If I don’t like how I’m being treated, it’s OK to say so

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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.

You know you’re making progress when …

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This is what I look like most of the time, when I’m not wearing my club dress and look-at-me stilettos. My face is androgynous and you don’t get the Sherlock Holmes award for figuring out I’m a t-girl. But, I gather the visual effect isn’t jarring either, like … what’s a good analogy … Sylvester Stallone in a pink tutu.

Today, I had a rough day at work. A software project was about to go down in flames and I ran a difficult meeting, trying to keep things from becoming a disaster. I don’t know if I succeeded, but I did deal with it well enough to deserve a little celebration. So, I treated myself to dinner at the buffet of the Sparks Nugget, not least in part since I’d skipped lunch to have my difficult business meeting in that time-frame. So, by 6 p.m. I was thirsty, hungry and tired and not feeling super-keen to be patient with mean people.

Normally, when I approach the cashier at the buffet, the delay is at most five minutes. Today, however, the Reno Air Races are in town, and so there are many out-of-town folks and the line was way longer. I ended up standing in line for 30 minutes or so.

As far as I could tell from what I overheard, the party standing in line behind me was from the Midwest. They were the typically polite folks I’ve come to know as to that area … but also typically very conservative. If anything or anyone stands out, folks from the Midwest aren’t going to start burning crosses on lawns, but out of earshot they’ll have a pretty candid discussion.

Imagine my surprise when a discussion like that began right behind me, as to the “true” gender of a particular person, nearby. This transgender or cross-dressing person was analyzed and dissected in critical conversation, albeit from a distance. All this happened while two feet away from them stood a six-foot-tall, athletic blonde transsexual chick (me).

From what I know of Midwest culture, these folks would not have had such a conversation next to me if they’d suspected I am a trans chick. In Midwest culture that would be considered rude, and this wasn’t a rude group of Midwesterners (not that I’ve ever seen a rude Midwesterner).

Anyway, I thought all this a little ironic, and a back-handed compliment too, in a way.

I’m making progress as to looking like the girl I basically am.

A Nice Little Cultural Victory

Today, I was going to work in my car business. I expected to lie under cars and generally be a mess, and I was way behind schedule.  So, I put on zero make-up.

I ended up at an oil change place in a very small town in rural Nevada, and even so I was treated super-nicely.  The gentleman offered to help carry something for me, referred to me with the female pronoun, etc.  It was SO nice … especially since this happened with me wearing no make-up and not particularly feminine clothing, and no cleavage.

I know that I don’t look 100% female so in case he had any doubts, I told him I’m a strange mix of male and female, but basically female, and that he had handled it perfectly, and I thanked him for that.

I like being a girl anyway, but it’s nice when the rest of the planet catches on too.