Liv, from Great Big Sky, by Claire Gilbert Haider

LIV. (They/Them)

I’d already been living in the Bay Area for a year maybe when he died. And I was loving it there, I mean, I am queer as fuck and I look better in a suit and tie than any cis man I know. I’d been wearing blazers and button ups for about a year by then — my genderqueer calling card, as it were. I never added my dad on Facebook. He couldn’t even know I was queer, let alone genderqueer, that would have killed him faster.

I remember when I was in high school I had hair down to my waist. I was already wearing boxers by that time, but my hair screamed femme to most people so that’s the role I played. When I finally cut it short, after I got out of my secret queer relationship — my dad hated it. He said long hair was so attractive to men. Men liked it, and didn’t I want to be appealing to men? First of all, yuck. Saying that to your own kid — yuck. But secondly — and this I never got to tell him — why the fuck did he assume I wanted to be attractive to men? Who said my hair or my anything was a signal to cis men that I was looking to be their white picket fence, their vacuuming in pearls, their subservient flesh sleeve for the rest of my life? So Jane and I broke up, and I cut it all off, I went hard into the David Bowie look while in Oakland. I mean, three piece suits, pocket watches, the whole nine. I killed it.

Anyway, when he died I got his ties. I got his tie clips. I got his antique pocket watch that has to be wound, that has his dad’s name and his name engraved in the back. It’s all mine now. And when I wear it? I know he wouldn’t understand it. Wouldn’t approve. I’m carrying on the things I miss most about him and he’d think there was something wrong with me for it. Anyway, I still look better in a suit than he ever did. Take that, Dad.

More info: This monologue is from a play in progress called Great Big Sky by Claire Gilbert Haider. Liv and their friend Ziggy are hiking through the Yosemite Valley spreading Liv’s father’s ashes around the park. This monologue takes place in Tuolumne Meadows. For further information please contact clairehaider (at) gmail (dot) com.

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