Moving Quickly

So I went in this morning to see the social worker and she wasn’t gate keeper-y at all. This clinic gives T to anybody who won’t be harmed by it and at a wide variety of doses. “We have lots of genderqueer patients,” she said.
She asked me for a lot of personal background, like where I went to school and if I took drugs and whatnot. She asked about a definition of a man and a definition of a woman. I complained about gender essentialism, and that was ok and, indeed, she agreed when I said the question was “inherently essentialist” and problematic. No “in the wrong body” or other dualist things. It was very low key.
Then, afterwards, she took me down to have about 500 (ok, like 5 – 10) vials of blood removed to be tested for lord knows what. The most critical one (unless I turn out to have somehow picked up an STD, which is supremely (nearly divinely) unlikely) is a cholesterol test. T is a type of cholesterol, so if mine is high, being on T could push it out of hand. Actually, this is probably more of a concern if I move back to France and start feasting on baguettes with butter and cheese again.
I don’t like getting blood drawn. It smarts. Also, I need that blood! I’m totally using it right now! They also took some pee, which I’m much less attached to, but anyway. I should have probably asked more questions, but instead I was marvelling that my appointment with a prescribing doctor is next Tuesday. Holy Smokes!
I’m pretty excited. I came home and went out for a celebratory cup of coffee (it was too early in the day for a drink, also, blood loss would probably make me more easily drunk than normal. (just kidding.)
This is momentous, and (as always for me) I have some worries.
What if my friends stop talking to me or are transphobic / unsupportive? Also, what about my family? What if Nicole’s family gets all upset at her? I mean, I know that a lot of people are transphobic, but normally I think of them as neanderthals who somehow fell through a wormhole into modern times. But some people I care about might turn out to be secret neanderthals.
Also, this is going to change the way I smell. (I will soon reek like a teenage boy, alas. I’ll try to take showers much more often.) What if my dog doesn’t recognize me or dislikes me or something? I wish I could start this with her around so she would know it was still me with a different smell.
Anyway, despite worrying about my friends, family and dog, I was still up and I’m an American, so I decided to go shopping! Err, yeah, I went to REI (an adventure sports store) to look at socks . . . and biking stuff . . . and more biking stuff. I wanted gloves because last time I fell off my bike, my gloves saved my hands from road rash. I don’t have them here and anyway, they’re not warm enough for this time of year. So I was looking at gloves when a guy came up and asked me if I wanted help. I told him I wanted gloves.
“The women’s gloves are on the other side.”
“I don’t wear women’s clothes.”
“Women’s gloves will fit you better.”
“They have little flowers on them.” (Indeed, they do.)
“No, they’re exactly the same as the men’s gloves. Here are some without flowers. Try these on.”
“They fit exactly the same as the men’s gloves offset by one size.”
“See, I told you they were the same!” He seemed to think he had won. This went on for a long while, actually. He took me to another glove department, clearly hoping that I wouldn’t notice that he was handing me all women’s gloves and kept talking about the merits of each one. Then, after having run out of merits, he switched to stories about being in the airforce and how there are no vegans who are true athletes. Eventually, he realized that no matter how much he talked, I wasn’t going to commit to buying a pair of women’s gloves and so he wandered off.
Ok, yeah, so I have mixed feelings. On the one hand soon, I will never have to deal with that kind of crap again. On the other hand, I feel like I’m fleeing the fight against gender essentialism being fought by my brothers and sisters. Like, ‘so long suckers, have fun being kicked out of barber shops! I’m about to pass!’ Except that it’s not like I fought at all. No, I was a good little passive shopper and didn’t tell him to stick it up his ass, and just sort of waited for him to give up. So passive, I didn’t even get angry until later and instead just wondered why my anxiety was acting up. (‘Hm, it is as if my person has just come under attack. I wonder what caused that?’) Like, I’m just so used to it that it didn’t even really register.
Now, I want to go back and kick his ass. But I didn’t. I didn’t resort to violence. I didn’t use my words. I didn’t even absent myself. I bought men’s gloves when he wasn’t looking.
I don’t want to make this a bigger thing than it is. And, you know, I really don’t like to fight. I hate having to get into a fight to get my hair cut or whatever. I know that I should speak up, but sometimes, you know, I just want to buy some damn gloves from a store that hasn’t given me grief in the past. (I did ask him later if he had a men’s shirt in a smaller size, so I guess I made his lack of dissuasion clear. I dunno.) And, also, let’s be clear, the wrong doer in this situation was him, not me & my lack of self-defense.
I don’t know how strongly I’ll be able to conform to a male stereotype anyway, as I like art and dressing well and other suspect activities, so it’s not like I’ll stop being genderqueer or IDing thusly. And while I want to stand in solidarity with my gendervariant, metaphorical siblings, I don’t think that foregoing hormones is a way to do that. I mean, I would never ask that of anybody. If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.
My last main worry on the transition front has to do with me being a special snowflake. I’m rather unusual for a woman, but much more typical for a guy. I go from being tall to being average height. I go from having unexpected interests to encouraged ones. I go from cross dressing to not. I go from lesbian to guy-who-likes-women (I refuse to ID as straight. I just won’t). So yeah, I’m a special snowflake. Except that I don’t think my most interesting traits are tied in with my gender presentation. I’m a composer. I go on long bike trips. I blog. Certainly my experiences of gender inform and influence my entire life (and vice versa) but if I had nothing more going for me than being a tall, female cross dresser, well, that wouldn’t be so much to go on. (I’d still have my looks, but still.) I’m only a slightly less special snowflake. Also, I don’t plan to go stealth, so maybe I’m an even more special snowflake? Again, not so much to go on. My gender is really not the most exciting thing about me.

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Charles Céleste Hutchins

Supercolliding since 2003

4 thoughts on “Moving Quickly”

  1. “On the one hand soon, I will never have to deal with that kind of crap again.”

    Was that written in jest? ‘Cos I disagree with that statement.

  2. No, it wasn’t written in jest, but you’re clearly right.

    The thing that I currently most often have trouble with is trying to go to a barber shop or trying to buy clothes or shoes or whatever. Some folks just do NOT want me to have a haircut I like or clothes I like. If I pass for male, I doubt that people will try to steer me towards more girly things. I hate that. It undermines my identity.

    On the other hand, I know I may soon have to look forward to being informed that my choices aren’t masculine enough. I’m really into French male fashion because it’s tailored and has colors and other features that are apparently unmanly in America. I’m guessing that soon strangers will decide I’m too girly in my clothing and those who know more about me will use it as evidence of my essentially female nature, thus proving that I’m “really” a woman, trying to delude myself and others.

    So far, my experience with gender normativity when I’m passing is ok with me because I’m passing, but the novelty will probably wear off quickly.

  3. People at REI tend to think they know what they’re talking about. That’s not to say they don’t. But I have had an employee explain loudly and passionately the merits of one tent over another, and only later did I learn that his job was unloading the delivery trucks.

    Though I’ve never debated with them the finer points of gender norms or veganism. And they’ve never stopped me when I buy “girls” clothing. Perhaps they assume it’s not for me.

  4. “On the one hand soon, I will never have to deal with that kind of crap again.”

    I can’t quite grasp why sales people and such need to inform you of the gender appropriate clothing you should be buying. I’ve only recently begun wearing decidedly “girl” clothing, and in 15-18 years of buying “guy” clothing never had anyone question or comment on my selections. Nor questioning my desire for buzz cut hair.

    Should I feel concerned that I’m so obviously and safely feminine that these habits are quirky and present no social challenge for sales persons? 🙂

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