January 18, 2008

Yesterday Redux

Posted in Identification, transgender at 9:40 pm by Michael

Ok, I think yesterday’s post got a little misunderstood by a few folks, and I’d like to clarify.

First thing… I know that I get “read” as TG often. More often than not. Honestly, I think at this point, I’m not at the point where I get read strongly male, but I think honestly that I generate uncertainly.

To be clear, things that I realize that generate this:
– Hair: Still short-ish
– Height: I’m 6’ 2’’
– Makeup: None
– Facial Hair: Mostly gone, but still a shadow
– Voice: Still my original voice – no changes. On purpose. There’s a FAQ about that.

Now, I thought that being read would have negative effects. If you had asked me on November 25, 2007 (the day before my first surgery) what the “Crappy Look Counter” would be like two months out – I would have guessed somewhere between 50-100. Its 7 – four of those in one day. I thought that because of that, it would be that when people saw me, they would see “TG Me” first, before seeing me.

You know what?

I underestimated people – dramatically.

Instead, it’s been remarkably uneventful. In public in general, traveling, at work, wherever. After nearly three full weeks at work, it’s back to normal. Yes, people who haven’t seen me for a while have questions still – no problem. But the people who I work with on a daily basis, it’s just not an issue. Fantastic!

Now, why do I post about the “Ma’am” v. “Sir” thing then?

Part of the “fun” of transitioning is the sheer sociological aspect of it. Observing humanity, a.k.a. “people watching” is a pretty common human endeavor, no?

So, the “Crappy Look Counter” – honestly, people ask “How are you getting treated?” I write about that.

Also, “Ma’am” v. “Sir” – lots of questions! I have questions! This is an interesting idea – take something as fundamental as gender which is generally thought of as binary and then decide to intentionally blur the lines. Why did people care about David Bowie or Annie Lennox in their androgynous phases? It was uncommon, and an exploration into a space where not to many people tread.

So, when I get “Ma’am”ed, it’s interesting. When I get “Sir’ed” its interesting. I try to notice what I was wearing, general circumstance, etc – in either circumstance.

To be clear, I don’t *expect* to be “Ma’am”ed by strangers. Really. I get it. Damn, I wrote a whole POST about it when it happened first….

I have talked to friends about this – because they ask! And, surprisingly, more than a couple female friends and acquaintances have talked about getting “Sir’ed”. Generally, they are taller, don’t wear as much makeup, and have shorter hair, or will get “Sir’ed” with their hair up. Honestly, I hadn’t realized that this does happen frequently to women. Maybe I’m naïve, but I didn’t.

So, then yesterday, randomly listening to NPR, hearing Tilda Swinton say the same thing, well, I thought it was interesting. So, not having posted for a few days, I thought a post was in order. (Interesting, I got mail from a few friends who heard the same story, and thought of me!)

Now… what is up with the video?

Well… it was an experiment. I was really interested to see what would “work” and what wouldn’t. Not sure I’ll do it again. I’m not sure it worked. I’m not sure it communicated what I wanted….


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