Monday, May 15, 2017

20 Years of Amnesia

​20 yeas ago today my femme persona Amnesia Sparkles was born, but first...

One sassy Mouseketeer

I was born in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1979.


Holding a lollipop as if I was applying lipstick 

I was assigned male at birth but as far back as I remember I always felt somewhat feminine inside.

Crossing my legs like a lady from an early age.


My older brother was into soccer, I was into drawing and pretty much anything artsy. I remember sitting next to mother while we enjoyed fashion shows on TV, a much more enjoyable pastime than getting all sweaty on the soccer field.


Making a boy pose with a soccer ball does not 
automatically make him masc. 

I grew up in the 1980s. This means my brother was into G.I. Joe and I was into He-man...but I secretly wanted to play with Barbies. Lucky for me He-Man had a twin sister named She-Ra. Both of them had alter-egos, something that looking back I'm guessing, my subcounsious unknowingly gravitated torwards.

You can imagine my delight when on my 7th birthday my parents gave me a She-Ra action figure! Sure, it was no Barbie but at least I could start living out and expressing my internal female emotions through her.

The look of utter joy while holding a She-Ra 
action figure on my 7th birthday


Let us skip the painful puberty years, with the relentless teasing from other boys because my legs were unable to grow hair.  I guess I was a late bloomer?

The serious eyes of a 12 year old


Let us flash forward to my teen years.


Growing out my hair at age 14

As most crossdressers do, I used Halloween as an excuse to express my internal female emotions without fear of judgement. One year I dressed as the archetype sideshow half man half woman. The next year I found the courage to go all female and dressed similar to Wendy from Peter Pan in her night gown. It was cute and something that would garner a laugh, but for me it was an excuse to again express the female emotions I had inside.

My last year in High School would bring with it a couple of life changing experiences.  Some were thrilling and some were very challenging for a 17-18 year old.

In 1997 during my Senior year in a South Florida High School, Student Council for the very first time held a "Crossdressing Beauty Pageant" as a fund raiser.  The short version of the story is that I entered and won the damn thing.  I even walked away with the title of "Best Legs."  I guess this time my smooth legs worked towards my advantage.  The pageant that year was called the Ms. Thang Pageant.  Later they would change the name to the Miss Her-cules Pageant.

My sposor and friend Diana and I after winning


The prior year I had come out of the closet about liking boys to a lesbian named Harvest.  I lived a double life for a while.  I was OUT about my sexual orientation in school but I was very much in the closet at home.  All that changed my senior year when one weekend while I was at my cousin's house some jerk called my house in the middle of the night.  My mother picked up the phone and the jerk proceeded to tell her that her son was a "faggot."  When I got home my mother confronted me and after many tears she told me she still loved me and that I was still her son.

Posing with my girls from Spanish class 
after winning the crown

Being that my mother went to beauty school I decided to ask her to help me win the Crossdressing Beauty Pageant.  We went shopping and got a dress at the Lord and Taylor discount store, a cheap wig at a thrift shop, and some hideous shoes at Payless.  My mother even did my makeup the night of the Pageant.  For all the silly things I held against her while I was growing up she more than made up for it by helping me win my first beauty pageant.  If only more mothers had that level of unconditional love.  She, in my eyes, is the real winner.

My little sister stares at my legs outside the auditorium 
after I won the crown

It took more than my mother's help for me to win that night.  I always credit my friend and pageant sponsor Diana for helping me come up with the name Amnesia.  That alone is a fun story for another blog.  The short version is that when I said to Diana that my femme self's personality was a bit like Goldie Hawn in the show Laugh-in, and that it wasn't that I had a dumb femme side but more like I'm a blonde that forgets things, Diana said "Like she has AMNESIA?"  BINGO!

You must understand and remember that in 1997, when the pageant took place, there was no YouTube where gender fluid folks like myself could see ourselves represented.  Sure, Rupaul had already made a splash in pop culture and Ellen had just come out of the closet on her show a few weeks prior, but for a low graded High School to hold a crossdressing beauty pageant where folks like myself could express our inner femme-self in front of our peers was incredibly progressive.  The fact that the auditorium was filled with my classmates cheering-me-on AND the faculty's duty that night was to pick the winner, gives you a glimpse of the magic that took place that evening.

Oh, and you want to know one more crazy thing?  Guess who got the runner up title?  My ex-boyfriend at the time took the runner-up title!  There were only three known contestants that didn't identify as heterosexual,  me, my ex, and one other contestant.  All the other contestants in the pageant were macho basketball and football players playing dress-up for laughs.  I like to believe that the faculty, who judged the pageant that night, recognized our struggle and rewarded our bravery of going in front of our peers to show, with confidence, the femme-self we had kept deep inside.  What they did as a community was more beautiful than any pageant contestant that night.

My ex-boyfriend during the evening gown portion of the pageant


My mother cried tears of joy that night seeing her little "girl" win and be accepted by the community. My father and my then ten year old sister who were in the audience as well looked at me with a spark of pride in their eyes even under the unusual circumstances.

It was then I realized that the world, as ugly as it may seem sometimes, can offer you brief moments of humanity's beauty, kindness, and acceptance.  I will forever be grateful for that magical night and the folks that made it a reality.





But that was just the beginning.

Amnesia Sparkles 2017