Gendering and Misgendering

In the last two weeks, I have:

Been sirred by an airline stewardess, who didn’t blink when I ordered my drink.

Been sirred continuously by a grocery store cashier, who did not regender me when I started speaking.

Been called “man” by some guys in a car commenting on my bad driving.

Been informed, “the men’s room is over there,” when I tried to wait in line for the women’s room.

Been pointedly asked, “Is this the ladies’ room?” by a woman waiting in line behind me in an airport women’s restroom, who clearly knew that it was the ladies’ room.

Been the object of a series of pointed looks between two women in an airport bathroom both before and after I went in my stall.  The looks went something like this, “Look over there… Is that a boy in the women’s room?”  “Honey, no, it’s one of those gender freaks“.  (I go into a stall and reemerge from the stall).  “Look, there it is again,” *shared silent laughter*.

Been the object of many more silent stares by both men and women trying to figure me out in the airport proper.

Blushed with pleasure to be publicly called “this guy,” and “little guy” among the New York City queers.

Felt my heart sink when a gay man referred to me and a group of people I was with as “all these lesbians”.

Felt a flash of anger when an acquaintance pretending to predict my future at a party said that I would find “plenty of ladies to date” in my new city.  I promptly denigrated her fortune telling abilities and informed her, “Well, you’re off there.  I’m not so much into the ladies”.

Felt a brief jolt of pain when an acquaintance said, “Well, you’re a big girl now,” in a conversation.  She promptly checked herself, “a big boy now?” before saying, “I’m not sure what terms you prefer.  I met you as ‘she’…”  To which I responded, “I use female pronouns, but prefer male gender terms”.

Felt completely dysphoric when reading an acquaintance’s email introduction of me to his friends.  He wrote me beforehand to ask what gender pronouns I used.  I told him that I used female pronouns, but when I got the email introduction, jam packed with shes and hers, I could not recognize myself in it.  It felt like he was talking about someone else.

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3 Responses to Gendering and Misgendering

  1. Jack says:

    How do you feel about using the men’s bathroom? Have you tried it? If so, how did it feel? I use male pronouns, have a masculine appearance, feel like men generally have a care-free attitude about who’s in the restroom, and yet I still find it difficult to use on a consistent basis. It’s strange. I think I’m most self-conscious about my chest in the men’s room. Though my chest is quite small, I don’t always use a binder and I fear that I will be noticed. Needless to say, I know where all the single-person bathrooms are in the spaces I frequent.

  2. Faggot Boi says:

    I’ve used the men’s room when it was a single stall. Your question, though, made me realize that I have deep fears about my own male authenticity. At this point, it would be worse for me to get weird treatment from ladies in the women’s room for looking like a boy than it would to be called out for not being a guy in the men’s room. The women’s policing of the space of femaleness is at least accurate. Any gender policing by men of the space of maleness would strike at my sense of legitimacy. Also, since I am only using male pronouns in queer space and am not yet attempting to get straight people to recognize me as a man, I don’t feel like this is the moment to use men’s restrooms.

    So you feel like men police the men’s room less than women police the women’s room? Have you ever had uncomfortable interactions in the men’s room?

  3. Jack says:

    I’ve never had uncomfortable interactions in the men’s room, yet I still find it distressing, exactly for the reasons you state, that I could potentially be called out. Sometimes men’s rooms have only one stall that doesn’t have a door. I fear this the most and so if I’m with male friends I ask them to let me know what the men’s room is like. Once I had a friend who was rather large and tall hang out in front of the doorless stall while I used it. Another fear I have is that someone will notice that I’m peeing and my feet are not facing the toilet while I hover above it, but I haven’t yet investigated standing up and peeing options.

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