By Rikki Dubois
There are many songs that are important to us. But what defines “our” song? Is it the song you heard when you had your first kiss? Or when you lost your virginity in the back seat of a car? Kind of like “Paradise By The Dashboard Light” by Meatloaf.
In a recent episode of the TV series Bones the characters of Temperance Brennan and Sealy Booth were trying to decide what their song was, so that it could be played at their wedding. It made me wonder, can you just decide what your song is, or is it something that happens naturally? Is there an ah-ha moment, or is it something you have to think about and plan?
In the ‘60s and ‘70s, one of the more popular wedding songs was “(Can’t Help) Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley, taken from the movie Blue Hawaii. It’s a very beautiful, romantic song. But what other wedding songs are there out there? “I Knew the Bride (When She Used to Rock And Roll)” by Nick Lowe? I guess it could be used, if the bride used to rock and roll. Or how about “White Wedding” by Billy Idol? But don’t let the name of the song fool you. It’s about the sister of the bride who brings a shotgun to the wedding. Not really a romantic song.
When I got married, it was not a big hall wedding. We got married in a church and had the reception at my brother-in-law’s huge house, so there was no dancing. Because of this, we did not have to come up with “our” song to be played as the first dance of the evening. To this day, I don’t know what “our” song could have been, though I think “I Love You” by The Climax Blues Band would probably be the one. I don’t think my current partner and I even have an “our” song, but if we did, “I Kissed a Girl” by Katy Perry would be the one—although it’s not really a wedding song.
When I was growing up, I did not fit in anywhere. I did not have a lot a friends because I was not comfortable being with the boys and I was not allowed to be with the girls. So the radio became my friend. I spent a lot of time alone listening to the radio and buying records, then CDs and finally digital recordings. Music is a big part of my life and I like a lot of songs.
As a transwoman, there are a few songs that could be considered “my” song. The first being “I Am Woman” by Helen Reddy. This song came out when I was a little boy, and it made an impression on me. Even today, when I hear the words “I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman,” it reminds me of how far I’ve come and how my strength carried me through to who I am today.
Another song would be “Man, I Feel Like A Woman” by Shania Twain. This song was popular when I was starting to consider my transition and the name pretty much says it all. And of course, there’s the LGBT*-friendly song by Lady Gaga, “Born This Way”.
In 1974, Steely Dan came out with a song called “Rikki, Don’t Lose That Number.” At the time, I was sometimes known as Ricky and one day, when this song came on the radio, I told my brother that this was a song about me. Since in his eyes, I was not worthy of having a song about me, he responded “No it’s not. It’s about a girl.” When I look back now, I see how prophetic that comment was. I AM a girl and it IS about me.
But of all the billions of songs that are out there, I would say that the one song that truly defines who I am is “She’s A Lady” by Tom Jones.
Article by Rikki Dubois, a transgendered writer from Winnipeg. Her book “Muffy was Fluffy” helps children understand what it means to be transgendered. Order it today from McNally RobinsonMcNally Robinson.