As trans people, we have long been known for our distinctive, self-selected names. But until last week, we had no idea just how far back this tradition went. In their new book, Tales from a Lost City, a team of archaeologists from the Coastal School describe what they have learned from a decade of studying remnants of an ancient city. At first, the sunken site, located about ten miles off the coast of Lupine, was simply termed #01053. More recently, the team has discovered the city was once known as Seattle.
The book’s third chapter is dedicated to the stories of transgender residents. Merging conclusions drawn from classical transgender studies with new information gleaned from notes taken during Seattle meetings, scholar Nimelua +@ gives new life to the struggles and joys experienced by the attendees. You can order or download Tales from a Lost City at your nearest salon. But, before you dive in, you may want to prepare yourself for some of the… unique names used by our Seattle ancestors. Just think, if you had lived way back when, you probably would have called yourself something equally ridiculous. Find out which moniker would have suited you best using this handy quiz!
- When invited to a party at the community pontoon, how do you respond?
- Your leaky shoe excuse
- “The feeling is natural—to want what we can’t have”
- “I haven’t forgotten my special sailor hat ;)”
- “The sea spills its intimacy upon each and every shore”
- Which best describes your social life during Aquaponics Internship?
- Though friendship may outlast a tomato, a tomato can be eaten
- Harvests leave the herb garden, but secrets stay
- The smell of fish food still turns me on
- I’m as gay as a summer day is long
- Your roommate likes to sleep with the floorlights turned to green. You prefer them pink. How do you navigate the disagreement?
- Every night a masquerade
- We step our dueling dance
- In sharing we hold together pleasure
- In balance, the perpetual risk of a fall
- The insect catcher at your area market is overcharging you for mealworm meal. What do you do?
- Absence is a slippery shape with no sides
- A razor with no edge
- A lesson learned well is never a lesson learned once
- The teacher’s hand spells its own audacity
- If selected for space training, how would you use the opportunity?
- Dreaming of distance
- My skull light on my spine
- Such a terrestrial pleasure
- Connoting up with divine
- Say you had a night alone in your podlon at age seventeen. How would you spend the time?
- I rely upon my treatise of niceties
- The pages consolingly quilted
- To soak a spill or spark a fire
- Nature didn’t intend shit
- When invited to a party at the community pontoon, how do you respond?
How to convert your answers to points:
Total points for questions 1 and 2: ______. Circle LOW for 4 or lower. HIGH for 5 or higher.
Total points for questions 3 and 4: ______. Circle LOW for 4 or lower. HIGH for 5 or higher.
Total points for questions 5 and 6: ______. Circle LOW for 4 or lower. HIGH for 5 or higher.
LowLowLow: You’re a veritable Kat! Always one to tag along when asked, you rarely behave in an expected or socially acceptable manner. Put in the context of a 21st century university student, for example, you often spent afternoons at raging backyard parties surrounded by your classmates. While your peers chugged warm, tasteless alcohol as part of their masochistic games, you sipped at yours as you turned the pages of Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus, not because it was assigned reading (you rarely completed any of that junk), but because it personally, and spiritually, interested you.
LLH: Hi, Kai! You haven’t met many people in your town, but a lot of people seem to know about you. Back in your 21st century life, you didn’t typically spend your free evenings hanging out with your small group of friends. Instead, when 11:00pm struck, you left your house fueled only by caffeine and a bowl of dry cereal. You rode transport across town, listening for the club that was playing their music the loudest. When you found it, you flirted your way inside without paying, wiggled to the center of the dance floor, closed your eyes, and gave yourself up to the bass. You never wondered who was watching, or whose hips were grinding against yours.
LHL: You’re certainly a River! A maker and shaker, within the comforts of your own head, that is. During your 21st century existence, your most vivid dream had you working as an airplane pilot, experiencing a rush of blood to the head as you pointed the nose of the propeller plane into the sky for takeoff. That morning, you brewed your tea as you watched your neighbor weed the garden. Then, you sat down to research how to acquire a pilot’s license. But the license wasn’t for you. No, your stomach could hardly stand being a passenger on a large commercial jet. You were a songwriter working on a concept album, and the narrator of your in-progress song was going to make a great pilot.
LHH: In this case, your name is Case! You love to dig your fingers into a new project, don’t you? In the 21st century, you could’ve been a mechanical engineer with a hankering for a private woodshop. But your home didn’t have a garage, or much of a yard either. You took to using the front stoop, sawing and sanding away until the entrance had been blocked with wood scraps and sawdust. Your entire household switched to using the back entrance until your roommate’s date took it upon themself to give you a lesson on responsibility. After that, you dutifully swept up after each session, though you couldn’t help from continuing to make loud noises at odd hours.
HHH: Hello, Ash. Nice to meet you! Sorry to say that in the 21st century, you were one of the least capable pillow talkers alive. It’s not even that you were a poor conversationalist. No, the simple fact is you fell asleep before your head hit the pillow, no matter who was in bed with you. You spent your days throwing your energy in so many directions—volunteering to weed and water your neighbor’s entire vegetable garden, painting unauthorized forest murals on abandoned train cars, burning down the dance floor (as they used to say)—that by the end of the day your body couldn’t bear to wait any longer to recharge.
HHL: Good to know you, Fox! If your friends were honest, they’d tell us they fear and love you in equal measure. In way-back-when Seattle, you dated a lovely, though passive, partner with a woodworker for a roommate. This person even had the gall to set up shop right outside the front door. The sawdust itching at your ankles was bad enough, but when the entrance became entirely blocked, you had no choice but to intervene. One afternoon, you walked up the porch steps, unplugged the table saw, grabbed the plank from the woodworker’s hands, and snapped it in half over your knee. You tossed the halves down onto the sidewalk without saying a word. The next time you came over, the front entrance was clear.
HLH: You’re no one but Dylan! And you just want everyone to have a good time, often to your own detriment. In one infamous (at least to you and your therapist) example, your 21st century alter-ego spotted an isolated individual at a summer party. You were about four beverages deep, yet you stepped aside from the game you’d been playing to approach the stranger. You walked just close enough to make out the title of the book they were reading, then veered away to acquire some relevant information from the Web. Though the book was of a dense philosophical sort and you were a math major, you weren’t deterred. Five minutes of researching later, you sat down beside the stranger on the lawn chair and asked why 999 plateaus wasn’t enough.
HLL: Hey, Maddie! As your friends’ favorite confidant, you have access to rare and valuable knowledge. In 21st century Seattle, you had dated everyone in the trans scene, whether personally or vicariously. One night, your friend divulged he was planning to reveal his feelings to his crush, who you soon deduced was none other than the Extrema Ballerina, known for their years of sweaty solo club dancing. This same dancer had spent four years shacking up with your best friend, and there was no end to the scintillating sexual stories you had heard. Your poor enamored friend, the ingenue, couldn’t know what he was in for. And yet, isn’t the mark of a truly great confidant is knowing when to keep one’s mouth shut?
Alix Perry is a trans writer living in Western Oregon. Their work has been nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology and can be found in Kissing Dynamite, The B’K, Rejection Letters, and elsewhere. Their chapbook, Tomatoes Beverly, is due out in May 2024. More at alixperrywriting.com.