Conversation in Translation (CW: internalized transphobia, fandom: X Japan RPF, original date of publication: June 25th, 2021)

Hide sat on a balcony chair, legs crossed, peering at Yoshiki through their sunglasses like he was a bug pinned to a wall and they were an entomologist, scrutinizing every inch. It makes Yoshiki’s stomach twist and bile rise to the back of his throat. Why the hell did he call me over? We haven’t talked in… He starts counting on his fingers . Three weeks. Anyway, this is weird as fuck.  He fidgets with his hair as cars speed by and Hide lights a cigarette. 


“So”, they smile, their tone slowly moving into Mom Mode, “how long have you been fantasising about having sex as a woman?” 


Why the fuck would you start with-?! 


Those words almost knocked the wind out of Yoshiki’s lungs, his body wanting to rip at the seams and collapse in on itself, phantom claws raking across his skin. He tried desperately to straighten out his own body, get his heart rate back to a normal state. Why- The fuck- I thought we… “I don’t see how this-” 


Hide rolled their eyes. “Oh, can it. You know what I was asking you. How. Long?” 


Yoshiki sighed, his fingers itching for a cigarette. “If you’re trying to accuse me of being a transvestite-” 


“Not accusing. Asking.” Hide’s tone shifted to something harder, less “mom” and more “inquisitor”. 


The blonde sighed. Ever since he started hanging out with J and the others, he’s been on that kick. That I’m-not-a-man-because-I-like-to-dress-weird thing. That “I’m something super fucking special rather than just being a normal person who likes to dress like a clown thing. What was it that he called it? “X-gender?”


Fucking weirdo. Why does he need a new word for what he was all along? 


Anyway… “I don’t see how having some weird fetishes makes me like you.” Yoshiki straightened up in his chair, trying to look professional. 


Because I’m not, right? I’m not. I can’t be. It’s just a fetish, I don’t take it out of the be- He glanced down at his painted fingernails, his long hair, the women’s blouse women’s blouse fucking women’s blouse why did I wear this god it looks so- 


Hide rose their eyebrows. “Like you? And why would that be so bad?” 


Yoshiki stumbled over his words. “I’m just...I’m just not. You’ve, like, you’ve got your whole… transcendental...genderfree...fucking... thing , and I’m just a fetis...crossdresser. I don’t make it a performance, I just do it.” 


Hide slowly and methodically shifted in their chair. “Just do it? I just do it . I’m just living my life, no blinders, no restrictions, no lies.” Hide took a puff of their cigarette. “You, meanwhile , you can’t even say ‘I’m happier when the guy at the gay bar thinks we’re lesbians-”


“That doesn’t fucking mean anything! It was an ego-booster thing, you know, he thought I was pretty enough to be a woman!” 


“Oh, so you admit you want to be pretty enough to be mistaken for a woman?” 


Hide’s words make something in Yoshiki’s stomach twist. He digs his fingernails into his palms. That fucking... “That’s not what I meant! Why the hell are you twisting my words? I’m an egotistical guy, you know, I like it when I get called pretty!” God, why is he so fucking weird about this? Yeah, most guys don’t like being called pretty, but I’m pretty sure there are some perfectly normal not-transsexual men who like it! 


“You know that there’s a difference between pretty-like-a-man and pretty-enough-that-the-guy-at-the-gay-bar-calls-you-ma’am?” Hide tilted their head, like a curious bird. A curious parrot, more like, with all that brightly-colored plumage, Yoshiki thought. He rolled his eyes. 


“If you’re trying to insinuate that that alone makes me transsexu-” 


Hide groaned. “No, Yo-chan… no, it’s just-” 


“Just what?” He’s been nagging me about this forever, trying to get me to go to those stupid support groups, because he thinks that he knows how to fix what’s wrong with me better than every other professional in the goddamn world, and now he can’t find any evidence? 


Hide blew out their cigarette with a great huff. “It’s just that you’re miserable , okay! Ever since I’ve known you, you’ve been unhappy in your own body, you’ve been drinking yourself to death-” 


Yoshiki jumped up, a rush of anger flowing through his body. “Oh, look who’s talking, Mr-Drink-Until-I-Drop?” 


For a brief moment, Hide’s face suddenly twisted into something ugly. “That’s not the poin-” 


“It is the point! You think that just because you’ve got friends who are the same type of crazy pervert that you are and you like hanging out with them that you’re fixed, and I know you’re not! You still smoke more than you eat, you’d still rather die than let someone else see you naked-” 


“I’m fucking working on that-” Hide was standing up now, their fists balled up, crushing their cigarette. 


“Well, not fast enough!” Yoshiki retorted. “You’re just a fucking hypocrite who jumped on the first fun-” He took a breath. Shouting at Hide rarely ever works. Shouting at Hide rarely ever works. I need to go about this differently. He takes another breath, and starts formulating his thoughts. 


Breathe. “I know what you’re doing, Hide. You went off and found some group that validates all of your weird artist fantasies, your desperate need to be not normal , and you think that this-” Yoshiki gestured at Hide’s get-up, from the bright-pink hair to the tye-dye dress- “makes you the same as your ‘friends’ who are actually going to go and get a sex change, and you’re so wrapped up in your fantasy that you’ve stopped caring about anything else, and that’s why all of your problems have been solved! It’s because you’re obsess-” 




Fuck! Yoshiki stumbled backward, his brain spinning in shock. If I’d…


“How fucking dare you!” Hide spat, their shoulders heaving, face furrowed in anger. “You fucking- I thought you would understand ! I really did!” 


“Well, I can’t understand you because I’m! Not! A! Transsexual!” Yoshiki blurted out, all pretense of rationality gone, washed away by the dull ache radiating from his cheek and a vault of repressed anger. “You’re going to spend too much fucking money in the hopes that you’re going to come out the other end not hating your body, but the truth is, it won’t work! Everyone is just going to look at you and see a disgusting freak, and no one’s ever going to love you again, and you’re just going to wind up alone and unloved and fucking dead in a gutter somewhere because no one’s going to hire a fucking tran- ” 


A short sob escaped from his lips, and his arm flew through the air. 


Hide grabbed his wrist. 


They were staring down the blonde’s arm with the coldest stare that Yoshiki had ever seen his partner give. Yoshiki noticed how close his knuckles were to Hide’s cheekbone. A couple more seconds, and I could’ve done some real damage. 


Why did I react so… so… He felt something warp and twist beneath his skin, and he almost wanted to vomit. Another rush of anger flew through him, and he could feel Hide’s grip tighten on his wrist. 


Well, he started it first. Bitch. 


“Get. Out.” Hide tossed their partner’s hand aside, gesturing to the door. “Get the fuck out of my house.” 


Yoshiki blinked in shock, and suddenly realized that the edges of his eyes were wet. He bit his lip, trying to hold back the impulse to scream or cry or do something else. Something he’d regret. “I didn’t mean to-” 


“Get out.” Hide glared. “And don’t fucking ”- they made a sound that sounded somewhat like a gasp for breath. “Come back.” 




“Leave. Or I’m calling the cops.” Hide was blinking now, faster and harder than they had before. 


Yoshiki grit his teeth, but turned around and started walking back through the apartment. He’ll just fucking call me back in two weeks wanting to set up a date and begging me to come back. He does this all the fucking time, remember?, he thought, trying to reassure himself. 


But, as the blonde walked away, he heard a short sob echo throughout the apartment, and it made his heart fall to the bottom of his stomach. 


He's going to call me back, right?