The Oakland A's host their annual Pride Night on Tuesday, June 14, 2016.
June 17, 2015, I made my way down Highway 80 from Sacramento to that shining oasis the Athletics call home: the Oakland Coliseum. The A's were throwing their first Pride night and I stumbled my way into a ticket to the game. That was the first game I had ever gone to as Jamie. The A's dropped 16 runs on the San Diego Padres and walked out with a 16-2 win.
Almost a year later, I found myself back in Oakland, back at the Coliseum, enjoying an afternoon game between the A's and the Detroit Tigers. The sun beat down on my friends and me - Billy Butler started the rout with a home run. The A's strolled out of the Coliseum with a 12-3, and I strolled out with a renewed confidence in the A's fan base and after watching another double-digit win happen at a game I attended.
I reminisced about how just a year ago I was sitting in the same section as I had at last year's Pride Night. I thought back to the first time I had used a women's restroom, which happened to be in that stadium. Given the recent issues with North Carolina's HB2 law, proposed legislation in many other states, and the Curt Schilling fiasco, this strikes me as a little more than significant.
Yet, as I was getting ready for that game against the Tigers, I fell back into old ways: I chose to go in jeans and a T-shirt. No makeup. No wig. No outward sign that I'm transgender, aside from my nails being done.
My friends support me and have gone out of their way to make me feel comfortable. The A's did an amazing job last year of trying their best to create a welcoming atmosphere for the LGBT community. Eireann Dolan and Sean Doolittle did a lot to help me, and many other people know that we are supported both inside and outside of the stadium.
I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I didn't go to my most recent A's game presenting as Jamie. I've worked so hard this past year to make a life I could be proud of, and while a lot of my friends will say that it's okay that I didn't present as Jamie and that they understand, I am embarrassed. I am ashamed.
I know the A's fan base would have been amazingly accepting -- They already have been. I know as I stood while Bob Melvin and several other players walked by me that they would have been accommodating -- they've shown that in the past as well. And as I had a chance to meet Mr. Doolittle, I was more than a little sheepish to be standing in his presence dressed in men's clothes, especially considering all he has offered and done regarding LGBT rights this past year.
As Eireann and Sean walked out of the stadium with me, we chatted as if we were old friends. We shook hands and we hugged and as amazing as that entire day was, I walked away shaking my head and wishing I had done things differently.
I wish I hadn't brought a T-shirt and dug some jeans out of a bag destined for Goodwill to attend that game. It almost makes me feel like all the work that I have put into cultivating a life as a woman didn't mean as much to me as I thought it had because of my shame. I was still nervous about the reactions I would get, but I realize now I was overthinking things: fan reactions, player reactions, and my own fear and nervousness based on what the worst case scenario possibly could be.
Instead, I wish my focus had been on something very different: There are professional athletes and fans of the game who have shown they don't care about someone's gender or orientation, they only care that your allegiance aligns with theirs and that you support the team with an undying passion.
On my way home from the first game I attended this season, I decided I would have to choose between throwing away my fanhood and choosing to not attend anymore games in person... or throw away the final pieces of clothing that allowed me to slip back into dressing as a man. Thanks to my friends -- Eireann, Sean, and all of you -- that decision was easy.
I bleed green and gold when it comes to baseball, and men's jeans fit like shit anyways. Thank God for dumpsters and the folks at Republic Services who last month disposed of my last remnants of ill-fitting denim while allowing me to keep my fanhood in tact.
I don't ever again want to present publicly as anyone but who I am.
Don't forget, A's Pride Night is June 14, and I will be there. Join me, come say hi, and let's watch the A's beat up on A.J. Griffin and the Texas Rangers. We should also pray Odor doesn't throw any punches - looks like he has some heavy hands.