This isn’t an entry on how differently Trans people are treated, but rather, how we are treated differently based on how we are perceived.
As soon as we’re born, we are labeled. Boy or Girl. As soon as we’re born, we are treated differently by almost everyone who will come in contact with us from that point forward.
We see this happen every day of our lives. As soon as someone realizes they are looking at a baby boy, it becomes full of Tim Allen (Home Improvement) grunts and growls and “That’s the little man!” If the baby has a strong grip (which they all do, have you EVER tried to get them to let go of your hair or earrings??) anyway, if the grip is strong, and it’s a boy, the person starts talking about how you’ve got a future quarterback on your hands or how they will be able to palm the ball and make some great basketball moves.
When a person realizes that the baby is a girl, even if they just did everything as mentioned above, the voice becomes immediately softer and the compliments are turned to beautiful features and soft skin (again, have you EVER met a baby that didn’t have soft skin???). They immediately start talking about her future. How she will melt the boys’ hearts and how she must be a daddy’s girl (which is a true stereotype—I don’t think a dad can help but just be taken with the joy that is a daughter….let’s hope mine feels this way).
Throughout the rest of our lives we are treated based on perception. There have been several times when I will be treated one way, based on how I am perceived and then treated the polar opposite upon a second study. I’m not even talking about someone realizing I am trans. This confusion usually happens when I am in boy mode, which is pretty androgynous. I am usually taken for a guy and then a girl and then either. (example: walking up the sidewalk as someone enters a store. They begin to let the door close and then dive to hold it open and then follow that up with whatever reaction once I thank them—it is nice to see that chivalry is not dead, though)
As a woman, I am consistently being talked to with flirtatious inflections and sweet voices. I’m not saying I am being flirted with, I am totally blind to that kind of thing (or deaf, as the case may be…always have been…if you don’t come right out and say I WANT TO GO OUT WITH YOU, I just don’t pick up on it). Where I live, women are treated nicer than men. They just are. I don’t know if it is an “alpha dog” complex between the guys in a relatively small town, but it is noticeable. Whenever I have gone to pay for a purchase, as a woman, 90% of the time, guys will offer to let me go ahead of them in line, even if we have the same number of items. Sometimes they want to continue with small talk, but it’s usually just a nice gesture.
Having been on both sides of this treatment, I have to say that I rather enjoy the way I am treated as a woman. Now, that might be because it is a feeling of affirmation for me, a feeling of knowing that I am within the boundaries of where I belong (not that there should be boundaries set for men and women, but you know what I mean).
I found this post in my drafts. This was February 2012. I began living full time February 2013. Not sure where I was going to go with it, since this is how I had left it. I’m in a different place now, physically and mentally, so I’m not sure I can pick up and go with it.
I will say this. The affirmation is still there. It does make you fell good when someone acknowledges how you look. It isn’t necessary, but it’s nice. I always try to look as nice as possible, but there are days I just throw on a hat. That is when the line becomes very thin and children will vocally ask their parents if I am a boy or a girl. I’m ok with that. If they ask me, I simply answer yes. Let’s face it, right now I am neither, yet I am both.
I assume that people know. I am surprised when they are surprised. I had a coworker a couple months ago, when we were talking at lunch, ask me about the father of my daughter. I smiled and said, ” Well, um, I am.” She was unbelievably shocked, not angrily, but she had absolutely no idea. I was given a huge hug and we continued our conversation.
I guess I am transitioning well.