This is what I look like nowadays … not like Marilyn Monroe but not like Rambo either. Somewhere in the middle, though I’m basically female and I have gone to a lot of trouble to make it official and to sprinkle a rich set of social cues, including telling less-sensitive folks point blank that I’m a weird mix of male and female but (key point) I’m basically female.
Nevertheless some folks will miss all the cues and refer to me as “him” or they might call me “Sir.”
I’m becoming skilled at finding the next opportune break in the conversation to address this. I typically announce that I have a request on a personal level and then I just keep quiet and let that sink in. Eventually someone prompts me, and then I say “I’m a mix but basically female so when you refer to me as ‘him’ … ” or “please don’t call me ‘Sir.'” So far, that’s always resulted in a gracious reaction, and the conversation was better from then on.
I try to not be an ass about it. I sympathize with this being a weird and new concept for folks. Heck, it’s a weird and new concept for ME too. Being nice about it goes a long way.
A friend of mine has been less successful and has experienced people being pointedly mean to her. I have a conversational “plan B” ready for when that happens too, though I’d guess it’s probably kinda hard for folks to continue being mean after I’ve acknowledged I’m a trans chick, with the “trans” part not omitted. I think what irritates the less-open-minded folks is when a trans chick demands to be accepted and treated just like any other girl. My approach tends to defuse such concerns.
I like being able to explain the issue in a dozen words, or 120, or 1200 and probably if someone wants the twelve-thousand-word version I could probably come up with that too. This way, I’m ready for many possible social situations.
This post reminds me of how, about two years ago, I walked into Walgreens in Reno wearing a too-female dress while looking too-male. Some teenage boys standing around snickered, and so I made a U-turn and went to have a conversation with them. It was civil, and afterwards the world was a slightly better place with one less source of snickering. To my credit I didn’t get angry and was assertive but not mean and I didn’t threaten them with violence. I just used reason. It’s a powerful tool.
It’s a nice feeling to be ready to engage in a conversation on the subject, at many possible levels. It’s sort of like playing chess. If my adversary does X, then I’ll do Y … I don’t have to figure it all out while I’m talking because I’ve already pre-planned the conversation. Better.