s been a lot to cry about for transgender folks, sometimes I take to the city and let my feelings run wild. Here’s a list of memorable locations for me. And, in the words of the late trans visionary Sophie, “it’s okay to cry.”

In bed 

I was curled up in bed when I read about the recent legislation targeting transgender youth health care. I was also curled up when I learned about the drag ban in Tennessee and when I heard the sound clip of CPAC calling for our “eradication.” The news often feels like my worst nightmare, so I might as well be on my Tempur-Pedic mattress while I read about how much people want to erase me and those I love. 

A photo of Mission Street.

Mission Street works as good as any place to have a cry. (Google Maps)

Mission Street 

I had just seen Everything, Everywhere, All at Once at Alamo Drafthouse on Mission Street and was unprepared for the feelings the movie created. I slouched towards Market Street and ducked into the Sycamore to soothe my raw nerves with a lesbian bartender who was herself trying to get over heartbreak caused by a bisexual pirate. 

A photo of buses.

Why not cry on the bus? (Giorgio Trovato)

The 44 Line

I was sitting at the back of the bus when a man began to describe, in violent detail, the things he wanted to do to me because I’m non-binary. He threatened to drag me off the bus and hurt me, getting louder when he noticed my eyes were watering. I hoped he was mostly hot gas, and he got off a few stops later without incident. I was proud of myself for holding my composure, but I still remember the silence of every cisgender person around me. 

The Bison Paddock in Golden Gate Park is a must-see. (Jonathan Mast)

The Bison Paddock in Golden Gate Park 

I don’t understand why they’re there, so when I’m feeling out of place in life I take an edible and try to find the bison. With my terrible sense of direction, it’s an adventure and I might shed some existential tears along the way. If I don’t find them, I’ll hit the beach eventually and I’ve walked out most of my lachrymosity. 

With the ever-constant and increasing attacks on transgender existence, it’s important for us to let the tears flow. San Francisco can also often feel hostile to transgender folks and we often have to make our spaces to exist. So cry, and we can hold each other close. And cisgender folks, start protesting. Write your legislators. Donate to transgender organizations like 2 Hot 4 Hoodies. Be a space for your transgender friends to feel safe and relax. 

Matthew Beld is a trans non-binary writer and comedian who lives in San Francisco. They work in queer public health research and they love stories about gender, health, and sexuality.

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