Cakewalk (PB) (2022)

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BRYAN is well-liked but feels he must hide his real life to get ahead. His white transgender girlfriend, NADIA, doesn't gel with his coworker's homophobia and his mother's transphobia and wish for an educated Black daughter-in-law. Bryan's internalized homophobia is revealed when he fires his coworker, Jerry. Bryan struggles between his desire for Nadia and his fear of being labeled gay. Nadia pushes him to go to a drag show, where he opens a little. He even introduces his kids to her. His son, LANCE, is especially taken with her, but Brian gets angry when Nadia almost outs herself, and therefore him, by offering support to Lance and his non-binary friends. Nadia asks if Bryan's mother is okay with him dating a white woman, and he lies.

Their relationship faces even more strain when they stop at his mother's house. Nadia is walked in on while in the bathroom and outed. On their way home, they are stopped by a policeman, and Nadia's white privilege is exposed when she wants to ask the disrespectful cop for his badge number. They leave unscathed, but with Bryan feeling scared, angry, and separate from Nadia. Later, Bryan lies to his mom, saying he didn't know Nadia was Trans. He then convinces Nadia that it was just the circumstances, and not her identity that upset his mom. Nadia and Bryan rebuild their relationship after having Thanksgiving with her friends. But later, Nadia catches Bryan lying to his mom about their relationship and breaks things off. Bryan's mother is no longer speaking to him. He attempts to date ANGELA, an accomplished Black cisgender woman at work who his mom would instantly support. But after Angela realizes he doesn't love her; she breaks things off.

Bryan gets promoted to VP but while he has the title, his white peers do not view him as equal. Tension at work reaches an all-time high after the Black Lives Matter march in Dallas turns deadly. Later, Lance admits to Bryan that he dreams of being a famous drag performer. Bryan yells at him, telling him to act like a man and leave that for the white boys. Later, Bryan's boss catches him with a Transgender woman and blackmails him. Bryan attacks his boss in the bathroom and is fired.

He sees a pamphlet for a week meditation retreat in a local coffee shop and decides to go. After the retreat Bryan starts on a journey to understand himself landing a job as a barista where he runs into Nadia a year later. She notices his change. He apologizes for everything and tells his mother, the truth about Nadia. His mother rejects him again, so he spends the holidays with Nadia and her friends and forms his own family.

Upon arriving back in Houston with Nadia from a wedding in Eureka, Springs, AR, Bryan learns Lance has run away. Bryan and his chosen family help Lance, who admits a Teen Drag Competition is happening the following day, win triumphantly, and father and son are firmly reunited, each true to and the best of who they are.


Douglas Bell
Bumbershoot Press
Publication Date:
June 30, 2022

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