Dominic was one of the few people with whom I opened my home to on New Years. It was a magical evening. Many of us sat in a circle, and wrote open entries of poetry and short stories. One friend from the UK stopped in, on her only trip to New York, I was honored that even without a phone, she was able to find my house, eventually calling me from a neighboring group of young women, saying she had been outside for forty minutes and what was my bell number. Aside her was a poet and musician whom I’ve spent a number of evenings with this past year, and followed by her was an older woman poet friend, from another land, who has survived war, and is fixed on her multiple marginal identities. I didn’t realize that upon opening the year with these women, encircled, that we would have forged a bond, strong, for the months to come.
Dominic entered very closely to the countdown. He asked to be addressed by male pronouns, and already I was intrigued -knowing that for many queer women of color, “transition” of saturn is literal for some. Missing the writing ceremony, instead, he joined the flame that gathered in the center of my livingroom. Clasped hands in this multi-generational, multi-gendered, spiritual enclave. Dominic shed tears and noted that a friend had recently passed, just returning from a funeral. His tears began the outing of the flame. The remainder of the night, we all painted, squiggles and soft shapes on newsprint. A little over a month later, I hopped into a crowded vehicle sitting on the lap of a woman I aimed to date. Distorted and back sprained on our way to the restaurant, I noticed Dominic squeezed in the middle seat. My “hi again”, and his subsequent smile helped me to ease the awkward imposition. At the Latin Caribbean Parkslope dinette, Dominic and I sat in front of the other, my back to the wall. I ordered my first taste of Dominican whiskey on ice, while Dominic had cafe con leche. Dressed in a garment of white, and he en-route to a ceremony, we parted arranging to finally have this interview that he’d applied to conduct long before. I’m pleased to introduce you all to Dominic’s journey, as I have, in parts, encircled, by Saturn.
Dominic Bradley, 29
Place of Birth: Bad Cannstatt, Stuttgart, Germany
Currently Resides: Brooklyn, NY
Sun Sign: Virgo
HSR: Tell me Dominic, about yourself… Where you were born, and how you identify.
Dominic: i was born in germany in a military hospital. i identify as trans/gender non-conforming and queer.
HSR: So, do you also identify as German, or do folks who are born on Military bases claim the nationality of the country that funds the base?
Dominic: if you are born overseas as i was in a military hospital, it is technically considered u.s. soil. i am an american citizen–i just have a report of consular
birth abroad instead of a regular ole birth certificate.
HSR: That’s a unique way to come into the world! Do you find that you are a unique individual throughout your life? Or even right now?
Dominic: yes. i do. i’ve found over the years that other people are quick to tell me that i stand out in a crowd.
HSR: In the Saturn return application, you noted: “My Saturn Return started when I was about 27. That’s when I really started to feel it. I’m not out of the woods yet, but I know that I’m being re-made in the crucible of this time. I want to share what I’ve gone through so that others understand that they’re not alone.” What is it that you wanted to share?
Dominic: there was an incredible amount of upheaval in my saturn return. there were deaths. i’m not working. i lacked a stable place to stay for a couple years.
HSR: And your love life, how is that?
Dominic: and i’ve really been forced to transition to a new way of being and doing. my saturn is in libra. so i now have to reevaluate all my relationships. i would love to have a partner but something tells me that won’t be a possibility until i’m in my thirties. right now my bed is empty (laughs).
HSR: How are you living now, what led to these complications?
Dominic: currently i live in subsidized housing. i am dealing with some health issues and some things that need healing. hence the complications.
HSR: Tell us how you are healing.
Dominic: there are a variety of ways that i am addressing my healing needs.
HSR: Like last night for example, how was that, if you don’t mind sharing.
Dominic: are you talking about me beginning to study yoruba?
HSR: yes! Is that a part of your healing process? A spiritual connection
Dominic: yes it most definitely is.
HSR: How did you come across this revelation?
Dominic: i have been waiting for a door to open for the past couple years. i came to know several people who practiced and i became gradually more interested. i was particularly attracted to the idea of belonging to a house and having godparents and godsiblings.
HSR: A new family.
Dominic: and another draw was seeing someone i knew get progressively clearer about her calling through her spiritual practice
HSR: that sounds like a connection to Saturn in Libra, the need for pairing and otherness around you.
Dominic: yes a new family in a way. i’m wanting to put down roots and forge more intimate and long lasting connections.
HSR: So you’ve just begun. Aside from wearing white to practice, how else has it changed you so far? Do you notice any tangible differences in your everyday life?
Dominic: i’ve just now begun learning what i need to do to incorporate my practice into my every day life. i think a month from now i will have a better answer.
HSR: Makes sense. So, let’s get back to your Saturn transitions. You said you have to reevaluate all of your relationships, can you elaborate on what you mean by that?
Dominic: i suppose i have to figure out how to integrate the various parts of myself so that i’m not looking for myself in other people. (this is where the gender stuff comes in). to deal with my emotional baggage so that i don’t bring it with me to every relationship. to develop healthy boundaries so that i can better judge who should be in my inner circle.
HSR: And how does the gender stuff come into that? When did you decide to identify as gender queer, and not simply a queer woman? Tell me more about that “transition”
Dominic: when i was coming up as a young girl in the south i had no idea that it was possible to question your own gender. i had no vocabulary for the conversation that we’re having right now–only a lingering sense of dis-ease about how i was performing gender that deepened over time. so i’m coming to this late. but i was actually sitting in my barber’s chair. she was being interviewed by oprah’s network. it was something about the way that my barber talked about gender. all of a sudden i realized that i personally identified with everything she said. it was a eureka moment for me. that was just last year. since then i have been giving myself more permission to work with my masculine energy.
HSR: Does working with masculine energy mean a switch in gender? I assume all women have masculine energy. What makes it different for you then, to change your gender-association, instead of just, say, redefining what it means to be a woman?
Dominic: i’m not couching this as there are two genders and now i’m going from one gender to another gender. i agree that everyone has both energies. however what tips it for me is what predominates day to day. and you also have to consider how that expression has been shaped by my family’s legacy of military service, where i was in the birth order, etc.
HSR: Oooh, yes, very interesting, the military service connection to gender. I definitely understand the concept of gender fluidity. Do you think in a perfect world, gender would not exist? Or, do you find that even in your gender fluidity, you are attracted to a particular type of gender representation, say, in a partner?
Dominic: i have been attracted to men, women, and other trans/gender non conforming people. i have recently started to admit that i am attracted to women whose expression tilts towards the masculine end of the spectrum. in a perfect world it wouldn’t be so hard to get people to respect how you identify. in a perfect world i wouldn’t have to justify or defend my desires. too often i find myself in a ‘if i identify as __ then i must like/support/be attracted to ______’. it doesn’t work like that for me.
HSR: I hope you don’t feel as if I wanted justification. Somehow, though, I find reinstating who we are can also be seen as a form of power, wouldn’t you say?
Dominic: i was describing what i’ve encountered out in the world. but yes i agree with you.
HSR: I also think it’s lovely that your options were in the past open to all in finding a partner. Now it seems you have a narrower scope. I too am attracted to the masculinity in women. It’s been a challenge finding women who embrace their masculine energy.
Dominic: my options actually remain the same
HSR: I joked in the past that there was a drought of “butch women”. But patience is also a part of the process too, perhaps. In finding love. And “butch” isn’t really the term. I like the new term, “masculine of center”.
Dominic: (laughs). YES! i love that term.
HSR: Yes, and I love that it has been embraced by the women of color community as well.
Dominic: i for some reason had a harder time admitting that i liked masculine women.
HSR: Really, why was this hard to admit?
Dominic: hmmm…if i had to put my finger on it i would say that i’ve been told it’s taboo for two masculine of center women to get together.
HSR: Ahh, this is true, that the taboo exists. Have you ever had a successful relationship like this in the past?
Dominic: (laughs) this is why my saturn is in libra. not really. but i hope to in the future.
HSR: I hope so for you. It sounds like it would be a marvelous union.
Dominic: i truly hope that i can have a good relationship in the future.
HSR: What would a good relationship look like for you? What are its characteristics, it’s colors, its smells, what does a good relationship taste like for you?
Dominic: i am hoping for someone who is passionate about something, someone who is trying to get connected to their calling. someone who will push me to grow and want to grow alongside me. someone with a good sense of humor. someone who is tactile. it may just be me but i can come to love a person’s natural scent and i don’t mind a light sweat. i kind of want that in my sheets everyday. on my collar. in my hair.
HSR: YES! There may be an equivalent to this in Yoruba, but I recommend you right that down and cast a spell. I can offer you useful spell ideas for the conjuring.
Dominic: ooooh i’m down for that
HSR: Awesome. I’ll do it outside of this interview. Is there anything else that you would like to offer for your Saturn Return interview?
Dominic: this has been such a rough time period. but i have been assured that if i learn the lessons i need to learn i can come out the other side a better person. that’s what i’ve been holding onto even as i let go of my old self, which is not easy. many parts of me are dying and being reborn right now. but with that comes greater clarity. i can’t claim to have all the answers. i’m taking my next steps on faith.
HSR: That sounds lovely and true. Thank you for participating in this Saturn Return Interview Dominic.
Dominic: thank you.