I love cars and its okay as a woman to say that

When you are trans the one thing we often get caught up in is how we wrestle with our past selves. Many of us, myself included, attach certain parts of our former lives to the guy mask and other parts to our true girl self. Some things we used to enjoy can trigger dysphoria creating turmoil in our hearts.

I have been trying to reconcile that women can enjoy the same things as guys. I know there are things, behaviors and interests that were forced upon me by society and the like because I was presented as male. I know this causes me to reflect on each one. So why do I find myself okay liking cars when those are a very obviously male-centric interest? Glad you asked! Let me explain.

My dad was a car guy. I could say it’s as simple as that and leave it there. Now if you know me at all you know I had a fairly typical relationship with my dad we mostly bonded over sports and cars. We rarely talked anything else. Yes it is true he taught me a lot about cars. Enough that it annoys me when a mechanic tries to mansplain to me the inner workings of my engine when I ask for a simple oil change. I just roll my eyes and get over it.

Cars for me do represent freedom. As someone who has quite a job in the middle of the night, packed my car with essentials and hit the road for who-knows-where more times than I can count yes I firmly believe that cars provide a certain amount of freedom. I have also lived in a vehicle more than once in my life so I respect their multiple uses as well.

Cars also represent human ingenuity. Notice I didn’t limit it to American ingenuity like some would. That’s because there are English, German, Korean, Japanese, Italian and French cars that all exceed engineering expectations, among others. America has a vast car market and product range, but we’re far from the best at it and I’m okay with that. Oh sure I am a Ford girl all the way and you can talk till you are blue in the face nothing will change that. Doesn’t mean I can appreciate nor desire to own non-Ford cars but my primary vehicle will surely always be a Ford model of some sort.

Currently I drive a Ford Escape. It’s my first SUV. I love it. It gets me around like a car. It has a solid V6 which strokes my ego in the right places while being as environmentally friendly as an SUV can be I suppose, and it nearly doubles as a van/truck as needed. It’s also my first tan colored car and it just looks appealing to me. Sure it’s a clunker. A 2008 model that looks like I drove it out of the junk yard and should take it back any day now. But I still love it.

I have had a lot of jobs over the years. There are a number I push out of my mind and refuse to discuss. There are two in particular that stand out but three I will discuss that are directly tied to my love of cars.

The first is the Chevron station where I worked with my dad in Jackpot, Nevada. This was my first car-centric job and I loved it. Part of the job, the majority of it in fact, was selling gas to motorists. This afforded me the opportunity to see all sorts of amazing cars throughout the day. This was the only station for 100 miles into Nevada on U.S. Highway 93, a road that runs from Canada to Mexico straight through Las Vegas, a car show capital. I saw some beautiful cars. The casino also attracted tourists from everywhere so that helped too.

There was another part of the job I secretly enjoyed despite publicly complaining about it. Working on cars. I wasn’t a mechanic but we were also a light duty auto shop. I was able to do oil changes, tire repairs and little thinks like replace batteries or alternators from time to time. I also sold auto parts on a regular basis. I had a friend, several in fact but one in particular who was a car nut who also had is own repair business on the side. I sold him a lot of stuff and he taught me lot about cars.

My second job in the car business I cherish my time there came much later. I worked as a Mobile Parts Pro for Advance Auto Parts for a whole year and a half. It was a thing I did on the side from working at the TV station and doing weddings on weekends. It was a blast. I mostly delivered auto parts to shops. I regularly chatted with mechanics, and their bosses, about the vehicles they were working on. I also delivered to the dealerships so I got to go inside the dealer repair shop quite often. I enjoyed working with and along side all those cars and trucks. I especially enjoyed learning more about the parts, the inner workings and the different models that were interchangeable not to mention all the car-care products. A part of my job was sales and another part, because it was retail, was stocking the shelves. I got to handle car parts constantly and I found this quite thrilling! It was a pretty fun job all things considered.

I had a few other minor sorta car centered jobs. I worked at an auto shop for a friend who owned it once. I worked as a Sears in the backroom and received products including auto parts. But the best one, the longest lasting and largest part of my career was pizza delivery. I loved delivering pizzas because the majority of the job took place in my own personal vehicle. I got to cruise the streets jamming to my tunes while some schmuck paid me to take food to my friends. It was a blast. Oh I was that driver, you know the one who took longer on runs because I would chat up the person at the door about their cool stuff I could see in their living room. I wasn’t social but like when I was a news reporter if it’s a part of the job I can turn it on as needed.

I also loved how most other drivers were into cars too so everyone had their own unique touches to theirs. We would swap car stories with one another. It was so much fun. I did it from 2002 until my last delivery job in 2015. Oh and notice how delivery was a big part of my auto parts job above, yeah I got to drive some neat vehicles too.

In 2017 I was feeling very poor. I had a low paying job, was drowning in credit card and student loan debt and had a car payment that stretched my budget to the limits. As a major toy collector lacking the funds to buy the action figures my heart desired I turned to Hot Wheels. I drew upon my love of cars to pick up Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars that I imagined myself wanting to own. Before long I amassed a huge die cast car collection that also includes the revamped Micro Machines, some John Deere and soon the revived Johnny Lightning. I stick to the Hot Wheels scale mostly because it’s familiar and cheap. Also because they don’t take up much space. And yes, I am a nerd I play with my toy that means my Hot Wheels go Vroom Vroom around the place. What can I say I love cars. I think I am allowed to. I had a female friend who entered the best in show at a car show once. The girliest girl you’d ever meet. Her day job was selling ads for a newspaper, weekends she sold women’s clothes. She was a car girl too. It’s okay to be female and like cars. Just don’t get me started on the Fast and Furious movies. I don’t have time to dig into that hot mess.

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Stephanie Bri

A transgender writer who also does podcasts and videos.